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Who We Are ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


They are volunteers, too!

Look here for infomation and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee. The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards of directors or committees.

~ April 2003 ~

Is My Nonprofit Ethical?

Corporate and nonprofit scandals—we read about them more than we have in the past. In the nonprofit sector, volunteers, the public and paid staff are asking “How do I know if a nonprofit is ethical?” Recently I asked this question at a workshop I was conducting, and the following were some of the answers we came up with:

An ethical nonprofit:

  • Does what it says it is doing
  • Lives its mission
  • Works for the public good
  • Uses its resources—staff, volunteers and money—responsibly
  • Has financial controls in place
  • Practices risk management
  • Spends its money where it says it is spending it
  • Has fair personnel practices
  • Files governmental forms accurately and on time
  • Obeys lobbying restrictions
  • Has reasonable fund raising and other administrative costs
  • Pays its executive director a salary that is in line with other organizations that have a similar budget
  • Has an active and involved governing board

What would you add?Magnifying glass Image

For more on nonprofit ethics, see Independent Sector’s Ethics and Accountability.

Interested in more information on boards? Check out our online bookstore for: The Board Member’s Guide: A Beneficial Bestiary. In the Show field, select Jeanne Bradner from the list and click the Show button to view this book as well as other titles by the author.

Other good sources for information on boards and committees:

Jeanne H. Bradner

Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, Passionate Volunteerism, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum.


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