Fundamental to the very character of each Chamber is that it be not-forprofit, nongovernmental, organized, independent, self-governing, and voluntary. While these general criteria may appear self-evident, particularly for those Chambers whose national law codifies and requires such standards, they remain basic for the integrity and conduct of an Chamber.
The Chamber is to be organized and operated as a not-for-profit organization. Any surplus that is generated through its operations is to be utilized solely to help the organization fulfill its mission and objectives. No part of the net earnings of the Chamber is to inure to the benefit of the directors, officers, members or employees of the organization, or to any other private persons, except that the Chamber may provide reasonable compensation for services provided to the organization.
2. TRADE OR BUSINESS
The organization is not to be operated for the primary purpose of carrying on a trade or business, unrelated to its mission and stated objectives.
3. GOVERNING INSTRUMENT
The Chamber’s governing instrument shall prevent the organization from distributing profits or assets for the benefit of individuals both during operation and when winding up.
The organization is not to be part of, or controlled by, government or an intergovernmental agency.
2. POLITICALLY INDEPENDENT
The organization shall maintain independence and not be rigidly aligned or affiliated with any political party, although it may share a common political or legislative cause within the limit of its mission, stated objectives and legal structure. By itself, being non-governmental does not mean that a Chamber is prohibited from political activity, although certain types of Chambers may be proscribed by their nations from political and legislative activity, such as tax-exempt organizations in the United States, which are prohibited from participating or intervening to any substantial extent in attempts to influence legislation or participating in political campaigns to support or oppose any candidate(s) for political office. However, an NGO that is permitted to do political and legislative activity shall only engage within the limit of its mission and stated objectives.
3. FOREIGN POLICY
The organization shall not act as an instrument of government foreign policy, but act independently of governments. The Chamber shall not seek to implement the policy of any government, unless it coincides with the mission of the organization and the organization’s own independent policy.
1. ORGANIZING FEATURES
The Chamber shall have an organizing document, an executive board, officers, and regular meetings and activities.
2. ORGANIZING DOCUMENTS
The organizing documents (such as bylaws, a written constitution, or memorandum of association) shall clearly define the mission, objectives, governance structure, membership rights and obligations, if any, and rules of procedure.
3. LEGAL RECOGNITION
These organizing principles apply whether or not the Chamber is legally recognized by any government.
D. Independent and Self-Governing
The organization shall be independent. Its policies, vision, and activities shall not be determined by any for-profit corporation, donor, government, government official, political party, or other Chamber.
The organization shall govern itself autonomously, according to whatever governance structure it selects for itself. It shall be equipped to control its own activities.
1. VOLUNTARY VALUES AND PRINCIPLES
Rather than being required to exist by law, Chambers are formed by private initiative, resulting from the voluntary actions of individuals who have chosen to pursue a shared interest or concern. The retaining of voluntary values and principles shall remain a primary force in the way of working of the Chamber.
2. CONTRIBUTIONS FROM VOLUNTEERS
In order to achieve its mission and objectives, the organization is to have meaningful contributions from volunteers. These may include both the target group and supporters.
3. VOLUNTEERISM OF GOVERNING BOARD
Those who are part of the Chamber’s governing body (generally the board of directors) are to serve in a voluntary capacity, for no pay.