Most associations, credit unions and non-profits have a formally written and adopted code of ethics (sometimes referred to as a code or standard of conduct) that all directors, staff and volunteers have signed to signify that they have read the document and agree to adhere to it.
You may be asking yourself why such a document is necessary for your organization. Here are a few reasons:
- The law provides minimum requirements for boards to remain compliant. The ethical standards in a code of ethics goes beyond the legal requirements of not just doing things right, but of doing the right thing.
- The code of ethics addresses the beliefs and values of the organization.
- It provides a code of conduct for all those who are associated with the organization (although a code or standard of conduct is generally more detailed than a code of ethics).
If your organization does not have a code of ethics then you may want to start by answering the following questions:
As a group, have you discussed and agreed to the values that are important to the success of the organization?
- Have you outlined the plan to integrate your code of ethics into the culture of the organization?
- Do the policies and procedures of the organization reflect the code of ethics?
If your organization has a code of ethics, how well is it being adhered to?
Contact me if you would like a sample copy of a code of ethics and/or a code of conduct at firstname.lastname@example.org