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What’s ethics got to do with this? Ethics and Decision Making in Volunteer Engagement

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What’s ethics got to do with this? Ethics and Decision Making in Volunteer Engagement

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As leaders of volunteer engagement we’re often asked to make difficult decisions. How do we know if the decisions we’re making are the right ones? When you’re in this type of dilemma how do you intervene or lead? In this highly interactive workshop we’ll explore how ethics guide the work we do leading and engaging volunteers, and we’ll practice using ethical decision making. Attendees will leave with a worksheet to help introduce and use ethical decision making in their organization.

As leaders of volunteer engagement we’re often asked to make difficult decisions. How do we know if the decisions we’re making are the right ones? When you’re in this type of dilemma how do you intervene or lead? In this highly interactive workshop we’ll explore how ethics guide the work we do leading and engaging volunteers, and we’ll practice using ethical decision making. Attendees will leave with a worksheet to help introduce and use ethical decision making in their organization.

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What’s ethics got to do with this? Ethics and Decision Making in Volunteer Engagement

  1. 1. What’s Ethics Got to do with This?
  2. 2. Welcome!
  3. 3. How often do you think about the role of ethics in your work with volunteers? 2
  4. 4. 3 Let’s create a safe space for an honest conversation. • Respectful interactions • Confidentiality outside this room • Listen and connect • Nurture innovation and creativity • What else?
  5. 5. 4 We all carry around an ethics backpack
  6. 6. Ethics are: Morals – personal identification of right and wrong Beliefs – an idea held to be true Values – guide decision-making and prioritization Principles – a standard or code for decision-making Culture – goals, values, and beliefs for an organization
  7. 7. How do you know if you’re in an ethical dilemma? 6
  8. 8. What types of ethical dilemmas have you faced in your work with volunteers? 7
  9. 9. CCVA Ethical Core Values and Principles Citizenship Respect AccountabilityFairness Trust 8
  10. 10. 9 Citizenship Volunteerism is a foundation of civil societies and guides the organization and its stakeholders toward active community participation. • Philosophy of Volunteerism • Social Responsibility • Philanthropy Professional Ethics in Volunteer Administration, CCVA 2016
  11. 11. 10 Respect Acknowledges the inherent value, skills and abilities of all individuals and affirms the mutual benefit gained by the volunteer and the organization. • Dignity • Inclusivity • Privacy Professional Ethics in Volunteer Administration, CCVA 2016
  12. 12. 11 Accounta- bility Demonstrates responsibility to the organization, its stakeholders and the profession of volunteer administration. • Collaboration • Continuous Improvement • Professionalism Professional Ethics in Volunteer Administration, CCVA 2016
  13. 13. 12 Fairness Commits to individual and collective efforts that build and support a fair and just organizational culture. • Impartiality • Equity • Justice Professional Ethics in Volunteer Administration, CCVA 2016
  14. 14. 13 Trust Maintains loyal and trusting relationships with all stakeholders and is dedicated to providing a safe environment based on established standards of practice. • Honesty • Integrity • Commitment Professional Ethics in Volunteer Administration, CCVA 2016
  15. 15. Why should we talk about ethics? 14
  16. 16. What are our choices if we find ourselves in an ethical dilemma? 15
  17. 17. Ethical Decision-Making Facts Ethical Issues Options Decide & Test Act!
  18. 18. Testing Your Decision Consequence Legal Image Culture KnotCouncil for Certification in Volunteer Administration, November 2016
  19. 19. When have you faced an ethical dilemma? How could ethical decision making help? 18
  20. 20. Steps for Ethical Decision-Making 1. Gather more information. What do you need to know? What led to this situation? 2. Determine where the ethical dilemma lies – which two or more core values are in conflict. 3. Review and explore the options available. 4. Make a decision and test it. Does this feel like the right solution? If this decision was public knowledge would it represent your organization’s, or your, ethical principles? 5. Act! Once a decision has been made and tested don’t continue to review it. Act with confidence and professionalism.
  21. 21. How can you use your ethical backpack, your organization’s, the field’s to make decisions? 20
  22. 22. Talk about it • Start a conversation about your organization’s culture – goals, values, and beliefs – of volunteer engagement • Open, honest, and transparent communications around decision making • Share ‘what if’ stories with your organization • Leadership, leaders/managers of volunteers, paid and volunteer staff • Address where the organization may be exposed to risk 21
  23. 23. Resources Independent Sector (sample codes) www.independentsector.org Professional Ethics in Volunteer Administration www.cvacert.org/resources-and-media/professional-ethics/ How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living, by Rushworth M. Kidder Josephson Institute of Ethics www.josephsoninstitute.org 22
  24. 24. Thank You! Jennifer Bennett, CVA VolunteerMatch jbennett@volunteermatch.org Michele Matter Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration execdir@cvacert.org
  25. 25. Ethical Decision-Making for Volunteer Engagement An ethical decision is not just a hard decision, or a decision where one party or stakeholder will fail to get what they want, and ethical decision is one in which two or more core values are in opposition – where an obvious right answer, no matter how difficult, isn’t available. When facing an ethical dilemma you want to consider the Core Values of Volunteer Engagement, your own personal morals and beliefs, and those of your organization. Think about where your ethics, your organization’s ethics, and the field of volunteer engagement’s ethics overlap? Where do these ethics align? Where are there differences? Does your organization have a written code of ethics or stated values and beliefs around volunteer engagement? If you don’t have a written statement or code can you identify or clarify your organization’s culture around volunteer engagement through observed priorities? Are these in line with your ethics and the Core Values of Volunteer Engagement? Using Ethical Decision-Making Use this process to discuss an ethical dilemma and determine the best path forward. Remember in an ethical dilemma there may not be a clear right answer or solution. 1. Gather more information. What do you need to know about the situation and the stakeholders? What led to this situation? 2. Determine where the ethical dilemma lies – which two or more core values are in conflict. What about this issue makes it an ethical dilemma? 3. Review and explore the options available. 4. Make a decision and test it. Does this feel like the right solution? If this decision was public knowledge would it represent your organization’s, or your, ethical principles? 5. Act! Once a decision has been made and tested don’t continue to review it. Act with confidence and professionalism. Discuss Ethics in Your Organization Does your organization have a stated code of ethics, or written values or beliefs? If you don’t, are these topics discussed informally or during strategic planning activities? If you’re starting from scratch can you identify where values and beliefs are used to support volunteer engagement? Limit the work of volunteers? Begin informal conversations with stakeholders and leaders about the importance of ethical decision-making and its role in risk management. Use scenarios or likely situations to explore and model ethical dilemmas with paid staff and volunteers. Find others in your organization who can help you explore and determine the best course of action when you’re faced with an ethical dilemma.

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