Our Statement of Values and Code of Ethics
Statement of Values and Code of Ethics for Volunteers of America
As a charity founded on Christian tenets and values, Volunteers of America is committed to adhering to the highest ethical standards. Further, donors and volunteers support us because they trust us to carry out our mission, to be good stewards of their resources, and to uphold rigorous standards of conduct. Volunteers of America must earn this trust every day and in every possible way. We are, at base, our people, and it is up to the people of Volunteers of America ― board members, employees, and volunteers ― to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, openness, respect, and responsibility. We therefore commit to this Statement of Values and Code of Ethics for Volunteers of America.
Statement of Values
- Our ethical values include:
- Commitment to a ministry of service
- Commitment to the public good
- Accountability to the public
- Commitment to the letter and spirit of the law
- Respect for the worth and dignity of individuals
- Inclusiveness and social justice
- Respect for pluralism and diversity
- Transparency, integrity and honesty
- Responsible stewardship of resources
- Commitment to excellence and to maintaining the public trust
Code of Ethics
I. Ministry of Service
Volunteers of America is a Christian church engaged in a ministry of service. All our actions will be guided by our core Christian principles and our religious heritage of more than a century.
II. Personal and Professional Integrity
All board members, employees, and volunteers of Volunteers of America will act with honesty, integrity, and openness in all their dealings as representatives of Volunteers of America. Volunteers of America promotes a working environment that values respect, fairness, and integrity. The Standards for Conduct for individuals involved with Volunteers of America that is appended as Attachment A will be widely circulated, such as in board orientation manuals, employee handbooks, and volunteer training manuals.
Volunteers of America has a clearly stated mission and purpose in furtherance of the public good. All of its programs will support that mission and all who work for or on behalf of Volunteers of America will strive to understand and be loyal to that mission and purpose.
IV. Board of Directors
Volunteers of America will have an active national board of directors that is responsible for setting the strategic direction of Volunteers of America and oversight of the finances, operations, and policies of the national organization. The national board of directors:
- Will ensure that its board members or trustees have the requisite skills and experience to carry out their duties and that all members understand and fulfill their governance duties acting for the benefit of Volunteers of America and its public purpose;
- Has adopted and will follow a conflict of interest policy that ensures that any conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof are avoided or appropriately managed through disclosure, recusal, and other means;
- Will be responsible for the regular review of the performance of the chief executive officer, seeking appropriate input from throughout Volunteers of America, and will ensure that the compensation of the chief executive officer is reasonable and appropriate;
- Will ensure that the CEO and appropriate staff provide the national board of directors with timely and comprehensive information so that the national board of directors can effectively carry out its duties;
- Will ensure that Volunteers of America conducts all transactions and dealings with integrity and honesty;
- Will ensure that Volunteers of America promotes working relationships with board members, employees, volunteers, and program beneficiaries that are based on mutual respect, fairness and openness;
- Will ensure that Volunteers of America is fair and inclusive in its hiring and promotion policies and practices for all board, employee, and volunteer positions;
- Will ensure that policies of Volunteers of America are in writing, clearly articulated and officially adopted;
- Will ensure that the resources of Volunteers of America are responsibly and prudently managed; and,
- Will ensure that Volunteers of America has the capacity to carry out its programs effectively.
Volunteers of America is knowledgeable of and complies with all laws, regulations and applicable international conventions.
VI. Responsible Stewardship
Volunteers of America manages its funds responsibly and prudently.
- We will spend a reasonable percentage of annual budget on programs in pursuance of our mission, at least enough to comply with industry standards;
- We will spend an adequate amount on administrative expenses to ensure effective accounting systems, internal controls, competent staff, and other expenditures critical to professional management;
- We will compensate employees, and any others who may receive compensation, such as consultants, reasonably and appropriately;
- We will maintain reasonable fundraising costs, at least low enough to comply with industry standards;
- We will not accumulate operating funds excessively;
- We are building our endowment to provide for the future of the organization and will prudently draw from endowment funds consistent with donor intent and to support the public purpose of the organization;
- We will ensure that all spending practices and policies are fair, reasonable and appropriate to fulfill the mission of Volunteers of America;
- We will ensure that all financial reports are factually accurate and complete in all material respects.
- We have adopted and will follow a reasonable investment policy providing for asset allocation and such appropriate professional investment advice.
Volunteers of America will provide comprehensive and timely information to the public, the media, and all stakeholders and will be responsive in a timely manner to reasonable requests for information. Basic informational data about Volunteers of America will be posted on Volunteers of America’s website or otherwise available to the public. All solicitation materials will accurately represent Volunteers of America’s policies and practices and will reflect the dignity of program beneficiaries. All financial, organizational, and program reports will be complete and accurate in all material respects.
VIII. Program Evaluation
Volunteers of America will regularly measure outcomes and review program effectiveness and work to incorporate lessons learned into future programs. We will strive to improve program and organizational effectiveness and promote mechanisms to further learning from our activities and around the country. We will be responsive to changes in social service models and research and to the needs of those we serve, and to meet community needs in a changing environment.
IX. Inclusiveness and Diversity
Our board, employees and volunteers will reflect diversity in order to enrich our effectiveness through engaging a variety of perspectives and range of experiences and creative thinking. Volunteers of America will take meaningful steps to be inclusive in our hiring, retention, promotion, board recruitment, and clients served.
Our solicitation materials will be truthful and disclose important and relevant information to potential donors. We respect the privacy concerns of individual donors and expend funds consistent with donor intent.
In raising funds from the public, Volunteers of America respects the rights of donors, as follows:
- To be informed of the mission of Volunteers of America, the way the resources will be used and the capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes;
- To be informed of the identity of those serving on Volunteers of America’s governing board and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities;
- To have access to Volunteers of America’s most recent financial reports;
- To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given;
- To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition;
- To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by the law;
- To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature;
- To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of Volunteers of Americas or hired solicitors;
- To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share; and,
- To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.
Attachment A – Standards for Conduct for Individuals Involved with Volunteers of America
(Readopted by the Board of Directors, February 2009.)
Standards for Conduct
Volunteers of America is founded on and guided by Christian principles. With this as our foundation, we have developed the following Standards for Conduct which we believe in our hearts is consistent with the values that drive these principles. All those involved with Volunteers of America are encouraged to pledge to this Standards for Conduct as a commitment to achieve the highest possible standards of conduct.
- I will be conscious of the fact that everything I do, directly or indirectly, has the potential to reflect upon Volunteers of America as a whole.
- I will conduct myself at all times with openness, forthrightness, and honesty in dealing with people and organizations, both internally and externally.
- I will hold myself to the highest possible standard of conduct reflective of the work that I do, always striving to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
- I will treat everyone with dignity, worth, respect, concern, courtesy, and fairness.
- I will be sensitive to and seek solutions for all instances of discrimination and social injustice that I observe.
- I will respect and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
- I will exercise prudent stewardship of all Volunteers of America resources.
- I will avoid all “conflict of interest” relationships with board members, staff, suppliers, those we serve, and other organizations with whom I deal, unless disclosed and approved.
- I will accept no gifts or favors which might influence the performance of my responsibilities.
- I will also adhere to and comply with the defined standards of conduct of my profession.