The Independent Sector Code of Ethics is a demonstration of our commitment to high ethical standards. This code recognizes that an organization is defined by the people who work for it, and that those people?board members, executive leaders, staff, and volunteers?must demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, openness, respect, and responsibility.
Our code of ethics is a part of a larger, organization-wide commitment to ethical practices. Our values must be supported by policies and procedures that staff and board follow, and several of these policies are posted on our website. IS also recognizes the importance of a organizational culture that supports high ethical standards, and we encourage such an atmosphere by fostering discussion on ethical issues, promoting transparency about our work, and setting the proper “tone at the top”.
Independent Sector’s Statement of Values and Code of Ethics was adapted from the model code of ethics for nonprofit organizations drafted by a special task force of the IS Ethics and Accountability Committee. Distributed to Independent Sector members for review from October 2003 through January 2004, the IS Code was approved by the Board of Directors on January 29, 2004.
I. Personal and Professional Integrity
All staff, board members and volunteers of Independent Sector act with honesty, integrity and openness whenever they represent the organization. Independent Sector promotes a working environment that values respect, fairness and integrity.
Independent Sector has a clearly stated mission and purpose, approved by the board of directors, in pursuit of the public good. All of its programs support that mission and all who work for or on behalf of Independent Sector understand and are loyal to that mission and purpose. The mission is responsive to the constituency and communities served by Independent Sector and of value to the society at large.
Independent Sector has a board of directors that is responsible for setting the mission and strategic direction of the organization and for oversight of the finances, operations, and policies of Independent Sector. The board:
IV. Legal Compliance
Independent Sector is knowledgeable of and complies with all U.S. laws, regulations and applicable international conventions.
V. Responsible Stewardship
Independent Sector manages its funds responsibly and prudently. Independent Sector:
VI. Openness and Disclosure
Independent Sector provides comprehensive and timely information to the public, the media, and all stakeholders and is responsive in a timely manner to reasonable requests for information. All information about Independent Sector fully and honestly reflects its policies and practices. Basic informational data about Independent Sector, such as the Form 990 and audited financial statements are posted on Independent Sector’s website or otherwise available to the public. All solicitation materials accurately represent Independent Sector’s policies, practices, and programs. All financial, organizational, and program reports are complete and accurate in all material respects.
VII. Program Evaluation
Independent Sector regularly reviews program effectiveness and has mechanisms to incorporate lessons learned into future programs. Independent Sector is committed to improving program and organizational effectiveness and developing mechanisms to promote learning from its activities and the field. Independent Sector is responsive to changes in its field of activity and is responsive to the needs of its constituencies.
VIII. Inclusiveness and Diversity
Independent Sector is committed to inclusiveness and diversity in its staff, board and volunteers. Independent Sector takes meaningful steps to promote inclusiveness in its hiring, retention, promotion, board recruitment and constituencies served.
When raising funds, Independent Sector is truthful in its solicitation materials. Independent Sector respects the privacy concerns of individual donors, expends funds consistent with donor intent, and discloses important and relevant information to potential donors. In raising funds from the public, Independent Sector respects the rights of donors:
Note: These ten points are adapted from A Donor Bill of Rights, developed by the American Association of Fund Raising Counsel, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and endorsed by Independent Sector.