In 2012, the Department of Political Science and international Relations of the University of the Peloponnese, in collaboration with academics from five universities and three research centres in Greece and abroad, proceeded to the implementation of the innovative and ambitious project "Thales: Evaluation of Greek Non-Profit Organizations".
The Thales project, funded by European and national resources (National Strategic Reference Framework), aimed at strengthening civil society in Greece at all levels. The project was mainly concerned with the study of NGOs operating in Greece but also, at a more practical level, in mapping and evaluating them. The methodology used for the evaluation was the result of a thorough examination of various approaches involving evaluations of organizations in Europe and North America. Evaluation criteria and tools were adapted to the Greek environment through the work of a Scientific Committee but also through a process of public consultation with the organizations themselves. The NGOs that participated in the whole process were rated with one (1) to four (4) stars based on their performance in several indicators grouped into three main categories: effectiveness, organizational structure and transparency
A team of researchers visited NGOs all over Greece in order to meet representatives of organizations willing to participate in the evaluation process, to get to know their activities and to respond to questions regarding the evaluation process.
The results of the whole process were particularly encouraging as they demonstrated the dynamics of the NGO ecosystem in Greece. By the end of the project, in December 2015, 158 NGOs have participated and were evaluated.
The project "Thales II: Mapping and evaluating Greek NGOs" is a continuation of the Thales I Project. It has a duration of two (2) years and is implemented by the Department of Political Science and International Relations of the University of the Peloponnese in collaboration with the NGO HIGGS. Thales II is being funded by five (5) charitable foundations: TIMA Charitable Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Athanassios K. Laskaridis Foundation, Captain Vassilis & Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation, John S Latsis Public Benefit Foundation
First, to continue mapping and evaluating the Greek NGO ecosystem, offering all stakeholders (NGOs, funders, volunteers, researchers, the media, the wider public, etc.) a complete and objective image of the sector.
Secondly, to reiterate the evaluation of Greek NGOs indefinitely in order to extend the process and create further incentives to improve the organizational capacity (in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and accountability) and transparency of the NGOs
Thirdly, to include in the evaluation process new, qualitative criteria to complement the quantitative ones used in Thales I.
Fourthly, to explore the possibilities of improving the credibility of NGOs in Greece and
Lastly, to promote volunteering, broaden participation, raise awareness, and increase visibility and donations.