ASAE & The Center Introduce Best Practices for Socially Responsible Associations

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) & The Center for Association Leadership have released a series of draft principles designed to turn associations into socially responsible organizations. Titled Guiding Principles for Socially Responsible Associations, the draft principles mirror those set forth in the United Nations' UN Global Compact, which is a universally vetted set of goals addressing the world's most challenging problems, including diversity, environmentalism and regulation.

"We have made a commitment to social responsibility and to the betterment of our organizations and the greater community," Mark Golden, CAE, immediate past chair of The Center and executive director and CEO of the National Court Reporters Association, said in a statement. "This is a vital step in that direction."

ASAE & The Center hosted the first-ever Global Summit on Social Responsibility in Washington, D.C., April 30 through May 2 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. More than 400 association executives attended and discussed ways in which associations can lead on issues of international import. Created by a working group of professionals from associations, charities and businesses, ASAE & The Center's new draft principles are an extension of the conversation started at that summit.

"Social responsibility is not an issue we discussed at the Global Summit and subsequently forgot about," ASAE & The Center CEO John Graham IV, CAE, said in a statement. "This is an issue we believe to be important to the future of our professional community, one that needs to be fully integrated into our everyday operational thinking."

ASAE & The Center's Guiding Principles contain 30 points intended to help associations become more socially responsible in the areas of advocacy; leadership; ethics; diversity; self regulation; human rights; philanthropy and community service; and environmental and economic sustainability. Among those points is at least one that directly addresses association meeting planners. It reads:

"The association community and its members shall encourage the development and implementation of environmentally responsible technologies and practices […] This will include the environmentally responsible conduct of association meetings and conventions."

Interested parties may download and comment on ASAE's draft principles until Oct. 16 at www.asaecenter.org/srprinciples.