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Reports and Recommendations

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The following reports are designed to strengthen the ability of the nation’s 1.4 million charities and foundations to serve as responsible stewards of the public’s generosity.

Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice

Sign on to the Principles
Order print copies of the Guide for Charities and Foundations
Download the Reference Edition

Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundations was released by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector in October 2007. The Guide (.pdf, 886) outlines 33 practices designed to support board members and staff leaders of every charitable organization as they work to improve their own operations. The Panel encourages these leaders to examine the Principles carefully and determine how best they should be applied to their own operations. The development of these Principles included comprehensive analysis of over 50 systems of self-regulation and best practices, two public comment periods, and the involvement of charities and foundations nationwide.

The Reference Edition includes legal background for each Principle, studies on self-regulation systems, and a glossary of terms.

Principles Workbook: Steering Your Board Toward Good Governance and Ethical Practice

Independent Sector created the Principles Workbook to provide further support for nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs committed to examining and improving their governance practices. IS developed it in partnership with BoardSource, the nation’s leading resource on nonprofit governance.

The Workbook will make it easier for boards of directors and staff leaders to assess the areas where their organizations are doing well and where there is room for improvement. It distills the core concepts in each of the 33 principles and suggests points for board and staff to discuss about their current practices. Progress worksheets accompanying each of the four sections assist nonprofits and foundations in making plans and recording their progress.

We encourage you to download a free copy of the Workbook from the Independent Sector website.

Strengthening Transparency, Governance, and Accountability
of Charitable Organizations

Strengthening Transparency, Governance, and Accountability of Charitable Organizations: A Final Report to Congress and the Nonprofit Sector was released by the Panel in June 2005.

The Final Report (2005) (.pdf, 740 kb), which incorporated input from thousands of people across the charitable community through field hearings and national conference calls, proposes a carefully integrated package of actions from charitable organizations, from Congress, and from the Internal Revenue Service. It recommends more than 120 actions for charitable organizations, by Congress, and by the Internal Revenue Service, which together would strengthen the sector’s transparency, governance, and accountability.

A Supplemental Report (.pdf, 253 kb) was released in April 2006 and focuses on nine areas, including international grantmaking and charitable solicitation. As with all of the Panel’s reports, the more than 30 recommendations incorporated input from people across the charitable community.


from the panel
About the Panel

The Panel on the Nonprofit Sector is an independent effort by charities and foundations to ensure that the nonprofit community remains a vibrant and healthy part of American society.