Principle 1: Rules, Rules, Rules

Keeping it Ethical is our weekly blog series highlighting the 33 Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice. Throughout the series, we hope to highlight the importance of each Principle, the helpful resources associated with it, and learn more from you about how you’ve incorporated these Principles into your charitable organization.

Our 33 Principles were developed to act as a guide for any and every charitable organization to strengthen its effectiveness and accountability. The Principles are exactly that – principles. They are the guideposts that keep a charitable organization on track. The Principles are not mandates or prescriptive rules.

Well, except the first Principle is not a simple you should, it is a clear you must.

You must follow the law.

As a charitable organization you are required to apply with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a tax-exempt organization (with some exceptions), so you are already aware of all the rules and checkpoints in place to receive and keep your status. Tax laws are just a piece of that regulatory pie. As a charitable organization you must also stay abreast of local, state, and international laws.

This would normally be the place for us to highlight the top five [insert tools, resources, what have you] – but listen, there is no singular list of the top five laws to follow. You will have to follow all of them, yes that’s right – all the rules.

The best place to make sure you have aligned yourself with the law of the land is the IRS website, which does have some snazzy how-tos and checklists.

While you are at it, why not consider diving deeper into your state-specific regulations by using our handy (and interactive!) map. Download your unique state profile that breaks down the major highlights and perhaps even use it as a conversation starter at your next dinner party.

Of course, when in doubt – consult a professional, otherwise you might be left wondering: am I breaking the law?

Learn more about Principle 1 and the associated resources.

Are we missing a good resource associated with this Principle? We want to hear that too. Leave your thoughts in the comments and let us know what you think. You can also use #npethics on social media.

Types: Blog, Policy Update
Global Topics: Ethics and Accountability