The Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice outlines 33 principles of sound practice for charitable organizations and foundations related to legal compliance and public disclosure, effective governance, financial oversight, and responsible fundraising. The Principles should be considered by every charitable organization as a guide for strengthening its effectiveness and accountability. The Principles were developed by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector in 2007 and updated in 2015 to reflect new circumstances in which the charitable sector functions, and new relationships within and between the sectors.
The Principles Resource Center is the gateway to online tools and resources that support charitable organizations in their implementation of the Principles. The Resource Center includes the full text of each of the 33 Principles, including explanation and rationale, key questions organizations should consider, and legal background information from the Legal Reference Edition of the Principles, as well as a database of more than 300 online resources from across the sector that support organizations in the implementation or adaptation of recommendations made in the Principles.
The Principles are broadly accepted by a wide range of organizations from across the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. Below are just a few of the co-signers who agree that the Principles, updated in 2015 by Independent Sector, provide a strong guide for private foundations and public charities that aspire to high standards of governance and ethical practice and who encourage the sector to examine these principles carefully and determine how best they should be applied to their own operations.
The Principles Organizational Assessment Tool allows organizations to determine their strengths and weaknesses in the application of the Principles, based on its four key content areas (Legal Compliance and Public Disclosure, Effective Governance, Strong Financial Oversight, and Responsible Fundraising). This probing tool asks not just whether an organization has the requisite policies and practices in place, but also enables an organization to determine the efficacy of those practices. After completing the Principles Assessment (by content area or in full), organizations will receive a score report for each of the four content areas and recommendations via email for increasing their alignment with the Principles.
In 2014, Independent Sector convened an advisory group of 21 sector leaders to review and update the Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice. The impetus for doing so was two-fold. First, seven years, since the publication of the Principles in 2007, the charitable sector has experienced many significant changes in the environment in which it works, and those changes have raised questions about whether the principles adequately addressed some of the emerging issues. Secondly, with such broad-based reliance on these principles, Independent Sector deemed it good practice to revisit the recommendations to be sure that their guidance remains relevant today.
The advisory group recommended a series of updates that are reflected in this 2015 edition of the Principles. Some reflect changes in the law since the 2007 Principles were issued. Others reflect new circumstances in which the sector functions, and new relationships within and between the sectors.
Key changes to the Principles can be found in the following areas:
You can purchase print and digital copies of the Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice now, and pre-order access to the Principles Resource Center and the Principles Organizational Assessment Tool, available in early March. Select a product or bundle below and save on the latest edition of the key ethics and governance document for nonprofits and charities downloaded more than a quarter of a million times.