For this edition of the Hubcast, we caught up with Robbe Healey, Vice President for Philanthropy at Simpson Senior Services. She is also a founding member of Aurora Philanthropic Consulting and a world renowned speaker and currently serves on the AFP Ethics Committee.
Ethics in the nonprofit sector, as well as in general, aren’t black and white and that’s what makes the topic so tricky. Possibly the biggest ethical dilemma nonprofits face — aside from avoiding the conversation of ethics altogether — deals with their reputation. We hear all the time that a big reason donors don’t give is due to a lack of trust. They most likely aren’t distrustful of your organization in particular, but of the industry as a whole. So how do we change that? It’s both easy and hard, Healey says, but it starts with talking about your company’s ethics — all the time — not just when an ethical scandal pops up.
“If we only talk about (ethics in the nonprofit sector) when there’s a scandal, then we’re only talking about it when we have to discuss it in a negative light.”
When selecting board members, focus on keeping it well-oriented. Healey reminds us to not fill seats with just warm bodies. An empty seat, as opposed to a sub-par board member, can actually be better for your organization because they end up being dead weight on your board, holding everyone else back. Keeping this in mind will help to avoid the ethical crises that we all want to avoid.
Be sure to listen until the end for a bonus clip, featuring Healey’s thoughts on the importance of training your board and her tricks on the best ways to do so.