Charlotte D. Young on Compliance at a Nonprofit [Podcast]

By Adam Turteltaub

These days it is increasingly difficult for any organization to operate without a compliance program.  That’s true of non-profit institutions.  No matter how lofty your organization’s goals, there are still rules to follow, and where there are people, there are often problems.

Charlotte Young is the Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer for The Nature Conservancy, and a regular participant in the conferences of The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.  In this conversation at the 2017 Compliance and Ethics Institute she shares some of the unique challenges non-profit compliance faces, as well as what to look for if you’re thinking of becoming a compliance officer at a not for profit institution.

Listen in as she explains:

  • Nonprofits focus more on reputation than a for-profit, since reputation is really what you sell
  • Nonprofits are lightly regulated, which is an asset in many ways, but you need to closely watch private benefit rules, lobbying, and electioneering
  • Conflicts of interest are a very high-risk area
  • Donor intent is also very important: ensuring that the funds are used in the way the donor intended
  • The staff is often out to save the world, and, like their counterparts in the private sector, some can see compliance as a barrier
  • Being a mission-based organization is an asset for the compliance program since the workforce and management takes the values very seriously
  • If thinking of joining a non-profit, read the organization’s 990 tax return
  • When interviewing, focus on risks: what is the primary risk to the organization.
  • Also, be sure to understand the funding source


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