Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Advancing Nonprofit Stewardship Through Self-Regulation: Translating Principles into Practice

Christopher Corbett, with a foreword by David Horton Smith
Advancing Nonprofit Stewardship Through Self-Regulation: Translating Principles into Practice
ISBN: 978-1-56549-408-4
2011/93 pages/LC: 2011001863
A Kumarian Press Book

"A useful reference tool for nonprofit managers, board members, and researchers alike."—Heather Carpenter, Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership

"This small book is destined to become the ‘bible’ of nonprofit managers, boards, and students. Corbett makes the case for nonprofit self-regulation feasible and accessible. Using 33 principles of self-regulation proposed by the Independent Sector, Corbett elicits them, demonstrates how to apply them, and shows their interconnections. This is a major contribution to the fields of ethics and nonprofit management."—Ram A. Cnaan, University of Pennsylvania, and former president of ARNOVA

"Chris Corbett provides a highly useful guide for people new to serving on nonprofit boards, as well as for those with many years of experience. He brings key principles to life with tangible suggestions for how they can be incorporated into an organization’s by-laws."—James R. Cook, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and President-Elect, Society for community Research and Action, Division 27,American Psychological Association

"Chris Corbett makes an important contribution in this book by showing how nonprofits can effectively implement widely accepted good practices for accountability, governance, and management."—Dennis R. Young, Georgia State University, and founding editor of Nonprofit Management and Leadership


In 2004, Independent Sector, the major trade organization for US nonprofits, convened a panel to recommend actions to strengthen nonprofit governance and ethical standards. The panel's report, some three years in the making, highlighted 33 principles that it recommended nonprofits adopt. The report was overwhelmingly welcomed by the nonprofit sector, but the task of translating principles into practice remains a challenge.

In Advancing Nonprofit Stewardship Through Self-Regulation, Christopher Corbett points the way forward for nonprofits by identifying specific strategies for implementing Independent Sector's principles. Corbett shows how organizations can navigate demands for increased accountability and transparency within a setting of integrity and trust. His book  is essential reading not only for the leaders of US nonprofits, but also for those in NGOs facing similar challenges around the world.


Christopher Corbett conducts research and consults on issues related to the nonprofit sector.


  • Foreword—David Horton Smith.
  • Introduction.
  • Thirty-three Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice.
  • Principles for Legal Compliance and Public Disclosure.
  • Principles for Effective Governance.
  • Principles for Strong Financial Oversight.
  • Principles for Responsible Fundraising.
  • Putting Principles into Action.
  • Accountability and Enforcement.
  • Options for Boards.
  • Conclusion.