NGOs have the advantage of getting into direct contact with the beneficiary populations, outside the official channel and its associated constraints. Moreover, some of them devote the whole or a part of their effort to advocacy activities that aim at making the government more accountable of its citizens. To the extent that advocacy efforts have the effect of decreasing corruption, there is an obvious spillover from such efforts to the effective mess of aid-on-the-ground.
Because they have the character of a public good, advocacy activities will be under-supplied by the NGOs which have a fixed amount of aid money to allocate between advocacy and direct aid to beneficiary populations (or by NGOs which are specialized in advocacy and have a flexible amount of money to spent). If NGOs are able to coordinate their efforts, however, they will cause direct aid transfers to be reduced owing to the induced repression of the local government whose rents are being threatened. For this reason, it is not desirable to rely entirely on the NGOs sector’s efforts to improve local governance. This means that the governments of donor countries cannot eschew their duties to complement the advocacy efforts of NGOs.