Social Enterprise Resource Bank
Principles and Practices: Where can you find 'best practices' for nonprofits?
From the National Council of Nonprofits
This week’s resource is from the National Council of Nonprofits and provides links to state organizations and associations which define “best practices” for nonprofits.
While there is no single definition of a “best practices” for each and every nonprofit organization, there are well-recognized ethical standards and accountability practices that every staff and board member of a charitable nonprofit should be aware of. Specific legal obligations vary state by state, so many state associations of nonprofits share resources on state-specific legal requirements, as well as promote “best practices” to raise awareness about how ethical, accountable, and transparent practices make nonprofits more effective. Recognizing and adopting these practices not only benefits individual charitable nonprofits, but also donors, and the individuals and communities that charitable nonprofits serve. We encourage you to become familiar with the recommended best practices promoted by our state association network, as well as seek out information on such basics as conflicts of interest, financial transparency, reasonable compensation, nonpartisan activities, and demonstrating your nonprofit’s outcomes and effectiveness.
State Specific Practices
Even if your nonprofit is not required by law (or an accrediting body) to adopt particular standards of conduct, you may decide to aspire to practices that will help your nonprofit operate transparently, prudently, and ethically (as well as in accordance with applicable laws). Many nonprofits seek voluntary accreditation as a way of demonstrating their commitment to excellence. Others may not be as interested in a “seal of approval” but find it helpful to know that trusted experts have identified benchmarks to guide their nonprofits’ practices. Grantmakers and the donating public may also look to accountability practices as guideposts for identifying well-run and effective nonprofits. Some state charity officials publish resources online for nonprofits and boards of directors, but in general the expectation is that charitable nonprofits will know how to act appropriately – and legally. That means nonprofits and board members have to do their homework.
“The National Council of Nonprofits (Council of Nonprofits) is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve.”