A Path Forward for Advancing Nonprofit Ethics and Accountability: Voices from an Independent Sector Study


  • Karen Ito
  • Lise Anne Slatten University of Louisiana at Lafayette




Nonprofit Accountability, Nonprofit Ethics, Nonprofit Governance, NPO Regulations, Independent Sector


The nonprofit sector continues to grow in size, assets, and influence. However, a critical eye in recent years has brought scrutiny from many stakeholders to the operations of nonprofit organizations (NPOs). Accountability, transparency, and ethical behavior are now part of the everyday language of NPO leaders, staff, volunteers, donors, and board members. This study synthesizes research on a specific set of guidelines developed by Independent Sector and provides a substantive review of key concepts and developments related to nonprofit ethics and accountability. The results should prove useful for NPO staff, stakeholders, regulators, the media, and others interested in improved governance.

Author Biographies

Karen Ito

Karen Ito is a senior consultant at Karen Ito Consulting, LLC. She has an extensive background in nonprofit governance and management, with over 30 years of experience in the sector. This includes accreditation, fundraising, and governance work at multiple charitable organizations in both staff and consultant roles. She holds an MPA from the University of Colorado, Denver and an MS in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. Her research interests are focused on nonprofit ethics and accountability and includes work with Independent Sector. Karen has worked with nonprofit organizations in the areas of healthcare, reproductive rights, animal welfare, environmental advocacy, community corrections, and services for those with developmental disabilities. Her areas of expertise include effective governance, nonprofit administration, accreditation, merger facilitation, resource development and strategic planning.

Lise Anne Slatten, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Lise Anne D. Slatten is an Associate Professor of Management at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her teaching includes classes in management fundamentals, strategic management, and nonprofit management. Slatten earned her MBA from Tulane University and a Doctorate of Management degree from Case Western Reserve University. Prior to teaching, Dr. Slatten spent 20 years working in the nonprofit sector. She spent the last 10 years of which were as the executive director of a grantmaking nonprofit organization. She is also a nonprofit governance consultant with more than fifteen years of experience. Her consulting work has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropies Initiative.






Current Issues In Practice