The establishment of core values in the early stages of a nonprofit’s operations is important because these core values allow donors to better understand the purpose of the organization. To initially gain and continually build trust within the current and expanding donor base, core values should be clearly stated and easily accessible by anyone who may be interested. Additionally, all goals and projects of the organization must be derived from, or related to, one or more of the organization’s core values.
Examples of important core values for nonprofit organizations:
Integrity – Understanding the importance of both honesty and transparency with actions and information provided to those within and outside the organization
Good stewardship – Ensuring the organization is responsible with the resources provided by others
Empowerment – Providing programs that allow the population being served to gain strength and confidence
Excellence – Striving to surpass goals and expectations
Community – Involving other organizations with similar goals and values to better serve those in the community
Although this is not a comprehensive list of important core values for nonprofit organizations, integrity and good stewardship are among the most vital core values for an organization to instill in its employees and volunteers. As a nonprofit organization, the donors should have the opportunity to see the impact of their donations and to trust that the organization will use their gifts responsibly.
Core values should be established through a joint effort of the Board of Directors and management. These core values should then be clearly communicated to all employees and volunteers in a manner that allows an understanding of how these values impact daily operations. While daily activities and staff/volunteers may change, the core values of the organization should remain constant. This commitment to genuine core values will help ensure the success of the nonprofit organization.
Please contact the Not-for-Profit Niche team at Gilliam Bell Moser LLP for further guidance.