In 2008 I led a discussion through an NTEN Affinity Group to craft a code of conduct that nonprofit technology providers could agree upon. This was based on work that Marc Osten had done to articulate a set of principles for the UK circuit rider movement with help from Beth Kanter and Michelle Murrain.
As a follow-up, at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference I facilitated a discussion about what might be done to find common ground among #nptech providers. While never officially adopted by NTEN or other organizations, they stand the test of time
We hope that these are principles that nonprofit technology service providers, consultants and vendors can all agree upon.
NonProfit Technology Professional’s Principles
We, as technology professionals serving nonprofit organizations, pledge to:
- Do no intentional harm to data or devices containing data
- Appreciate, respect and adapt our approaches to an organization’s culture, mission, context and resources
- Focus on solutions appropriate in both the short and long term
- Explain technology strategies and tools using clear, non-technical language
- Understand and communicate relevant excellent practices as well as legal and technical requirements related to our work
- Engage in continuous learning to maintain our skills and knowledge
- Regularly participate in – and share knowledge with – our nptech community
- Maintain ethical practices and declare any conflicts of interest
- Provide recommendations and not directives, communicating the reasoning behind recommendations, ensuring decisions are always the clients
- Be transparent about pricing for products, services and any project costs
On March 13 of 2008, the following message was sent out to all relevant nonprofit technology related listservs, online bulletin boards and affinity groups, showing the supporters of the initiative.
Imagine our U.S. community of nonprofit technology professionals – staff, consultants, vendors, support organizations and others – having a set of principles to guide our work and let other communities know us better.
Most groups of professionals have principals or codes of conduct that their members agree to abide by – nonprofit technology professionals (NTPs) in the USA being a notable exception. We would like to facilitate our community generating and agreeing to a set of principles/ code of conduct. The UK Circuit Riders have already articulated and presented a set of principles appropriate for them, that many have signed on to follow. Now we think it’s our turn.
We are presenting a draft set of principles as a starting point for discussion. NTEN has agreed to host the discussion through an online affinity group. Over the next 90 days, we ask all of you to review the draft, comment, contribute and discuss (see process schedule below).
At the end of ninety days we will put all of the feedback and discussion together into a set of principles built by the community. We will then encourage all nonprofit technology professionals to sign on to the principles and abide by them.
We are looking for basic principles applicable to the broadest range of nonprofit technology professionals – staff, consultants, vendors, professors and others who identify with our community.
Sign up for the discussion forum where you can view the initial draft, read more about the why? and how?, comment and discuss.
We look forward to the conversation – including in-person discussion and input at NTC – and we will contact this list again when the final draft is ready.
We hope you will join us in taking another step to professionalizing what we love to do,
Beth Kanter, John Kenyon, Michelle Murrain, Marc Osten
Process Supporters (organizations for identification purposes only):
Peter Campbell, Earthjustice & TechCafeteria
Teresa Crawford, Director Advocacy and Leadership Center, Institute for Sustainable Communities
Jeff Forster, Robert Morris University, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
David Geilhufe, Philanthropy Program Manager at NetSuite
Dave Greenberg, CiviCRM
Mary Gross, Director of InfoTAP, a program of Nonprofit Management Solutions
Allen Gunn, Aspiration Tech
Cheryl Hanback, Web & Graphic Design
Phil Klein, Pen & Pixel
Eric Leland, Leland Design
Sheldon Mains, Nonprofit Tech Consultant
Ryan Ozimek, PICnet
Laura Quinn, Idealware
Jon Stahl, ONE/NW
Michael Stein, Internet & Media Strategist