Good Governance and Ethics
The Family Resource Center in Northeastern Nevada exists to serve residents through the provision of exceptional programs meant to build and maintain healthy communities. To achieve its mission, the Center is guided by a set of eight core values, namely, quality, integrity, fairness, reliability, client service, empowerment, community, and respect. In addition, it offers a number of free programs to residents. The entity also has a team of six staff members and a board that comprises 8 members (Family Resource Centers of Northeastern Nevada, n.d). However, there are a number of issues about the organization that require being looked into, especially as regards good governance.
One such issue is the gender representation of staff members. According to the organization’s website, all the six staff members are women. In the Board, more than half of the members are also women. While this aspect can be taken to suggest that the Family Resource Center is determined to empower women, it could also act as a barrier to effective governance. Board diversity is one of the principles outlined by the Independent Sector as key requirements for ethical practice and good governance in organizations. The Independent Sector (2019) recommends that boards of organizations should be made up of members from diverse backgrounds-gender included- so that skills required to realize the mission of the entity are pooled together. Gender equality is also advocated for by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (n.d) as one of the cornerstones of development. In line with the principle of board diversity, it is recommended that the Family Resource Center should consider reviewing its board to include an equal number of men and women.
It is laudable that the Family Resource Center is committed to providing family support, education programs, breastfeeding support, health education and nutrition programs to residents free of charge. Nonetheless, the extent to which these programs can be delivered sustainably is an issue of concern. Being a charitable organization, the Center mobilizes the funds necessary to deliver its programs through donations. According to the Independent Sector (2019), good governance demands that charitable organizations ensure they have adequate fundraising as well as administrative capacity to provide their programs effectively and responsibly. In view of this, it would be a good idea for the Family Resource Center to introduce membership development events that will assist in soliciting potential beneficiaries while also relying on membership dues to be able to execute its mission. This recommendation is informed by the report that residents have to call the Family Resource Center to check their eligibility to the programs. This work would be made easier if there is a team that is charged with the responsibility of identifying and vetting potential beneficiaries.
It is also recommended that the Nevada Northeastern Family Resource Center hires a qualified accountant or a finance officer, who will be in charge of ensuring that the Center’s funds are properly administered. Considering the names and credentials of staff members provided in the Center’s website, it seems that financial expertise is missing. It is permissible for charitable organizations to recruit a qualified accounting professional who will keep financial systems as well as reports properly organized (Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, 2007). Best practice in charity organizations shows that personnel ought to be compensated in accordance with their respective roles. This information is only available where there are proper records (Independent Sector, 2019). For this reason, it would be helpful for the Nevada Family Resource Center to hire a finance person who will be in charge of keeping financial records while also ensuring that staff members’ remuneration matches the work they do.
Lastly, it is proposed that the Family Resource Center should draft an ethical code. This move will help staff members and all stakeholders to stay on track in pursuit of the organization’s mission (Lindahl, 2011). Even though the mission, vision, and core values are clearly stated, an ethical code would be of great significance, especially when it comes to fostering an ethical culture of integrity together with legal compliance (Hopkins & Gross, 2009). In a charitable organization such as Family Resource Center, such an ethical code will not only reinforce a positive culture but will also reassure donors that their funds are being used for the right cause.
In summary, it should be mentioned that although it is the power of owners and the management team to determine the size, composition, and policies of charitable organizations, there are some universal guidelines that help to ensure good governance and ethical operations. Some of these guidelines include board diversity, a clearly-stated ethical code, clear resource allocation policy, and an all-rounded team of staff that is capable of handling the organization’s key operations.
Family Resource Centers of Northeastern Nevada. (n.d). Family Resource Center: Catalyst for growth. Retrieved from http://elkofamilyresourcecenter.org/index.html
Hopkins, B. R., & Gross, V. C. (2009). Non-profit governance: Law, practices, and trends. Hoboken, N.J: J. Wiley.
Independent Sector. (2019). Principles for good governance and ethical practice. Retrieved from https://independentsector.org/programs/principles-for-good-governance-and-ethical-practice/
Lindahl, W. (2011). Principles of fundraising: Theory and practice. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Panel on the Nonprofit Sector. (2007). Principles for good governance and ethical practice: A guide for charities and foundations. Retrieved from https://bigcatrescue.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Principles_Reference.pdf
United Nations Industrial Development Organization. (n.d). Guideline on good governance and professional practices for organizations and personnel of the National Quality Infrastructure. Retrieved from https://open.unido.org/api/documents/6013703/download/Good%20Governance%20Guidelines_English%20A5_31.3.pdf