7 Critical Questions to Help Your Chorus Develop an Ethics Program

Ask these seven questions to start laying the foundation for an ethics program for your chorus, as recommended in "A New Ethics Environment" by Michael Daigneault, Esq.

1. What is “success” for our chorus?

  • How do we define success? 
  • Is success defined only in artistic, economic, or competitive terms?
  • What incentives do we have in place?
  • What do we reward?
  • How do we “measure” our success?

2. To whom is our chorus accountable?

  • Who are our key stakeholders?
  • To whom do we owe specific obligations?
  • Who can hold our chorus accountable?

3. What are our core values?

  • Have we clearly articulated our vision/mission?
  • Have we developed a clear consensus around our core values?
  • Have we repeatedly and transparently communicated our core values?
  • If we asked our members what our values are, what would they say?

4. What are our ethical standards?

  • Do we have a written code of ethics or a values statement?
  • Have we asked our staff, members, and other key stakeholders for their input?
  • Are the ethical implications of decisions openly discussed?

5. Have we adequately communicated our core values and ethical standards internally and externally?

  • Have we printed and disseminated our mission, values, and ethical standards?
  • Are they easily available to all our stakeholders?
  • Do we regularly communicate the importance and content of our ethical standards?
  • Do our leaders and critical vendors sign off on our code of ethics annually?

6. In addition to a code, has our Chorus established (when appropriate) the needed policies, procedures, and structures to genuinely encourage our values and high ethical standards?

  • Have we done more than just disseminate a code of ethics?
  • Do we have written policies and procedures that harmonize with – and reinforce – our core values and ethical standards?
  • Do we have some type of ethics management structure, committee, or designated ethics contact?
  • Have we updated our ethics standards, policies, procedures, and structures in light of recent regulatory changes?

7. Do our members, vendors, contractors, audience, and community know where to go with ethical questions or concerns?

  • Have we designated an ethics contact?
  • Have we communicated to our key stakeholders the name and contact information of this individual?
  • Can people communicate with this person anonymously?
  • Do people trust this individual?
  • Does this individual regularly communicate their activities and the types of issues raised with the board?