NPO long term performances are based on their capability to link and maximise social value as defined in their mission, the legitimacy obtained by stakeholders influenced by and influencing their activities and the operational capacity i.e. their economic efficiency. Thus, NPOs have to utilise multiple level accountability systems which should be feasible with their multiple objectives and stakeholders’ claims.
The accountability system of an NPO should be focused on its operational capacity because in order to maximise its efficiency an NPO has to measure its resource use, cost structure and financial structure. Legitimacy obtained from stakeholders is also integral. If an organisation is considered a social contract between several stakeholders, it has to consider the social economic effects of its activities and it has the duty to account for them. However, social value creation plays the most important role. Since the mission of an NPO is to create and distribute social value to a certain specific group, an NPO should measure the social value it has created.
The aim of the paper is to analyse the accountability system of a specific type of Italian NPO – , Centri di Servizio per il Volontariato (CSVs) namely Centres which provides Services for Volunteer associations – in order to verify if the system satisfies their need for multiple level information (operational, legitimacy, and social value) and accomplishes their stakeholder claims, and to determine its impact on the definition and implementation of their strategy and on their long term performances. The research was carried out using the action research model (Lewin, 1946) and the findings are based on the analysis of a sample of 61 CSVs throughout Italy.