As a part of your partnership agreement, it is important to specify what is acceptable and not acceptable forms of behavior. Establishing your mutually agreed upon rules and code elements up front, helps prevent mis-understandings and mis-alignment during your relationship moving forward.
There are no rules for what you can include or must include so make sure your code of conduct covers those areas that are most important to you and your business partner.
Here are some areas of focus to consider including:
Values – Define what your organization is about and what you expect your partner organization to be about. If you have values already defined for your organization that would be a good place to start. Simple values like being good to animals and taking care of people are important to define.
Principles – Further expand on your values by highlighting credos or statements that define how you interact with your customers and each other. How do you handle customer service? What are you striving for in your organization partnership?
Personal Responsibility – Be sure to include personal statements in addition to the organizational components to highlight what individual responsibilities you expect from your code. Including personal responsibilities allows you to incorporate your staff and volunteers into the agreement.
Compliance – If there are specific laws, regulations, guidelines, or other codes that you want included in your agreement, be sure to state them clearly and reference them appropriately.
Below are some examples that we have compiled to give you ideas and inspiration as you build out your code of conduct:
Animal resources of Tidewater – The link takes you to their internal code of ethics but provides a great starting point to define the same for your partnership agreement.
SAWA – This link includes some very specific animal welfare related values and would be a great resource to define the values for your agreement if your organization has not already established them.
Boone County – This is a good example of the personal commitments to consider including both on what you expect to happen and the actions you do not want to see.
Williamson County – On page 15 of this volunteer handbook is a nicely laid out volunteer agreement with ‘I’ principles for your consideration.