Ethics and Accountability for Nonprofits
Are You Creating a Culture of Integrity?
“Nonprofits play a fundamental role in our society and their success requires effective stewardship of donors’ contributions and maintenance of the public trust. The recent erosion of ethical behavior in this sector is very troubling, and the trend cannot be allowed to continue. It is our hope…nonprofit leaders will take immediate action to reinforce and rebuild their ethical structures.”
The Ethics Resource Center’s National Nonprofit Ethics Survey – An Inside View of Nonprofit Sector Ethics, 2007.
Recent scandals have torpedoed the public’s confidence in all corporations – for profit and nonprofit. Over half of nonprofit employees report observing ethical lapses in the past year which can impact employee and volunteer morale, public and donor perceptions, as well as the image and legal status of a non-profit organization. Don’t think it could never happen in your organization…it will if you aren’t taking active steps to ensure a culture of integrity.
Tower Hill Resources believes that all nonprofits should be assessing their own ethical culture, implementing robust ethics and compliance programs, and insuring that internal controls are in place to prevent short-term financial pressures from resulting in financial fraud in managing or raising funds.
“Saying or implying one thing and doing another can rob organizations of potential contributions of faith (and money and time), creating skepticism and costing your cause and the rest of the nonprofit sector dearly. But as they say, such stuff exists on a slippery slope. Small ethical lapses can snowball even when they have seemed well-justified in the moment. “
Ruth McCambridge, Editor in Chief of Non Profit Quarterly, July 2008.