Based on research conducted by Johns Hopkins University’s Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, the third sector represented the seventh-largest economy in the world and an EU-funded study gauged it to have the third-largest workforce of any “industry” in Europe. Serving as a central pillar of democracy, the voices of third sector organisations (TSOs) such as NGOs, Nonprofits, Foundations, Trusts, and Religious Organisations are considered by government officials when justifying policy positions or determining how resources and political capital are spent. When the driver behind third sector advocacy is predicated on dark money or illicit activities, the public should be made aware of those organisations that may morally corrode the nonprofit space as well as pose a threat to institutional integrity or democratic norms.
Through the lens of our proprietary LESA Methodology, IEI identifies suspicious TSOs and investigates their leaderships, enabling structures, and activities for meaningful links to or behaviours consistent with: malign influence and finance; financial and organised crime; narrative or reputation laundering; terrorism, genocide, espionage; or other indicators flagged in our methodology. Thus, the Institute for European Integrity's NGO Watchlist is intended to serve as a tool for necessary due diligence to prevent the further infiltration of the third sector and hold accountable those organisations and officials who continue to knowingly collaborate or affiliate with corrupt third sector organisations.