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  5. What are your values?

Principle 1

What are your values?

An organisation’s values are its guiding principles and beliefs which should apply across the organisation and underpin how its work is carried out.  An organisation’s values are its basic beliefs about what really matters, which guide how things should be done.

Download worksheet: Developing Organisational Values

Example value statement:

Our work will be guided and informed by our beliefs and commitments to:

  • Inclusiveness
    We respect people, value diversity and welcoming and supporting newcomers
  • Participation
    We value and recognise the contribution of volunteers within organisations and communities
  • Quality
    We strive for excellence through continuous improvement
  • Openness
    We are committed to a culture of teamwork and collaboration

Sometimes value statements also contain a statement of commitment to what the organisation will do in light of the value e.g. if the value is ‘Participation – we value and recognise the contribution of volunteers within organisations and communities’, there might be a second sentence saying, something like, ‘We will provide volunteers and staff with the opportunity to participate in decisions that may affect them and encourage other organisations with volunteers to facilitate the engagement of volunteers in decision-making in their organisations’.

Some organisations also use the organisation’s values to help appraise the performance of their staff.  For example, as part of an annual appraisal, staff members are asked to indicate in what ways they have actively progressed the value e.g. Inclusiveness, Participation, Quality and Openness in their work.


An organisation’s reputation is the way it is viewed often referred to as its good name and it is important that this is maintained.  Having an appropriate values statement and a code of conduct or behaviours that shows how these values should be lived by those involved in the organisation will help protect the organisation’s reputation. A management committee needs to consider the impact that their decisions will have on the reputation of the organisation and ensure that it is safeguarded. The organisation’s Risk Management processes should address ways of preventing reputational damage.