Developing a Code of Conduct for your Nonprofit Event

Developing a Code of Conduct for your Nonprofit Event

Developing a Code of Conduct for your Nonprofit Event

Many nonprofit leaders attended the NTEN’s Leading Change Summit this week. You can view highlights by following #14LCS.

This tweet from NTEN, was a reminder of the importance of developing a published Code of Conduct for events like this. Conferences often work to facilitate critical thinking and brainstorming about issues that affect their industry. Creating a Code of Conduct is important to ensure that all participants feel that they’re able to communicate in a safe and supported environment. Here are five key steps.

Develop your Code of Conduct

Pull together your key stakeholders – staff, leadership volunteers, and presenters – and get their feedback on what an ideal Code of Conduct looks like. You want to ensure that attendees are comfortable to share opinions that may differ from their peers in a supported space. Presenters may want to weigh in on the conduct that will make their presentations effective and productive.

Publish it

Publish and promote your Code of Conduct in all platforms that are appropriate including email, written program, and printed copies in conference rooms. A Code of Conduct is only helpful if people know the conduct.

Remind Attendees

NTEN’s tweet is a great example of an organization reminding participants that a Code of Conduct exists and should be utilized throughout the event. You can remind individuals during your opening program and ask presenters to quickly mention it at the beginning of their presentations.

Have a Plan

What happens when two attendees begin arguing about a sensitive topic in an unsuitable fashion? How will you address someone who is commonly disrupting important dialogue? Having a strategy to dealing with challenging participants is important when developing your risk assessment. While the hope is that you won’t need this, it is important to have a plan in place.

Get Feedback

Listen to your volunteers, attendees, and presenters after the event. Was the Code of Conduct useful? How can it be improved? What were the types of disruptions that impeded positive dialogue about key issues? Take the time to reflect and get feedback on your Code of Conduct after the event to help strengthen it for future years.

These steps will help to establish a successful and safe event in future years. Below are a few of our favorite links from the week. Check out our Tumblr for other helpful news.

  1. Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation writes a personal and introspective post about his first year on the job.
  2. NPQ shares their thoughts on an interesting public-private arts partnership in Wisconsin.
  3. Charity Navigator is shifting their rating to a 100 point system. Patrick Sullivan of the Nonprofit Times provides the details.
  4. Peter Drury, Director of Strategy at Splash, wrote a thoughtful piece on nonprofit transparency and value-creation.
  5. Bobbi Silten, President of Gap Foundation interviews Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen about next generation philanthropy.
  6. And Blackbaud’s empire grows. This week the company announced that they acquired Microedge.
1 Comment
  • Thanks so much for using the code of conduct from our recent Leading Change Summit as an example for others in this post! Codes of Conduct are incredibly important to us because to fully support a community engaging and maintaining a safe and participatory space, we must make it clear what participating looks like and what kinds of content or interactions are not appropriate. We have links to these terms on our main website, and in order to participate in NTEN’s online communities, events, or conferences, individuals must accept the terms again. This process also helps us respond and address issues if they arise. Always happy to share more if others would find it helpful!


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