GOA Volunteer Code of Conduct, Board Responsibilities, Whistle-Blower Policy and Complaint Procedures

As an employee/volunteer of the Gift of Adoption Fund (GOA), I have an obligation to the organization I serve, to the general public, and to myself to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct. I will neither commit acts contrary to these standards nor will I condone the commission of such acts by others within the Organization. I have a responsibility to:


• Keep confidential information confidential unless legally obligated to do otherwise.

• Refrain from using or appearing to use confidential information acquired in the course of my service for unethical or illegal advantage either personally or through third parties.

Conflict of Interest

• Avoid direct or indirect, actual or apparent, conflicts of interest and advise all appropriate parties of any potential conflict, e.g.:

a. A GOA representative’s personal business provides goods or services to GOA for consideration.

b. A friend or relative of GOA representative provides goods or services to GOA for consideration.

c. A vendor or business acquaintance with which a GOA representative has an outside business relationship provides goods or services to the GOA for consideration.

• Refrain from engaging in any activity that would prejudice my ability or the ability of others to carry out duties ethically.

• Refuse any gift, favor, or hospitality that would influence or would appear to influence my actions or the actions of others, e.g. a GOA representative receives a referral fee or preferential discount, gift, or other valuable consideration from a vendor, paid promoter, fundraising event sponsor, or any other outside party, for referring Gift of Adoption business to such party.

• Refrain from engaging in electoral political activity, except for on a personal basis, provided the activities do not conflict with my ability to carry out GOA responsibilities or create confusion between positions or actions that are taken by me personally versus as a GOA representative.

• In the event any member of the National Grant Selection Committee, National or Chapter Board of Directors, staff, or any other person engaged in the determination of grant awards has a relationship with a Grant Applicant, whether personal or professional, that member must excuse him/herself from the decision making related to that applicant’s grant request.


• Refrain from violating any criminal or civil law or regulation.

• Disclose if I have ever been party to or convicted of any felony or crime of moral depravity.

• Refrain from either actively or passively subverting the attainment of GOA’s legitimate and ethical objectives.

• Refrain from engaging in or supporting any activity that would discredit GOA.

• Perform my duties in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, GOA policies and standards.

Represent the interests of all people served by GOA and not favor special interests inside or outside the organization.

Public Speaking

We honor the deeply personal nature of adoption and the many motivations that move individuals to adopt, become involved in the cause and/or financially support Gift of Adoption. In recognition of the unique inspiration and circumstances surrounding each adoption, our organizational culture reflects a profound commitment to honoring the diversity of experiences and motivations of all we are privileged to know and work with.  To reinforce this important dimension of our culture, our board has established the following policy guidelines that apply to those speaking publicly on Gift of Adoption’s behalf.

Gift of Adoption grants are awarded without regard to an applicant’s race, ethnicity, age, religion, marital status, or sexual orientation.

We highly value and respect our diverse population of families, volunteers, donors and supporters.  We ask that anyone speaking publicly on our behalf to show respect for Gift of Adoption’s non-discriminatory grant making policy, even if it clashes with that person’s personal beliefs, political affiliations or expression of faith.

By agreeing to speak on behalf of GOA, the potential speaker agrees to share personal stories and motivations while avoiding partisan political statements or using the opportunity to evangelize for anything other than the cause of adoption.

Board Responsibilities

In serving on a GOA Chapter Board, I agree to actively participate in carrying out the GOA mission and to fulfill the following duties to the best of my ability:

     Individual Board Member Commitments

  • Sign annual conflict of interest statement and notify GOA of potential conflicts
  • Make a personal gift of $500 or more annually (in-kind and corporate matching gifts accrue toward this gift level).
  • Work on fundraising events and activities to secure additional contributions to GOA (NY Chapter Board has set a $1,000 ‘get’ requirement.)
  • Identify and recruit one additional chapter board member per 3-year term
  • Participate regularly in Chapter Board conference calls and meetings

     Collective Chapter Board Responsibilities

  • Maintain Chapter Board membership of 5+ members
  • Raise $10,000 or more annually and engage 50 or more volunteers and/or supporters
  • Meet Chapter Standards:
    • Establish and monitor annual plan and budget
    • Maintain a cost/$ raised ratio of $0.35 cents or better
    • Comply with Gift of Adoption Brand and Communications Style Guide
    • Participate in Leadership Council and Grant Selection calls/meetings

Whistle-Blower Policy and Complaint Procedures

As a matter of general policy, the immediate supervisor will provide an open door for discussion and a receptive ear and will review all staff member/volunteer suggestions or complaints concerning our work practices and procedures.

If a staff member/volunteer wishes to make a formal complaint, it should be done within a reasonable time after the incident has occurred or the issue has arisen. We consider an open discussion between employee/volunteer and the immediate supervisor as the first step in the complaint procedure. The supervisor must respond to the complaint in a timely manner.

At this point, the complaint must be submitted in writing, with the nature of the grievance clearly outlined. The immediate supervisor will investigate the complaint and notify the staff member/volunteer, in writing, of a decision within a reasonable amount of time. If the staff member/volunteer feels its complaint was not fully evaluated the next step would be to address the complaint to the Chief Executive Officer.

As a last resort, a staff member/volunteer may take a complaint to the National Board of Governors. The National Board of Governor’s decision constitutes the organization’s final word on the matter.

For concerns about financial irregularities, employees/volunteers are instructed to contact the Treasurer of the National Board of Governors. This is compliant with Sarbanes-Oxley: Section 301, which mandates organizations implement a system to allow employees to come forward with concerns surrounding accounting and auditing irregularities. Our organization encourages you to submit concerns and complaints regarding workplace issues, such as accounting discrepancies, fraud, accounting misrepresentations, auditing matters, accounting omissions, ethics violations, or any other financially related concerns you may have. If you have any other workplace concerns that are not financially related, please utilize our current procedures as described above. Your confidential report will be forwarded to the individuals our organization has deemed appropriate to review and respond to your concerns.

Before you can be placed on a Chapter Board, you must successfully complete a Criminal Background Check.

After clicking submit, you will be redirected to a Criminal Background Check authorization form. Please download, complete, print, and sign this form and return to Shaneetra Gross:

email: sgross@giftofadoption.org
fax: 847.378.4547
Mail: Gift of Adoption Fund
Attn: Shaneetra
PO Box 567
Techny, IL 60082

Volunteer or Staff Acceptance Policy:

Due to the nature of our work, we require all Staff, Chapter Board, and National Board candidates to submit to a criminal background check at the time of placement. Staff and National Board Members must submit to a background check every 3 years of service.

It is Gift of Adoption’s policy to not place anyone into a volunteer or staff role if he or she has been convicted of a violent and / or felonious crime or a crime involving moral depravity.

Gift of Adoption will not proceed with or will immediately discharge any volunteer convicted of the aforementioned crimes and reserves the right to refuse any staff or volunteer with a criminal history if it is not in line with the best interest of Gift of Adoption’s needs, mission or values.