Codes of conduct for NGOs, particularly initiated by third parties, are crucial instruments for the sector to build trust with its partners and target constituencies, and credibility and legitimacy with the larger population it serves.
Why codes of conduct? Codes have been developed essentially because NGos are self-governing, they use public funds,they target local communities and the general public, and some NGOs do face the problem of fraud and corruption in their activities.
There are a wide variety of codes of conduct. They may be set up by the NGO itself, for its internal use (especially for large NGOs that have a number of branches or country offices). Most Codes are set up by third parties - National associations of NGOs, government departments, AID agencies that disburse funds to NGOs, and others.
Different countries have different systems and Codes, especially those that are internal to the NGO, may be stand-alone documents or may be an integral part of its bye-laws or constitution. Most are publicly viewable, and many available on the NGOs website.