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How Are You Putting Your Nonprofit’s Values Into Practice After Putting Them on Paper?

The process of selecting your organization’s values with your nonprofit staff and board members can be an important exercise to define what is most important, how you expect individuals to conduct themselves as representatives of the organization, and what others can expect when partnering with you.

As one consultant has pointed out to us on multiple occasions, most businesses and nonprofits state very similar values that do not differentiate them in a noteworthy way.

That’s why what you do with the values once shared on your website, printed in job descriptions, or placed in your employee handbook is so important.

Has your organization created the processes to thoughtfully put your values into practice, check each other when values are not being exemplified, and recognize each other when you’re living the values really well?

Here are a few considerations we have picked up along the way–in our own musings here at work and as we interact with others.

  • Board Members/Volunteers Sharing Values
    Are nonprofit board members and volunteers included in values conversations and actively representing the organization’s values at board/committee meetings, interacting with the staff, interacting with those you serve, and in the public (especially when representing your nonprofit)?
  • Empowerment of Colleagues
    Do colleagues feel empowered to talk with each other when someone acted outside of the established values? How can this happen in a way that builds positive relationships?
  • Positive Recognition
    What systems are in place to positively recognize staff, volunteers, and others when an organizational value is exemplified in a tough situation?
  • Accountability of Leadership and to Leadership
    Do managers and leaders take an active role with staff when an internal or external interaction did not live up to the values of the organization? Or the really hard question–what if the leaders are not exemplifying the values?
  • Cleaning It Up
    We all have bad days. What’s the process for cleaning it up when we act outside of the organization’s values?
  • Values Leading to Gains
    Can you share examples of how your values have led to gains for your organization or more trusted, productive relationships with those you serve?

These are the hard questions. But if a values discussion is important enough to take your time, be sure your values are put into practice. That’s the meaningful part.

If you have examples, we would love to share them. Email and reference this post.