Orchestras' Guide to Ethics and Accountability

Orchestras depend on support from the public and must operate ethically and effectively to maintain the public’s trust. As nonprofit organizations around the country are shoring up their administrative and governance practices, orchestras must develop a transparent culture on issues ranging from employee and volunteer human resource policies to financial record-keeping.

The IRS is stepping up its enforcement of nonprofit accountability requirements, Congress is considering tougher laws, and some state legislatures are already requiring higher standards.

League Resources

Under the Microscope
This article, first published in Symphony magazine, describes how public examination of the nonprofit sector affects orchestras.

Are We Okay?
Heidi Waleson describes how the post-Enron environment is prompting orchestras to scrutinize their own governance practices in this article from Symphony magazine.

League Tax Updates
The League’s D.C. office reports on the latest developments as the Hill considers new rules for nonprofit taxation, governance, and management. 

State Resources for Nonprofit Standards

National Council of Nonprofit Associations
Several states have voluntary ethics and accountability standards for nonprofit organizations – others have new or newly emerging requirements. Check your state’s nonprofit association for guidelines and updates.

Standards of Excellence Institute
The Institute promotes a system of nonprofit self-regulation. You can find examples of ethics and accountability standards at the Institute web site, or by viewing the standards that have been adopted by state nonprofit associations in Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania. To earn the Institute’s Seal of Excellence, nonprofits must commit to eight Guiding Principles and 55 Standards for Excellence. 

National Resources for Developing Ethics Policies, Accountability Standards, and Best Practices

Checklist for Developing a Statement of Values and Code of Ethics
Independent Sector, the national organization for the nonprofit and philanthropic community, provides this step-by-step guide.

Model Statement of Values
A code of ethics is more than a document – it is an ongoing process and commitment toward higher standards of excellence. View Independent Sector’s model code.

Complete Guide to Ethics Management
Carter McNamara provides practical tools for developing ethics guidelines, conflict of interest statements, and general information about best practices for nonprofits. 

Background Information on Ethics and Accountability

Obedience to the Unenforceable
Independent Sector explores why and how the nonprofit community should go beyond the minimal legal requirements when committing to high standards of ethics and accountability.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Implications for Nonprofit Organizations
Free white paper on the implications for nonprofits of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Co-produced by BoardSource and Independent Sector.

Nonprofit Accountability: Inside and Out
Bridgestar is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing leadership for the nonprofit sector. Register free on Bridgestar’s website to read about four areas in which nonprofits take action.

Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Vice President for Advocacy.