For nearly 30 years, we did not find it necessary to put in our brochures and other materials a statement of our professional ethics. We do not operate any differently today, but these are different times. Nonprofits are expected to be transparent and accountable. Increasingly, boards have conflict of interest policies, non-board members on their audit committees, "industry standard" reviews of executive compensation, and other governance standards and procedures.
We help clients to meet these standards. You have a right to know ours.
There are many ways to serve the public interest. Most of us made life choices early in our careers to express our values and goals by working in the nonprofit sector. We are deeply grateful to all the people who chose to express their beliefs as dedicated volunteers, donors, pro bono advisors, and advocates. Our work and our sense of accomplishment would not exist without them.
Prospect and donor lists and information are, of course, never shared or used by us to benefit another client. Interview notes and survey responses are always confidential. Strategies, plans, reports, promotional and educational materials are the property of the client unless agreed otherwise.
Some of the reasons you hire a consultant are to get independent assessments, unbiased judgments, and honest feedback. We are not always right, but we will give you the whole picture - the negative and the positive - as we see it. And, if there is a significant problem, we will tell you as soon as we spot it, not when our contract is ending.
Conflicts of Interest
We have turned down business when we thought serving the new client might affect the results a current client is trying to achieve. We talk with both before contracting with the new client.
We have turned down business when we thought there was no conflict but the current client was uncomfortable.
We have accepted a new client despite a possible conflict because the current client and the new one were both comfortable with the arrangement. Of course, we maintained a fire wall between them.
We do not recruit staff members who work at a client for positions at other agencies.
Each situation is different. Please tell us about any questions or concerns you have.
Even before a consultancy begins, we are upfront about fees and how we arrive at them. There are no indeterminate, after-the-fact add-ons for clerical support or anything else. We keep time sheets and can report monthly on hours spent on a project.
We charge expenses at cost. We are never paid a finder's fee or percent when we refer you to other vendors.
We strive to meet the highest standards in our field and to provide our clients with exceptional counsel and execution of the fundamentals. We are clear about the extent of our skills and honest about our qualifications and experience.
When we make mistakes or fall short of client expectations, we acknowledge the problem and work to correct it.
Every contract with Washburn Carmichael can be cancelled for any reason with one to two weeks or a months notice, depending upon the length of time of the consultancy.
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Photo #1: Courtesy of New York York Choral Society • Photo #2: Courtesy of Brooklyn Historical Society