„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


9th November 2021

By this article we want to introduce the examples of the “Code of Conduct” document.


“Code of Conduct” or “Ethical Code” is an internal document of an organisation which outlines a set of rules, norms, principles, which regulate an internal life of the organisation, professional relations, behaviour of Board/Committee members, staff and volunteers. It often describes the corporate culture of the organisation. 

Typical “Code of Conduct” would have the following content:

  • Purpose of the document;
  • Mission and values of the organisation;
  • Ways how the mentioned values are implemented in the internal life of the organisation: usually by do’s and don'ts. 

The sanctions can be mentioned. The Code would also list the penalties or sanctions were an individual does not adhere to the Code. It would outline such a process.

Often the document is linked to other related policies of the organisation:

  • “Whistleblowing”;
  • “Inclusion and non-discrimination”;
  • “Environmental”;
  • “Internal communication”;
  • “Conflict of Interest”. 

You can find examples in the Movement Strengthening Library of YMCA Europe in the folder “Policies and Procedures”. 

If the document targets the employees, there should be clear guidelines for them on what they should and should not do at work. This should be included in any disciplinary procedures.

Each organisation takes the decision on which areas to emphasise according to the values they have and key areas for regulation. Let’s see several examples. 

Code of Conduct of YWCA-YMCA Sweden. (pdf version)

You can find here how topics of “discrimination”, “alcohol”, “environment”, “communication” are tackled. 

Code of Conduct and Ethics for the trustees in YMCA Scotland contains key areas of their responsibilities, commitment required from the trustees, conflict of interest procedure and receipt of gifts.

You can find a sample of a declaration here

Code of Conduct of WOSM. (pdf version)

You can find the following structure in this document: “Individual member’s actions in relations to other”, “Actions in relations to youth”, “Actions in relations to organisation”, “Ways of reporting”, “Sanctions”. 

If you are looking for examples how principles and code of conduct in youth work can look like, you can refer to “Ethical conduct in Youth Work in Northern Ireland”: (pdf version)

If you want to make a short and specific code of conduct for participants of the programmes or an activity you can refer to this document: "Youth Program Sample Code of Conduct"

Movement Strengthening in YMCA Europe is aimed at building the capacity of organisations in different spheres including governance, internal policies, quality standards and strategic planning. 

Within the Organic Governance group of YMCA Europe we are collecting and presenting the best practices as examples of the documents which can be helpful for civil society organisations’ development. It is important that any such document is agreed as a Policy at Board level.

The project “Organic Governance and Quality Development” is supported by Erasmus+, Key Action 2 programme.

Author/Source: Olga Lukina, YMCA Europe Executive Secretary for Movement Strengthening

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