Guided by our values
At United Way Halifax, we are guided by a set of core organizational values that express how we aspire to be when we are at our best.
In addition to a mission and vision, values are ideas that guide our behaviour, decisions, and thinking. They are an expression of our organization’s priorities and culture. Our values tell other people and organizations what they can expect from us.
A few years ago, the United Way Halifax staff team identified our five core values: respect, trust, compassion, adaptability, and collaboration. Those are broad terms. So, we also crafted statements of what each of these values means in our workplace.
- Respect: We foster a culture of kindness, inclusiveness, and safety. We value everyone’s contributions, take time to understand perspectives, and treat one another with dignity.
- Trust: We are dedicated to the highest standard of ethical conduct and financial stewardship. We strengthen relationships by acting with integrity and honesty.
- Compassion: We care deeply about one another and the neighbourhoods in which we live. We seek to understand and respond to the needs of our community.
- Adaptability: We are open to new ideas. We respond and adapt as we discover and learn how to best address the needs of our community and achieve our mission.
- Collaboration: We are stronger together. We leverage collective knowledge and resources to create meaningful impact.
Our values are prominently displayed on a wall in our office. This provides a visual reminder for staff and shows visitors our values.
Living Our Values
Values are not just words on a page or a wall. They are meant to guide us on a daily basis.
Here are just a few examples of how we live our values:
- We are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. We express our respect with public statements on anti-Black racism, and treaty rights.
- As a charity that depends on the support of donors, we build trust through transparency in our annual reports and financial statements.
- We encourage compassion by giving voice to those not often heard. Understanding the issues inspires people to take action.
- When the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Nova Scotia, we shifted suddenly to working from home. At the same time, we launched the Atlantic Compassion Fund in collaboration with 10 other United Ways in Atlantic Canada. We adapted our fundraising, communication, and investment approaches to meet emerging needs quickly and efficiently.
- As much as possible, we strive to collaborate with partners in our work. That’s because we know we can accomplish more together than alone.
Something to strive for
Whether personal or organizational, values are aspirational by nature. There are times when circumstances will challenge our values. We cannot expect perfection, but knowing our values gives us something to strive for.
Stating our values publicly encourages accountability. Staff can refer to them when making decisions and when looking for ways to improve. They also tell donors and partners about what we stand for.
Since identifying our core values, they have become a frequent point of reference and we aim to make sure they show up in our work.
What are your personal values and how do you put them into practice? Do you see alignment between your own values and those of United Way Halifax? We’d love to hear from you.