Non-Profit Organizations’ Ten Guiding Principles

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Literature shows that in the recent past non-profit organizations have been scrutinized by the public. To that effect scholars, such as Florence Green, conducted researches and have come up with ten guiding principles that non-profit organizations should adopt in the current century. This paper critically analyzes each of the ten principles. I will also reflect on the United Methodist Church as a non-profit organization where I have been serving for 10 years by critiquing how it is using the ten recommendations.

Becoming a learning organization

Learning makes an organization succeed and flourish. Thus, there is a need for non-profit organizations to ensure that people are allowed to expand their knowledge and thinking capacity in order to come to desirable outcomes (Riggio & Orr, 2004). Additionally, they need to nurture and expand the ways employees think, in addition, the employees should be allowed to learn together. While working for United Methodist Church, employees are encouraged to expand their capabilities. There are some people who have been sponsored to pursue higher levels of education. The church has an education and training program in place where workers are taught new things.

Become a Transformational Leader

The type of leadership exhibited by an organization dictates its success. An organization that encourages parceling out projects, engages people, empowers employees, gives guidance and assistance whenever they are deemed necessary, shares core values, encourages innovation and creativity, as well as motivates followers use transformational leadership. When working for the United Methodist Church, I have seen them tremendously transform from a centralized management system to a more democratic system which can be described as transformational. Initially, the organization was autocratic, decisions were made by a few and there was little engagement.

Form Strategic Alliances

Organizations can form a strategic alliance with various stakeholders. Through the strategic alliance, an organization can not only improve its competitive advantage and positioning but also provide services to areas that could not be otherwise reached, supplement critical skills, as well as share risks and costs. United Methodists church has mastered this concept. It has managed to work together with institutions of higher learning, the government of Malaysia among others. The church has formed a strategic alliance with the local government to ensure that during disasters, the affected communities are assisted within the shortest time.

Give Accountability and Ethical Behavior top priority

There have been concerns regarding accountability, transparency and ethical behavior in charitable organizations, including churches. The perception held by the public about a given organization is dictated by how accountable and ethical its members are. Since Non-profit organizations heavily depend on grants and donations among others, there is a need for them to show a high degree of accountability, transparency, as well as ethical behavior since they are looked upon to offer guidance to the general public (Daft, 2008). While working for United Methodist Church, there have been efforts to revise its code of ethics.

All employees and partners of the church are compelled to adopt a code of ethics, conflict-of-interest, confidentiality, whistle blower’s protection, record retention, as well as document destruction and nepotism policies (Buklin, 2000). However, there is a need for the organization to adopt the international finance reporting standards so that it can be at par with the international standards of financial reporting.

Develop Indicators that measure the consequences on the community

The ability of an organization to come up with suitable and measurable indicators to measure the consequences of an action to a community is paramount in ensuring that the organization satisfies the needs and aspirations of a given community (Riggio & Orr, 2004). For instance, since the church deals with people who suffer from natural disasters, it has managed to come up with a checklist where after providing the victims with aid, they carry out a survey to check who is missing what, and the same is provided within the shortest time possible.

Adopting results-based budget linked to indicators

This is a new management approach that is aimed at attaining results by changing the manner of the organization’s operation (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin & Cardy, 2005). It entails developing program budgets that are propelled by a set of desired outcomes articulated at the beginning of budget creation, and against which actual performance will be measured. United Methodist Church has realized that there is a link between how it spends money and the results obtained. To that effect, it has put measures in place to examine if the initial objectives of a given project were fully attained. If not, the stumbling blocks are noted and improvements are made.

Financially empower the organization so that it can do more missions over time

Charity organizations, as well as churches, cannot successfully accomplish their tasks if they are not financially empowered. Organizations that are financially empowered ought to have more revenue than expenses in 7 out of 10 years, a cash operating reserve of at least 3 months and at least one non-traditional source of revenue, for instance, a business (Lake, 2011). The church currently has various sources that can generate income. The money generated is later used to continue with various missions such as building schools, caring for the old, and providing services and goods to victims of natural disasters.

Creatively rethink resource development, governance, and management styles

The manner with which a firm rethinks the ways to develop its resources, governance, as well as management styles makes it possible for the firm to adopt to changes. While working with the church, the management has restructured the way resources are developed in several occasions. For instance, there were no education and training programs, but over time, the church realized the importance of having in place individuals who continuously grow. Similarly, the firm has changed the management style to one where there is democracy and decentralization of decision-making.

Adopt a vision and a mission that incorporate Diversity

There is no doubt that with technological development, the concept of globalization has turned the world into a small village where at one given time occur higher chances that one will work with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Since the general public will judge an organization based on how they deal with a diverse workforce, it is a must for non-profit organizations to be in the forefront to show tolerance and encourage people from different cultural backgrounds to work together.

Diversity, if properly managed, brings a lot of advantages, such as superior and different ways of solving problems, understanding different cultures among others. There is no doubt that the United Methodist Church is well ahead of its time in embracing a diverse workforce. Every culture is integrated slowly and their views are highly respected (Allison & Kaye, 2005).

Be at the table

Since non-profit organizations are accountable to various stakeholders, there is a need for them as a sector to develop a strong voice to represent the various interests to government, funders and other stakeholders (Lake, 2011). United Methodist church usually comes with issues to articulate to the relevant authorities. In most cases, the church has managed to do this due to its ability to incorporate the views of its core members.


From the review of the ten guidelines that non-profit organizations should adopt, it is evident that United Methodist church an organization I have been working for have tried a lot in ensuring that it is at par with them. The ten guiding principles include becoming a learning organization, becoming a transformational leader, forming a strategic alliance, giving accountability and ethical behavior top priority, developing indicators that measure the consequences on the community, adopting result-based budgeting tied to indicators, financially empowering the organizations so that it can do more mission over time, creatively rethinking resource development, governance and management style, adopting a vision and mission that incorporate diversity and being at the table.


Allison, M. & Kaye, J. (2005). Strategic planning for nonprofit organizations: A practical guide and workbook. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Buklin, S. (2000). The complete guide to nonprofit management. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Daft, R. (2008). Management. Mason, OH: South-Western.

Gomez-Mejia, L., Balkin, D. & Cardy, R. (2005). Management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Lake, A. (2011). Strategic Planning in Non Profits: An analysis and Case Study. Web.

Riggio, R. & Orr, S. (2004). Improving leadership in non-profit organizations. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

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