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NGO CODE OF ETHICS

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Responsibility, Service, and Public Mindedness

  1. Sustainable progress, peace, and justice require that all organizations contribute to the common good.  To this end, Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center (SNIC):
  2. Conducts its activities for the sake of others, for the youth of Elbasan, Albanian, and the Balkans.
  3. Do not use public money for selfish purposes. All public assets are to be treated with utmost seriousness, as a public trust.
  4. Recognizes that its conduct and activities impact the public’s perception of NGOs and that it shares responsibility for the public’s trust of all NGOs.
  5. Considers the environmental impact of all its activities and takes a responsible and sustainable approach.

Cooperation Beyond Boundaries

Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center recognizes that progress toward world peace and global well-being can be fostered by working across artificial barriers of politics and ethnicity that tend to separate people and their institutions.  To achieve this, SNIC is open to work beyond borders of politics, religion, culture, race, and ethnicity, within the limits of the organizing documents and with organizations and individuals that share our common values and objectives.

Human Rights and Dignity

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

SNIC will not violate any person’s fundamental human rights, with which each person is endowed.  We recognize that all people are born free and equal in dignity, and deserve respect and sensitivity to the values, religion, customs, traditions, and culture of the communities we serve.

Religious Freedom

Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center acknowledges that “Everyone has the right of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18)

Transparency and Accountability

We believe that all NGOs should strive for openness and honesty internally and toward donors and members of the public.

SNIC pledges:

  1. To be transparent in all of its dealings with the government, the public, donors, partners, beneficiaries, and other interested parties, except for personnel matters and proprietary information.
  2. To make basic financial information, governance structure, activities, and listing of officers and partnerships open and accessible to public scrutiny and to make effort to inform the public about its work and the origin and use of its resources.
  3. To be accountable for its actions and decisions, not only to its funding agencies and the government, but also to the people it serves, its staff and members, partner organizations, and the public at large.

Truthfulness and Legality

Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center promises to be honest and truthful in its dealings with its donors, project beneficiaries, staff, membership, partner organizations, government, and the public in general, and will respect the laws of any jurisdiction in which it is active, which currently includes Albania.  We also respect the laws imposed on our EU and Balkan partners.

  • SNIC will give out accurate information, whether regarding itself and its projects, or regarding any individual, organization, project, or legislation it opposes or is discussing.
  • SNIC will fulfill its obligations under the laws of Albania or in any other country in which we may works.
  • Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center strongly opposes, and will not be a willing partner to, corruption, bribery, and other financial improprieties or illegalities.
  • SNIC is creating a policy for staff and volunteers to confidentially bring evidence to the governing body of misconduct of anyone associated with the organization.
  • SNIC will always meet all of the legal obligations in Albania, to the best of its ability, and will update our policies to match legal changes as they arise. Such obligations may include laws of incorporation, fundraising legislation, equal employment opportunity principles, health and safety standards, privacy rules, trademark and copyright legislation, etc.
  • Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center promises to take prompt corrective action whenever wrongdoing is discovered among its staff, governing body, volunteers, contractors, and partners.

NGO INTEGRITY

1. Fundamental to the very character of each NGO is that it be not-for-profit, nongovernmental, organized, independent, self-governing, and voluntary. While these general criteria may appear self-evident, they remain basic for the integrity and conduct of Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center.

2. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center is organized and operated as a not-for-profit organization. Any surplus that is generated through its operations is utilized solely to help the organization fulfill its mission and objectives. No part of the net earnings of the NGO is to inure to the benefit of the directors, officers, members, or employees of the organization, or to any other private persons, except that the NGO may provide reasonable compensation for services provided to the organization.

3. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center is not to be operated for the primary purpose of carrying on a trade or business, unrelated to its mission and stated objectives.

4. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center’s governing instrument shall prevent the organization from distributing profits or assets for the benefit of individuals both during operation and when winding up.

5. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center is not part of, or controlled by, government or an intergovernmental agency, and will never agree to partnerships which would challenge this status. Any partnerships or consortia with government bodies will be clearly defined for specific projects with conditions that ensure our autonomy.

6. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center shall maintain independence and not be rigidly aligned or affiliated with any political party, although it may share a common political or legislative cause within the limit of its mission, stated objectives, and legal structure. However, Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center will only engage in political and legislative activity within the limit of its mission and stated objectives.

7. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center shall not act as an instrument of government foreign policy, but act independently of governments, and shall not seek to implement the policy of any government unless it coincides with the mission of the organization and the organization’s own independent policy.

8. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center has an organizing document, an executive board, officers, and regular meetings and activities. The organizing documents clearly define the mission, objectives, governance structure, membership rights and obligations, and rules of procedure. These organizing principles apply whether or not they are legally recognized by any government.

9. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center was formed by private initiative, resulting from the voluntary actions of individuals who have chosen to pursue a shared interest or concern. The retaining of voluntary values and principles shall remain a primary force in the way of working. In order to achieve its mission and objectives, SNIC appreciates meaningful contributions from its community volunteers. This includes our governing body, which serves in a voluntary capacity, for no pay.

MISSION & ACTIVITIES

Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center has an obligation to utilize its resources in an effective and efficient manner toward the accomplishment of its stated purpose. Our mission and goals are made publicly available, are clearly understood by all our board members and staff, and are periodically reviewed and updated.

Our activities shall be consistent with the organization’s mission and our focus shall be directed toward making sure that its goals are met. Our programs and projects shall effectively and efficiently work toward achieving its stated mission.  SNIC will carry out its activities with professionalism and centered on the concept of serving others.

Our activities are evaluated on these bases: (1) whether the activities are consistent with the current mission of the organization or whether they need to be revised or discontinued in light of changes in the mission; (2) the efficiency and effectiveness of the programs in achieving the SNIC’s objectives; (3) the outcomes for the program beneficiaries; (4) the cost of the program relative to its outcomes; and (5) whether new services should be offered. We pledge that our evaluations shall be open and honest and include input from stakeholders.

Public trust

Trust is essential for the success of Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center.  To develop and maintain public trust, SNIC will exhibit genuine public accountability and transparency, and honesty in the information that it makes available to the public.

Public Information

Trust is essential for the success of Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center.  To develop and maintain public trust, SNIC will exhibit genuine public accountability and transparency, and honesty in the information that it makes available to the public.

SNIC will:

1. make available the names of its governing body and management staff, publicize any changes in its governing board, and provide access to appropriate minutes of meetings of its governing board.

2. make available, in a timely and accurate manner, information on any partnerships or other joint ventures into which it has entered.

3. maintain the confidentiality of personal information on staff, clients, and others, unless the individuals waive this right, or disclosure is required by law.

4. describe itself in terms of its own merits, not in depreciation of other organizations.

5. Communications regarding another NGO shall not be made with the purpose of creating a self-benefit at the expense of the other.

6. provide a communication channel for the public should they wish to make inquiries regarding the NGO and its activities.

7. assign at least one person to assure that the organization is complying with national and local laws regarding disclosure of information to the public.

Public Advocacy

SNIC will ensure that the information that it chooses to disseminate to the media, policy makers or the public must be accurate and presented with proper context. This includes information presented with respect to any legislation, policy, individual, organization, or project it opposes, supports, or is discussing. Forward-looking projections will be presented clearly as such, and not as fact.  We shall present information in a fair and unbiased manner. Where a possible bias is unavoidable or inherent, it will be disclosed.

FINANCIAL & LEGAL

NGOs should have proper financial and legal procedures and safeguards in place, not only to stay within the law, but also as a measure of the organization’s health and to assure donors, members, and the general public that investments in the organization are safe and being correctly used.  To achieve transparency and accountability, Spoonbill Next Innovation Center acknowledges the following: 

1. Members of the governing body hold ultimate fiscal responsibility for their organization and are to understand the organization’s financial statements and reporting requirements.

2. SNIC’s annual budget is to be approved by the governing body and is to outline projected expenses for program activities, fundraising, and administration. The NGO is to operate in accordance with that budget.

3. Internal financial statements shall be prepared regularly and provided to the governing body. Any and all significant variations between budgeted expenses and actual expenditures, and between budgeted revenues and actual revenues, are to be identified and explained to the governing body.

4. SNIC shall have established financial policies, suitable for the size of the organization, regarding the receiving and disbursement of financial resources, investment of assets, purchasing practices, and internal control procedures.

5. SNIC shall adhere to professional standards of accountancy and audit procedures as stipulated by the law in Albania, and fulfill all financial and reporting requirements.

6. SNIC’s activities, governance, and other matters shall conform to the laws and regulations of Albania and the nations in which consortia partners operate.

FUNDRAISING

NGOs should have proper financial and legal procedures and safeguards in place, not only to stay within the law, but also as a measure of the organization’s health and to assure donors, members, and the general public that investments in the organization are safe and being correctly used.  To achieve transparency and accountability, Spoonbill Next Innovation Center acknowledges the following: 

1. As a recipient of donations it is important that Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center be open and transparent, be accountable to our donor, use funds responsibly and according to the intent of the donor, and allow the funding individuals and organizations to be able to have insight into our projects at all times.

2. SNIC shall only accept funding that is consistent with its mission, does not compromise its core principles, and does not restrict its ability to address relevant issues freely, thoroughly, and objectively.

3. SNIC will be truthful in all matters relating to the raising of funds and their use.

4. Programs and projects shall be designed to meet the mission of Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center, and not designed simply to meet the needs of a funding source. Program design can be modified to accomplish both goals, where mutual interest exists, but not at the expense of the mission of SNIC.

5. SNIC will not tolerate any unethical activities such as double funding for one project, diversion of dedicated funds to uses other than the project for which funds were approved, or overstatement of achievements.

6. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center shall be careful to ensure that all solicitation and promotional materials are accurate and that they clearly and truthfully present our organization, our mission, and our programs. All solicitations are to correctly reflect our planned use of the solicited funds, and fundraising solicitations shall only make claims that SNIC can fulfill. There shall not be any exaggerations of fact or material omissions.

7. All fundraising shall be for the purpose of our mission, and free of coercion, improper motive, inappropriate conduct, unreasonable reward, or personal inurement. When funding for a particular purpose is invited from the public, excess funds will be used for other SNIC projects that achieve the same mission.

8. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center shall ensure that contributions are used as promised or implied in fundraising appeals or for the purposes intended by the donors. When SNIC accepts a grant, it is entering into a contract to carry out the program activities in an agreed-upon manner and has an ethical and legal responsibility to honor that commitment.

9. SNIC may alter the conditions of a gift or grant only by obtaining explicit consent by the donor and shall ensure efficient and effective use of grants and charitable contributions.

10. SNIC will accurately track expenditures and produce timely reports on the use and management of funds. Financial statements regarding donations shall be available upon request by the donor and interested parties.

11. The directors, management, staff, and volunteers of SNIC shall not exploit any relationship with a donor or prospective donor for personal benefit or the benefit of any relative, friend, associate, or colleague.

12. Privileged or confidential information regarding the donor or donation will not be disclosed to unauthorized parties. A donor’s privacy shall be respected and safeguarded of any confidential information regarding the donor or the gift.  Donors have the opportunity to remain anonymous, and to not have their names added to any lists that are distributed unless the donor has had an opportunity to approve such lists or have their names removed.

13. SNIC will not use excessive pressure, coercion, undue influence, or other unethical means of solicitation.

PARTNERSHIPS, COLLABORATION & NETWORKING

When appropriate, NGOs may find that cooperation with other civil society organizations, government, and intergovernmental agencies, and for-profit corporations may be beneficial in advancing their mission-related objectives.  However, an NGO should enter into such a relationship only if it is consistent with its mission.

1. General Principles of Partnerships and Collaboration

2. SNIC shall collaborate with other entities only if the relationship is consistent with our mission, and shall collaborate on the basis of shared values, common ground, and for the good of society.

3. SNIC will collaborate based on equitable and genuine mutual benefit to each organization. Collaborations shall allow financial transparency and a two-way (or multilateral) flow of information, ideas, and experiences.  Collaborations are to be adaptive to change. Changes in the relationship are to be developed through cooperation and not forced by one or the other organization.

4. When appropriate, SNIC will partner with other NGOs with overlapping missions, values, and target groups, as well as with civil society organizations, when it would be beneficial for the common target groups and for the achievement of common objectives. SNIC follows the principle that NGOs should refrain from competing with each other and with other civil society organizations, and should refrain from unnecessary duplication of services and disruption of each other’s projects. NGOs should mutually support each other.

5. Spoonbill Nest Innovation Center shall network with other ethical NGOs as a means for promoting the growth, effectiveness, and efficiency of the NGO sector and the ability to advance the public good.

6. Relations with Government Agencies and Intergovernmental Bodies

7. SNIC shall enter into a partnership agreement with a government or intergovernmental body only when it is beneficial to the achievement of the NGO’s objectives and does not compromise the independence or self-control of the organization.

8. SNIC shall seek to dialogue and cooperate with government and intergovernmental agencies when such cooperation would be both appropriate and mutually beneficial and could increase the NGO’s effectiveness in dealing with issues and priorities in its agenda.

9. SNIC shall not enter into a partnership with a governmental or intergovernmental body solely to promote the sustainability or competitive advantage of the NGO, independent of achieving its mission objectives. SNIC will not change its policies or non-partisan nature to curry political favor.

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