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Articles for category Best Practices


Developing Your Own Statement

The Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector calls for “all organizations to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into their work as part of their missions.”  Most organizations have incorporated these principles into their organizational values, visions and goals.  The killing of George Floyd at the hands of police has created untold pain and fear among Black communities but has also mobilized leaders and organizations from across the nation[…]
By Heather Iliff | June 05, 2020 Read More>

Saying No to Proxy Voting on your Board

Nonprofits are facing tough choices during this challenging time.As we discussed in last week’s 52 Tips blog post, nonprofit board members are needed now more than ever. Organizations are stretched, and need strong support from their governing bodies. The Standards for Excellence code offers the important tenet that “Board members are in a position of trust to ensure that resources are used to carry out the mission of the organization.” Boards cannot allow a lapse in service, especially now when[…]

52 tips in 52 Weeks: Check in with your board—Update their profiles

Since the Standards for Excellence program’s inception, nonprofits have received advice about how to run their board meetings, recruit new members, and avoid conflicts of interest, just to name a few of the ways we seek to strengthen boards. The Leadership section of the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector is a comprehensive section and includes benchmarks and best practices of the full range of board and staff leadership measures, as well as[…]

Operating at Home: Proper Controls during the COVID-19 Pandemic

This has been an exceedingly stressful time for people, a time of uncertainty and mixed messages and having to adapt to a new style of operations. For some, this pandemic has meant that operations have ceased; but, for many, your programs continue.Your nonprofit's revenue may be significantly lower for the next few months now that physical interaction is a safety hazard, and stay-at-home orders are in effect in many states. Nonprofit fundraisers and programming cannot proceed as anticipated, and[…]
By Colin Fedor | April 03, 2020 Read More>

Navigating Remote Work

 Like so many of you, I’ve recently made the change from working in my somewhat cluttered but beloved office to working remotely all the time. I have been a regular remote worker for one day a week (or one day every other week) for a number of years. This once-a-week opportunity to slip into my home office so that I could savor the peace and quiet, getting important “thinking and writing projects”  checked off the ever-present “to do” list, feels a lot different from my current full-time work[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | March 20, 2020 Read More>

COVID-19: What Nonprofits Need to Know About Coronavirus

 Over the past few weeks, coverage of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has dominated the news cycle. While the world has responded with swift mobilization, it is difficult to plan for the effect an outbreak could have on your community. Thankfully, infectious disease experts in Maryland and around the globe have developed advice on how to prepare for an outbreak, both personally and in the workplace. World Health Organization Free Learning Resource: an interactive, web-based, knowledge-transfer platform[…]
By Jess Begue | March 12, 2020 Read More>

What Should My Social Media Policy Look Like?

This is part of a special series, brought to you by the Standards for Excellence Institute, to provide nonprofit leaders with a brief nonprofit governance and management tip weekly over the course of 2020. We hope these short tips will be helpful to you and the nonprofits you serve. If you have suggestions for future topics, please forward these to acmadsen@standardsforexcellence.org.While your website is certainly a good start for introducing yourself to the public, if you are seeking to engage[…]
By Colin Fedor | March 11, 2020 Read More>

The All-Important Budgeting Process

This is part of a special series, brought to you by the Standards for Excellence Institute, to provide nonprofit leaders with a brief nonprofit governance and management tip weekly over the course of 2020. We hope these short tips will be helpful to you and the nonprofits you serve. If you have suggestions for future topics, please forward these to acmadsen@standardsforexcellence.org.At the end of last year, due to term limits, I ended my service as the chair of the finance committee of a[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | February 28, 2020 Read More>

Ethical Storytelling on Social Media from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

"On social media, images and hashtags can spread like wildfire. Posts that go viral are usually those that prompt a visceral reaction from users who feel moved to reshare and, in the best cases, take action based on a post. The scale, reach, and free nature of social media make it lucrative for nonprofits on tight budgets to leverage it as a platform for soliciting donations and raising awareness through storytelling." Anita Varma, the assistant director of Social Sector Ethics, as well as[…]
By Jess Begue | February 13, 2020 Read More>

The Ethics of Social Media and Nonprofits from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

 "The vast majority of nonprofits use multiple forms of social media to raise money, find volunteers, or take some action on behalf of the organization, with the goal of advancing objectives. Is your social media program fulfilling your mission? You need to ask yourself three questions." Joan Harrington, the director of Social Sector Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, a Replication Partner of the Standards for Excellence Institute wrote a blog on the Ethics of Social Media and[…]
By Jess Begue | February 13, 2020 Read More>
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