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Illinois Nonprofit Principles and Best Practices: Introduction


Previously known as "The Purple Book" for its lavender cover, the guide covers a wide range of important issues -- including governance, legal compliance, responsible stewardship, and communication -- and goes beyond the federal, state, and local laws. The best practices are specific steps organizations can take to implement the principles. This site introduces additional resources to help organizations engage with the recommendations of the Best Practices guide.

Download the complete guide here


Illinois Nonprofit Principles and Best Practices was first published in 2004 as part of the Preserving the Public Trust Initiative. The 29 member task force, representing the best of Illinois' nonprofit sector, devised ten principles to help all nonprofit organizations adhere to high ethical standards and strong governance. 

The development process also included listening sessions across the state to solicit feedback and discover what tools should be included. In 2008 an updated guide would be released and endorsed by the Illinois Attorney General.  

And in 2019, responding to the continued popularity of the "purple book", Forefront again revised and modernized it so that nonprofit organizations, including grantmakers, could have access to the latest views on these important topics.

This website contains not only a link to the current edition of the principles but also information about applying them to your work and how to incorporate them in your organization.

Startup Guides

These links represent a small selection of general guides to forming a nonprofit.