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Voicing Our Values: A Survey of the Guiding Principles of the Nonprofit Sector

Take the Nonprofit Congress survey on the nonprofit sector.

Throughout the country this year, local nonprofit leaders have gathered at more than 100 Town Hall meetings in conjunction with the Nonprofit Congress. There, they have shared insights about the nonprofit sector—what nonprofits have in common, the sector's future, obstacles nonprofits face, and solutions to overcome these obstacles. Beyond the Internal Revenue Code's 501(c)(3) designation, Town Hall participants have articulated commonalities of the nonprofit sector that speak to its purpose, impact, and role in society.

Themes arising at these meetings range from dedication to public benefit to the power of association, from passion to impact. Also evident are recognition of charitable organizations' value to this country and a renewed sense of urgency about uniting from a position of strength. Nonprofits, Town Hall participants are saying, must be part of policymaking deliberations, must be part of community solutions, and must be part of the future-building work of our nation. It is time for the nonprofit sector, they assert, to be at the decision-making table with the public and private sectors as a full partner—grounded and intentional—and as a determined force.

Building on the information gathered through the Town Hall meetings, the Nonprofit Congress now seeks to prioritize the principles that drive nonprofits' behaviors, actions, and policies. The Nonprofit Congress believes that articulating the sector's guiding principles is the first step in identifying and addressing its common goals.

You can be a part of this process. Click here to participate in a survey to rank the top four guiding principals that best reflect the core values of the nonprofit sector. These are principles that:

  1. Apply across all nonprofits.
  2. All in the charitable sector are expected to adhere to in their daily work, including decisions made, policies promoted, and behaviors exhibited.
  3. You would be willing to follow yourself.

The highest-ranked principles will help frame the work of the Nonprofit Congress, which will be held in Washington, D.C., October 16-17, 2006.

© 2006, National Council of Nonprofit Associations

The Nonprofit Congress is an initiative of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA). NCNA advances the vital role and capacity of the nonprofit sector in civil society and supports and gives voice to state and regional associations of nonprofit organizations.

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