In my mission-driven organization, we believe its important for newly accepted members of the leadership to take a pledge to follow and uphold the core purpose and values.

What are ways that other values-oriented organizations impress upon new leaders to follow core principles?

When accepting new voting board members into our nonprofit organization, should we require to sign a paper to follow the purposes of the organization?

How can we be sure the organization won't be transformed into something other than the original vision?

Can signing be made electronic? If we choose electronic signature, what the "Agree" button should do? Is it enough just to display a confirmation, or should we store somewhere the information that the person agreed?

By the way, how to do this "electronic signature" thing with MediaWiki software?

  • 1
    This sounds like a question for a lawyer.
    – user35
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 0:18
  • 2
    I'm trying to parse what your question is here. Hopefully you like by edit to the title. What is the purpose of having the voting members agree to a pledge? Do you want them to simply agree and understand the purpose of the organization? Or is there an actual contract or consequence that gets invoked if they fail to live by the terms of the pledge they are agreeing to?
    – Greg Chase
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 5:16
  • @GregChase I have actually created the document to sign: withoutvowels.org/wiki/File:New-member-commitment.pdf
    – porton
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 13:41
  • I read it as a pledge to uphold the values and purpose of the organization while becoming part of the governance. It states no consequences or definition of nonconformance.
    – Greg Chase
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 17:57
  • Edited again to try and generalize your question. Hopefully it still fits your specific ask.
    – Greg Chase
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


It's important to point out that what you are asking your new leadership to do is pledge to act in accordance with your organizational values. You are not creating a contract with them. Therefore laws for electronic signatures really do not apply or matter here.

Because your agreement does not specifically state any terms, or define nonconformance with those terms or consequences, it doesn't even constitute a "bylaws" for governing your organization. How do you know if your leadership is acting out of accordance with the values? What happens if they do? What happens if most of the leadership votes to go a new direction that others feel is not in accordance with the values?

I point this out not to suggest you create complex bylaws to cover all these potential situations. I would only do so if the organization's operations are complex enough, or if there are a large constituency or budget involved.

What it seems you are really trying to do is the following:

1) Only recruit leaders who agree with the organizations core values, and discourage others who don't agree from joining.

2) Impress the new leaders on their symbolic duty to the organization and its constituency. This duty does not seem to be fiduciary, meaning that it does not carry legal impact to the organization, customers, or paying members.

To that end, I would suggest that a solemn pledge and ceremony might achieve this goal more effectively. Come up with an impressive promise that new members must raise their hand and recite. Have them do this in front of the whole voting board or even the entire membership publicly. Choose other ceremonial traditions that are appropriate for your organization such as signing a history book, conducting prayer, or giving or receiving certain symbols.

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