Doing Good Better
Choices and Paradigms in the Social Ecosystem

Section 2: Dilemmas

Chapter 2: To do or not to do?

Ethics are integral to the social sector. Ethical thinking can be most effectively illustrated and developed through the framing of dilemmas. This section discusses dilemmas in the following areas: donations, disclosures, medical treatments, organisational growth, board governance, term limits, poison pen letters, and nonprofit compensation.

Chapter 2A: The colour of money
Should nonprofits accept funding from dubious sources? The consequences can be more far-reaching than initially thought at the time the money was offered and taken.

Chapter 2B: The rights and wrongs of naming institutions
Selling naming rights to events or facilities should be done only after careful consideration of the possible ramifications.

Chapter 2C: The power of disclosure
Disclosures after the fact can shame and penalise the guilty. As such, mandating disclosures can encourage the right actions and behaviour.

Chapter 2D: Dissecting medical dilemmas
Ethical dilemmas in medicine are likely to be resolved based on an individual’s value system, rather than an impartial review of the pros and cons of the situation.

Chapter 2E: Scaling up for extinction
Nonprofits should seek extinction, not growth. Recent emphases on social impact assessment will help push NPOs to rightly focus on their missions and collaborate with others in the sector.

Chapter 2F: Ownself check ownself
As the apex body of the organisation, boards must be diligent in checking themselves and not be overcome by self-interest. The regulators will also be watching to ensure that this is the case.

Chapter 2G: How relevant are term limits?
It can be tough for leaders to let go. Implementing term limits can help ensure the necessary leadership renewal and ease the transition process.

Chapter 2H: Guarding the changing of the guard
While the tumultuous changing and changing back of the guards at AWARE in 2009 had alarmed NPOs, they should focus on being relevant and engaging their members rather than tweak their constitutions to prevent a coup.

Chapter 2I: Pay “market” salaries
Should charity workers be paid market salaries? Yes, they should. But what constitutes “market” for the noble (charity, religious and public) sectors would depend upon the balance of heart and head factors in those sectors.

Chapter 2J: Responding to anonymous whistleblowers
The identity of the person making allegations should not be the primary reason for the decision to investigate or not investigate a complaint.