A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

Resource Center for Good Governance and Ethical Practices

Initial Posting: Nov 14, 2013

Independent Sector has launched an online Resource Center for Good Governance and Ethical Practice, a comprehensive collection of tools for nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to enhance the accountability and transparency of their operations and ensure they operate in ethical ways.


Independent Sector established the Resource Center for Good Governance and Ethical Practice to support organizations seeking to ensure that they are operating in accordance to the highest standards of ethics and accountability.  The Resource Center showcases, through downloads or links, over 250 model policies, research papers, templates, and other tools.

The Resource Center is organized in four sections that aligned with 33 principles outlined in Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundations. Each principle is separately addressed and features: Principle StatementIntroductionCore ConceptsLegal and Compliance IssuesLegal BackgroundResources.

The 33 principles cover:

Legal Compliance and Public Disclosure

1.   Laws and Regulations
2.   Code of Ethics
3.   Conflicts of Interest
4.   “Whistleblower” Policy
5.   Document Retention and Destruction
6.   Protection of Assets
7.   Availability of Information to the Public

Effective Governance

8.   Board Responsibilities
9.   Board Meetings
10. Board Size and Structure
11. Board Diversity
12. Board Independence
13. CEO Evaluation and Compensation
14. Separation of CEO, Board Chair, and Board Treasurer Roles
15. Board Education and Communication
16. Evaluation of Board Performance
17. Board Member Term Limits
18. Review of Governing Documents
19. Review of Mission and Goals
20. Board Compensation

Financial Oversight

21. Financial Records
22. Annual Budget, Financial Performance, and Investments
23. Loans to Directors, Officers, or Trustees
24. Resource Allocation for Programs and Administration
25. Travel and Other Expense Policies
26. Expense Reimbursement for Nonbusiness Travel Companions

Responsible Fundraising

27. Accuracy and Truthfulness of Fundraising Materials
28. Compliance with Donor’s Intent
29. Acknowledgement of Tax-Deductible Contributions
30. Gift Acceptance Policies
31. Oversight of Fundraisers
32. Fundraiser Compensation
33. Donor Privacy

Take advantage of other items such as those listed below developed by Independent Sector, along with other organizations and featured on the Virtual CAP description – Accountability of Charitable Organizations:


Effective governance and strong financial oversight is an element of ROMA National Goal #5: Agencies Increase Their Capacity to Achieve Results.  Furthermore, CSBG Information Memorandum 82 (issued March 23, 2005) emphasizes that CAA boards are ultimately responsible for assuring that agencies continue to assess and respond to the causes and conditions of poverty in their community, achieve anticipated family and community outcomes, and remain administratively and fiscally sound.


Independent Sector,