Want to Retain the Trust of Your Donors? Then "One-and-Done" Won't Do

Ethics is as critical for nonprofit (not-for-profit) organizations as it is for commercial firms and government agencies. As the United States National Council of Nonprofits puts it, ". . . nonprofits rely on the public trust to do their work. That is why it is so important that charitable nonprofits continuously earn the public’s trust through their commitment to ethical principles. If only one donor loses confidence in a charitable nonprofit because the nonprofit behaves unethically, that’s one too many."

To that end, nonprofits should adopt and implement codes of ethics, conflict of interest policies, public disclosure policies, ethical fundraising practices, and effective internal controls, among other mechanisms. 

Beyond these, proper conduct when conducting the nonprofit's business must be kept before all of the nonprofit's employees as well as the board of trustees/directors.  

BGEI can help create and, just as important, maintain an annual ethics program that addresses all of these, one that keeps all relevant codes and policies fresh, and help to educate employees in targeted, non-intrusive modalities throughout the year. 

As with businesses and governments, ethics cannot be a one-and-done consideration. Ethics programs must be integrated into decision-making at all levels, and be living and intelligently administered in order to be effective and in order to demonstrate to donors, auditors, and service recipients that executive directors and boards are interested in protecting the organization's long-term mission.  


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Dr. David E. McClean