Recently, a lot of attention has been paid to improving ways of assessing the effectiveness of development interventions. This is to be welcomed, especially with regard to community-based or participatory aid projects, since considerable resources are currently being earmarked for these by almost all types of donor agencies, including large international organizations. Such projects are vulnerable to elite capture at local level, and this problem must be mitigated if most of the aid funds thus disbursed are to reach the intended beneficiaries. This article discusses several methods available to achieve that objective. In particular, it argues that the sequential and conditional release of aid funds may not be sufficient to keep elite capture well under control, making it necessary to resort to co-ordination mechanisms among aid agencies, such as multilateral reputation mechanisms. Even these are not going to be effective enough, however. In the end, an active role will have to be played by the ultimate purveyors of aid money, whether the taxpayers or the contributors in fund-raising campaigns.