Improve your ethical practices
in international development, humanitarian aid, and global service

How can you improve your ethical practices, whether you are just beginning or are a leader in the field?

Ethical Best Practice Spectrums

A set of tools, created by and for our partners, to help you identify areas for improvement, as well as specific items in a variety of areas, from ethical communications to monitoring & evaluation.

Aspire Microgrants

Access up to $1,500 to support your organization's work to embed ethical practices.


Find recommended resources from around the world to guide your ethical journey.

Webinars & Workshops

See calendar of upcoming sessions and recordings of past sessions, for practical steps shared by experts.

Peer Learning Groups

Get matched with other organizations to share dilemmas and challenges, and to learn from one another. For OLAM partners & members only.

Understand how you can make the most out of Aspire

Contact us now to schedule your one-on-one consultation.

What people are saying

“This opportunity would not have been an option without OLAM. NALA’s network increased drastically from the visit, and it completely changed the way I think about engaging with the Jewish community in North America. The encounters really helped ‘fill my battery’ after an intense period that left me somewhat drained.”

Jacob Sztokman, Founding Director, Gabriel Project Mumbai

“This opportunity would not have been an option without OLAM. NALA’s network increased drastically from the visit, and it completely changed the way I think about engaging with the Jewish community in North America. The encounters really helped ‘fill my battery’ after an intense period that left me somewhat drained.”

Jacob Sztokman, Founding Director, Gabriel Project Mumbai

Aspire opens our minds to not just why ethical practices are so important but what practical steps we can take to ensure the dignity of those we work with.

Gilad Ovadia, AgriFriend

The [Aspire] spectrum gives us all a tangible and accessible understanding of what we are doing and the right way to do it. It shows that there is so much opportunity to improve upon our work and to continue learning and growing.

Dr. Einav Levy, The Israeli School of Humanitarian Action

The way we thought about ethical practices before Aspire was less systematic. Aspire's Spectrum tools set benchmarks, which we found extremely helpful.

Jenn Lavelle, AJWS

OLAM's focus on ethical practices actually inspired ASYV to create its own ethical communications guidelines. It's exciting that there is so much opportunity to improve upon our work.

Jill Elias, ASYV

The Aspire program puts ethical issues at the forefront in a way we never had before. I enjoy being challenged and appreciate being part of a program that gives me the time to think about these issues intensely.

Jacob Sztokman, Gabriel Project Mumbai

We're very operations-focused, and the Aspire consultancy session was incredibly meaningful, and really gave me insight into the various ethical issues and how they are relevant to our day-to-day operations.

Brian Schneider, Justifi

After attending the "informed consent" webinar, we started thinking more about which photos we use and about making sure we are telling the right story in the right way with those we do choose.

Molly Levine, Kulanu

Aspire Topics

Because ethical practices is such a broad subject, Aspire focuses on a few topics in depth:


While Aspire will invariably be a different experience for each of OLAM’s partner organizations, these are the steps we recommend you take on the journey:

Step 1

Partners take a self-assessment survey to help them understand where their work falls on a spectrum of ethical best practices. OLAM staff will not see the results unless partners give them permission to review the survey.

Step 2

Partners attend OLAM workshops and training sessions that will give them the tools needed to progress on the ethical practices spectrums.

Step 3

Throughout the year, partners and members can access:

  • A one-hour consultation with OLAM staff
  • Microgrants to support partners’ ethical practices work (can be used to fund staff training, hire a mentor or consultant, host gatherings around this work, adjust databases and websites, and more)
  • Peer-to-peer groups to ask questions, share dilemmas and challenges, learn from one another, and get advice from experts in the field.
  • Additional support, as needed
Step 4

Each year, partners will have the opportunity to retake the self-assessment surveys in order to see their progress on the ethical spectrums, and to understand where work is still needed. OLAM will collect stories highlighting our partners’ successes, so that we can all continue to learn from each other.

New topics may be added to the Aspire program each year, following consultations with expert steering committees. Current topics may be updated.

Meet our Steering Committees

We are grateful to our steering committees for their advice and guidance, which allowed us to create the Aspire program based on real-life experiences and expertise.

Climate Steering Committee

Communications Steering Committee

Community Engagement Steering Committee

Global Service Committee

Monitoring & Evaluation Steering Committee


Who was involved in creating the Aspire program?

In the process of creating the Aspire program, OLAM worked with an outside consultant and steering committees of 12 professionals, both inside and outside our network, who have deep knowledge about ethical best practices in the field of international development. This collaboration included sharing their expertise, helping to prepare Aspire documents, and working together to formulate a program that is aligned with the most current global ethical practices.

My organization does very little work that relates to international development, as part of our overall work. Is Aspire still relevant to me?

Yes! Whether the entirety of your organization’s work, or just one of its projects, relates to international development, understanding and reflecting on ethical practices can be relevant to other aspects of your work.

What time commitment do I need to make to participate in Aspire?

The amount of time you spend depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • how many topics your organization focuses on
  • where your organization falls on the spectrum tools
  • how your organization prioritizes this work,
  • and how many staff members are involved.

To make the most out of this program, you should:

  • Take the self-assessment survey (~1 hour)
  • Participate in the informational webinar (~1 hour), or watch it later if no one from your organization can attend the live event
  • Assign a staff member to be the point person at your organization for the ethical practices work
  • Decide on at least one topic to focus on each year
  • Take part in at least two training sessions or workshops throughout the year (~1 hour each)
  • Retake the self-assessment survey each year

The amount of time an organization spends on this work can fluctuate throughout the year, depending on capacity, project cycle, staffing, etc. However, OLAM sees this work as long-term, and encourages organizations to think about improving ethical practices all year round.

As an OLAM partner, am I expected to participate in the Aspire program?

Yes. Similar to participation in Focal Point and our annual partner renewal survey, we see a commitment to deepening ethical practices as central to what it means to belong to OLAM’s network. We expect you – our partners – to be active participants in the Aspire program, sharing your experiences and expertise with others and identifying areas for growth. This will ensure that as a network, we can pursue our goals of supporting the world’s most vulnerable people ethically and justly.

How did the Aspire program come about?

In recent years there has been a grassroots demand on the part of OLAM partners that we work to support each other in deepening our ethical practices and reaching international standards in our work. As a result, OLAM has facilitated conversations about these issues through Focal Point, focus groups we convened to study this issue, and our Do No Harm webinar series. Aspire is the next step on this path.

Who can I reach out to if I have questions about the Aspire program?

Please email Yael Shapira, OLAM’s Director of Network Engagement and Programs, for any questions or concerns you may have about Aspire:

What is the difference between best practices and ethical practices?

Often best practices and ethical practices are one in the same. The Aspire program is specifically focused on actions that organizations take that have implications for the well-being of the communities they serve. While not following general best practices could lead to lack of professionalism in your work, not following ethical best practices can – directly or indirectly – cause harm to these populations.

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