Ethics and Integrity – Are The Standards Different in the Profit and Non-Profit Worlds?
Shortly after beginning my career with The Melior Group I became involved in our Ethics and Integrity work, specifically creating stand-alone surveys to measure ethics and compliance culture amongst employees at multi-national corporations. Last year I wrote about three steps organizations can take to improve their ethics and compliance culture.
In addition to Ethics and Integrity, over the last several years I have become involved in The Melior Group’s work in the non-profit arena. We work with non-profits to help them learn more about their customers –their users, their donors, and their funders. We use a “business lens” and look at “buyer behavior” to provide guidance to these organizations on a variety of issues.
While our work in Ethics and Integrity has been concentrated in the for-profit area, there is a connection between these two areas: Ethics and Integrity are important throughout all of the business world, including in the non-profit sector, and specifically involving philanthropy.
A recent reading of Funders & Power – Principles for Honorable Conduct in Philanthropy piqued my interest. This document was created to help funders delineate the boundary between strong philanthropic leadership and abuse of power. It outlines broad standards of conduct, including seven principles that funders should follow and recipient organizations should expect, including being ethically consistent and treating all with respect and partnership. Although this document specifically references Jewish philanthropy, it can be argued that these principles and goals are far reaching and should be considered by all – specifically those making the donations, and those accepting them.
Do your funders make unrealistic requests tied to their philanthropic donations or project funding? An article written in response to the Funders & Power document suggests that organization staff need to “be bold enough to call out funders for behaving poorly, and wise enough to phrase challenges constructively so that people feel they have an opportunity to improve rather than a need to defend themselves.”
Does your staff know how to react to these requests? First and foremost is the need to create a culture of ethics and integrity in your organization. It starts from the inside: there’s no replacement for knowing what employees think and feel, and are likely to do when confronted by an ethics issue.
An employee survey dedicated to ethics and integrity establishes a baseline measure that allows for a better understanding of the level of integrity that resides in your organization, and what employees need to learn and understand in order to feel a part of the process. This survey tool, often used in the for-profit world, can and should also be used in the non-profit world for measuring ethics and integrity amongst employees.
Interested in learning more about how our clients have used stand-alone employee Ethics and Compliance surveys to create and sustain a culture of ethics and integrity, or how our non-profit clients have used our buyer behavior research? Please reach out to Sindey Dranoff at 215-545-0054 ext. 108 / [email protected].