On April 28, 2011, Independent Sector launched the new online Resource Center for Good Governance and Ethical Practice, a comprehensive collection of tools for nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to enhance the accountability and transparency of their operations and ensure they operate in ethical ways.
At the heart of the Resource Center is the Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundations, which has been called " the most significant industry-based effort to promote self-regulation by the sector to date." The Resource Center showcases, through downloads or links, over 250 model policies, research papers, templates, and other tools. Most are available free of charge.
At a time when the nonprofit sector faces increasing scrutiny from government and the public—such as the case with the allegations surrounding inaccuracy behind Greg Mortenson's book, Three Cups of Tea, and questions about the finances of his nonprofit Central Asia Institute—these resources provide an invaluable asset to organizations seeking to ensure that they are operating in accordance to the highest standards of ethics and accountability. They will be especially valuable to smaller organizations, which often lack and cannot afford to hire the expertise to address these aspects of their operations in a comprehensive way.
"Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations have a responsibility to themselves, donors, the populations they serve, and the greater public to hold themselves accountable and operate to the highest ethical standards," said Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector. "This Resource Center will further assist boards of directors and key staff in assessing the areas where their organizations are living up to that responsibility and where there is room for improvement."
The Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice was developed by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector with input from thousands of sector members in 2007 and encouragement from the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. The report outlined 33 principles of sound practice related to legal compliance and public disclosure, effective governance, financial oversight, and responsible fundraising. Organizations that have applied the Principles report increased capacity to achieve their missions, including improved governance, stronger organizational cultures and practices, and increased credibility with funders, individual donors and community partners.
On May 13, Independent Sector will also hold a webinar about why ethics and accountability remain vital to an organization's success. For more information on the webinar, please visit http://www.independentsector.org/webinars.
© 2011, Independent Sector
Independent Sector is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of approximately 550 charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs, collectively representing tens of thousands of charitable groups in every state across the nation. Its mission is to advance the common good by leading, strengthening, and mobilizing the nonprofit and philanthropic community.