Code of ethics of Estonian nonprofit organizations

Adopted on April 7, 2002 at the General Assembly of the Roundtable of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations in Tartu.

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Nonprofit organizations value integrity, equality, dignity, openness, solidarity, collaboration, diversity and reliability and they act on the basis of these values. Their cooperation is based on benevolent partnership, mutual respect and recognition. It is the duty of nonprofit organizations to contribute to the development of a safe, balanced and caring society. In so doing the nonprofit organisations are guided in their day-today activities by the Republic of Estonia legislation. The Code of Ethics provides the principles for actions of nonprofit society organizations, which increase the reliability of the organizations and the non-profit sector in the society.


Democratic governance

1. A nonprofit organization has a clear and understandable mission. In carrying out its mission a nonprofit organization is guided by its statutes, internal documents and operating standards.

2. A nonprofit organization expresses and represents a diversity of interests and needs of people. A nonprofit organization engages people in the development of civil society through civic education, participatory democracy, advocacy and other forms.

3. A nonprofit organization as a voluntary association of the members of the society values its members, ensures democratic governance of the organization, holds the governing bodies and employees of the organization responsible and reacts to their misconduct.

4. A nonprofit organization considers involvement of people and voluntary work as a foundation for civil society, values citizens and their voluntary work.

5. A nonprofit organization consistently pursues skilled actions, professionalism and perfection in order to achieve better results in its work.

6. Getting funds for its activities mainly from supporters and donors, a nonprofit organization uses the funds efficiently and in accordance with designated purposes.

Civic courage and care

7. A nonprofit organization demonstrates civic courage in fighting against social injustice.

8. When discovering incompetence and disregard for the principles of social justice in legislation, a nonprofit organization works to amend such legislation.

9. A nonprofit organization does not use or advocate the use of violence to express its opinions, achieve its goals or gain the attention of the public.

Sustainability and prudence in using funds and resources

10. In seeking to achieve its goals a nonprofit organization uses natural, human and intellectual resources, as well as material and financial assets with sustainability and prudence, considering the needs of both present and future generations.

11. A nonprofit organization in its capacity as both applicant and donor, complies with generally accepted funding principles, uses only justified and transparent budgets and avoids duplication in funding.

Responsibility and accountability

12. A nonprofit organization is accountable its activities and is responsible to the founders, members, stakeholders, supporters, donors and the general public.

13. A nonprofit organization considers important readiness to account for its activities, achieved through professional management, internal accountability and pursuing generally accepted accounting principles.

14. A nonprofit organization discloses a report of its activities and finances at least once a year.

Openness and transparency

15. Information regarding the mission, membership, activities and funding of a nonprofit organization are public and understandable, its activities transparent.

16. A nonprofit organization communicates in an open and direct manner with all parties concerned and does not act anonymously.

17. A nonprofit organization is open to new and diversified ideas and opinions, as well as cooperation in achieving common goals.

Independence and avoiding conflicts of interest

18. A nonprofit organization is independent in setting its goals, decisions and activities and refrains from being controlled by political parties, public institutions or companies, resulting in losing its independence, autonomy and ability to act for the public benefit.

19. A nonprofit organization and persons involved therein prevent from entering in the conflict of interest. In the event of a conflict of interest the necessary measures to eliminate such conflict of interest must be applied.

Honouring commitments and recognition of authorship of ideas

20. A nonprofit organization honours all written contracts and oral agreements.

21. A nonprofit organization honours the authorship and ownership of ideas and projects of other organizations.


22. A nonprofit organization recognizes the diversity of ways of thought, organizations and their goals.

23. In protecting its opinions and discussing those of other organizations a nonprofit organization does not disparage or slander other organizations, their opinions or persons operating therein.