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Articles for category Ethics


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>

Fundraising and Working with Donors During the COVID-19 Crisis

In the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic, many nonprofits are faced with tough choices related to raising the necessary resources to meet their missions and support the great needs of the communities they serve. The Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector provides guidance for how organizations should act when planning resource development and states, “An organization’s resource development program should be maintained on a foundation of[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | April 17, 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>

Developing a Code of Ethics

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.Back in the mid-1990s, I had the privilege of working with the volunteer taskforce that ultimately developed and[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | January 30, 2020 Read More>
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Failure to Address Succession Planning by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

A long-tenured executive director is uncertain about how much longer he intends to stay with his organization and has talked with a few members of the staff about the possibility of leaving. He has not spoken to the board or stated a clear intention, and the board is hesitant to address the issue out of respect. How can this board and executive director act ethically? Read this article from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, a Replication Partner based in Santa Clara, CA, to find out.   […]
By Lydia Alcock | October 26, 2018 Read More>
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Lack of Board Engagement: Did this Board act ethically? By the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Disengaged board members fail to meet their ethical obligations to nonprofit organizations. If the executive director believes their nonprofit could raise more funds and serve more people, but the board's lack of engagement is impacting growth, what options are there? Read this article from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, a Replication Partner based in Santa Clara, CA, to find out. […]
By Lydia Alcock | October 26, 2018 Read More>
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Nonprofit Fraud: Did this Board act ethically? By the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Boards have an ethical duty to understand and fulfill their responsibilities to a nonprofit, including rigorous financial oversight. If a nonprofit loses $900,000 over eight years due to theft by the executive director, was the board acting unethically?  Check out this article from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, a Santa Clara, California-based Replication Partner,  to find out.[…]
By Lydia Alcock | October 26, 2018 Read More>
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Upholding Fundraising Standards and Ethics

The Standards for Excellence Institute has been following a news story in Baton Rouge that raises important questions related to best practices in governance and management of nonprofit charitable resources, and provides a sharp example of the importance of embracing best practices, as articulated in the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector.[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | June 27, 2018 Read More>
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Managing Difficult Board Members

You know who they are.They engage in sidebar conversations with other board members or even the members about what they think is wrong with the board or the executive director or the organization in general. They joined the board simply to promote themselves or their business and then come up with schemes to get the organization to buy their services or products. They ask for special favors such as upgraded airfare or free tickets to a fundraising event or free products from vendors. They[…]
By Bunnie Riedel | June 28, 2017 Read More>
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