This paper, by me and Nancy Birdsall, recommends that donors should consider linking aid to the progress that recipient countries make towards a small number of high-level goals (eg the number of children in school). The payments would be guaranteed, with no strings attached about how the recipient could use the money (though further payments would depend on continued progress); and the commitment would be transparent. It would enable civil society organisations in developing countries to push for more rapid delivery of services, given that their government would be guaranteed a stream of aid revenues to cover its costs.
A promise of this kind would turn social benefits (eg better education, better health care) directly into a financial stream of payments, which they could use to invest themselves, or to pay private sector firms to deliver services.
(This paper was written before I returned to the UK Civil Service.)