Principles of ethical operation of non-profit organisations

Democratic governance and operation
1. A non-profit organisation has a clear and understandable mission. In carrying out its mission, a non-profit organisation is guided by its statutes, internal documents and operating standards.
2. A non-profit organisation expresses and represents a diversity of interests and needs of people. A non-profit organisation engages people in the development of civil society through civic education, participatory democracy, advocacy and other forms.
3. A non-profit organisation as a voluntary association of the members of the society values its members, ensures democratic governance of the organisation, holds the governing bodies and employees of the organisation responsible and reacts to their misconduct.
4. A non-profit organisation considers involvement of people and voluntary work as a foundation for civil society, values citizens and their voluntary work.
5. A non-profit organisation consistently pursues skilled actions, professionalism and perfection in order to achieve better results in its work.
6. Getting funds for its activities mainly from supporters and donors, a non-profit organisation uses the funds efficiently and in accordance with designated purposes.

Civic courage and care
7. A non-profit organisation demonstrates civic courage in fighting against social injustice.
8. When discovering incompetence and disregard for the principles of social justice in legislation, a non-profit organisation works to amend such legislation.
9. A non-profit organisation does not use or advocate the use of violence to express its opinions, achieve its goals or gain the attention of the public.

Sustainability and prudence in using funds and resources
10. A non-profit organisation uses natural, human and intellectual resources, as well as material and financial assets with sustainability and prudence, considering the needs of both present and future generations.
11. A non-profit organisation in its capacity as both applicant and donor, complies with generally accepted funding principles, uses only justified and transparent budgets and avoids duplication in funding.

Responsibility and accountability
12. A non-profit organisation is accountable its activities and is responsible to the founders, members, supporters, donors and the general public.
13. A non-profit organisation considers important readiness to account for its activities, achieved through professional management, internal accountability and pursuing generally accepted accounting principles.
14. A non-profit organisation discloses a report of its activities and finances at least once a year.

Openness and transparency
15. Information regarding the mission, membership, activities and funding of a non-profit organisation are public and understandable.
16. A non-profit organisation communicates in an open and direct manner in its own name and it does not act anonymously.
17. A non-profit organisation is open to new ideas and different opinions, as well as cooperation in achieving common goals.

Independence and avoiding conflicts of interest
18. A non-profit organisation is independent in setting its goals, decisions and activities and refrains from being controlled by political parties, public institutions or companies, resulting in losing its independence and ability to act for the public benefit.
19. A non-profit organisation and persons involved therein prevent from entering in the conflict of interest. In the event of a conflict of interest, necessary measures to eliminate such conflict of interest must be applied.

Honouring commitments and recognition of authorship of ideas
20. A non-profit organisation honours all written contracts and oral agreements.
21. A non-profit organisation honours the authorship of ideas and projects of other organisations.

22. A non-profit organisation recognises the diversity of ways of thought, organisations and their goals.
23. A non-profit organisation does not disparage or slander other organisations, their opinions or persons operating therein.

Adopted on April 7, 2002 at the General Assembly of the Roundtable of Estonian Non-Profit Organisations in Tartu.