Bluffton Self Help
Code of Ethics

...a demonstration of our commitment to high ethical standards.

This Code of Ethics recognizes that an organization is defined by the people who work for it, and that those people, the board members, executive leaders, staff, and volunteers must demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, openness, respect, and responsibility.

Our code of ethics is a part of a larger, organization-wide commitment to ethical practices. Our values must be supported by policies and procedures that staff and board follow, and several of these policies are posted on our website.

BSH also recognizes the importance of an organizational culture that supports high ethical standards, and we encourage such an atmosphere by fostering discussion on ethical issues, promoting transparency about our work, and setting the proper “tone at the top”.

Bluffton Self Help’s Statement of Values and Code of Ethics was adapted from the model code of ethics for nonprofit organizations drafted by a special task force of BSH and distributed to board members for review on April 6, 2012. This  was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors on April 10, 2012,

I. Personal and Professional Integrity

All staff, board members and volunteers of Bluffton Self Help act with honesty, integrity and openness whenever they represent the organization. Bluffton Self Help promotes a working environment that values respect, confidentiality, fairness and integrity.

II. Mission

“Founded in 1988 to help Bluffton neighbors in critical need of short-term financial assistance,
food and clothing, while supporting them to become more self-reliant.”

Bluffton Self Help has a clearly stated mission and purpose, approved by the board of directors, in pursuit of the public good. All of its programs support that mission and all who work for or on behalf of Bluffton Self Help understand and are loyal to that mission and purpose. The mission is responsive to the constituency and communities served by Bluffton Self Help and of value to the society at large.

III. Governance

Bluffton Self Help has a board of directors that is responsible for setting the mission and strategic direction of the organization and for oversight of the finances, operations, and policies of Bluffton Self Help. The board:

  • Ensures that its members have the requisite skills and experience to carry out
    their duties, that all members understand and fulfill their governance duties by acting for the benefit of Bluffton Self Help and its public purpose, and that all members have specified terms of service;
  • Has a conflict of interest policy that ensures that any conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof are avoided or appropriately managed through disclosure, recusal or other means;
  • Is responsible for the hiring, terminating, and regular review of the performance of the chief executive officer, and ensures that the compensation of the chief executive officer is reasonable and appropriate;
  • Ensures that the CEO and appropriate staff provide the board with timely and comprehensive information so that the board can effectively carry out its duties;
  • Ensures that Bluffton Self Help conducts all transactions and dealings with integrity and honesty;
  • Ensures that Bluffton Self Help promotes working relationships with board members, staff, volunteers, members, and other stakeholders that are based on mutual respect, fairness and openness;
  • Ensures that Bluffton Self Help is fair and inclusive in its hiring and promotion policies and practices for board, staff and volunteer positions;
    Ensures that policies of Bluffton Self Help are in writing, clearly articulated and officially adopted;
  • Ensures that the resources of Bluffton Self Help are responsibly and prudently managed; and
  • Ensures that Bluffton Self Help has the capacity to carry out its programs effectively.
IV. Legal Compliance

Bluffton Self Help is knowledgeable of and complies with all U.S. laws, regulations and applicable State of South Carolina and Beaufort County laws and regulations.

V. Responsible Stewardship

Bluffton Self Help manages its funds responsibly and prudently. Bluffton Self Help:

  • Spends at least 75 percentage of its annual budget on programs in pursuance of its mission; Spends an adequate amount on administrative expenses to ensure effective accounting systems, internal controls, competent staff, and other expenditures critical to professional management;
  • Compensates staff, and any others who may receive compensation, reasonably and appropriately;
  • Has reasonable fundraising costs, recognizing the variety of factors that affect fundraising costs;
  • Does not accumulate operating funds excessively;
  • Prudently draws from reserve funds consistent with donor intent and to support the public purpose of the organization;
  • Ensures that all spending practices and policies are fair, reasonable and appropriate to fulfill the mission of the organization; and
  • Ensures that all financial reports are factually accurate and complete in all material respects.
VI. Openness and Disclosure

Bluffton Self Help provides comprehensive and timely information to the public, the media, and all stakeholders and is responsive in a timely manner to reasonable requests for information. All information about Bluffton Self Help fully and honestly reflects its policies and practices. Basic informational data about Bluffton Self Help, such as the Form 990 and audited financial statements are posted on Bluffton Self Help’s website or otherwise available to the public. All solicitation materials accurately represent Bluffton Self Help’s policies, practices, and programs. All financial, organizational, and program reports are complete and accurate in all material respects.

VII. Program Evaluation

Bluffton Self Help regularly reviews program effectiveness and has mechanisms to incorporate lessons learned into future programs. Bluffton Self Help is committed to improving program and organizational effectiveness and developing mechanisms to promote learning from its activities and the field. Bluffton Self Help is responsive to changes in its field of activity and is responsive to the needs of its constituencies.

VIII. Inclusiveness and Diversity

Bluffton Self Help is committed to inclusiveness and diversity in its staff, board and volunteers. Bluffton Self Help takes meaningful steps to promote inclusiveness in its hiring, retention, promotion, board recruitment and constituencies served.

IX. Fundraising

When raising funds, Bluffton Self Help is truthful in its solicitation materials. Bluffton Self Help respects the privacy concerns of individual donors, expends funds consistent with donor intent, and discloses important and relevant information to potential donors. In raising funds from the public, Bluffton Self Help respects the rights of donors:

  1. To be informed of the mission of Bluffton Self Help the way the resources will be used and its capacity to use donations effectively for its intended purposes;
  2. To be informed of the identity of those serving on Bluffton Self Help’s board of directors and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities;
  3. To have access to Bluffton Self Help’s most recent audited financial report;
  4. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given;
  5. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition;
  6. To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by the law;
  7. To expect professional and respectful conduct from Bluffton Self Help’s staff;
  8. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organizations or hired solicitors;
  9. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that Bluffton Self Help may intend to share; and
  10. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

Note: These ten points are adapted from A Donor Bill of Rights, developed by the American Association of Fund Raising Counsel, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and endorsed by Bluffton Self Help.

Tray Hunter
President, BSH Board of Directors