It is expected that all presenters are delivering workshops with SCORE to “give back” and not to gain personal benefit. Therefore, to prevent any issues concerning conflict of interest or ethics dilemmas, presenters should exercise care to avoid any gain, profit or the appearance of impropriety that results from their affiliation with SCORE. For clarity, SCORE created a set of guidelines for Workshop Presenters. These guidelines are for both SCORE Volunteer Presenters and non-SCORE Volunteer Presenters.
SCORE Workshop Presenter Guidelines
Because of SCORE’s status as a non-profit association funded through government grants, there are guidelines to which all workshop presenters must adhere.
By presenting a workshop for SCORE, a presenter agrees to the following:
- To not promote, sell or advertise any product or service during the workshop.
- To list at least three other resources related to the topic if listing their company as a source of information for clients.
- To not promote any political leanings or views.
- To provide SCORE with the title, description, presenter names and bios no later than eight weeks before the event. This information is needed for registration and/or promotions.
- To provide SCORE with the final presentation slides and related materials before the workshop event date.
- SCORE Volunteer Workshop Presenters must use SCORE templates or neutral (non-branded) templates for presentation materials and must not include business logos on presentation slides/materials.
- SCORE Volunteer Workshop Presenters are encouraged to use SCORE templates or neutral (non-branded) templates for presentation materials and should minimize the use of business logos on presentation slides/materials.
- To ensure all content and additional resources will be strictly educational. Workshop presenters can ask participants to opt-into their communications.
- To not, per the SCORE Code of Ethics, send unsolicited communications to SCORE clients, chapters, or volunteers to promote their product/services.
- To understand that leaving business cards for clients to pick up after the workshop is allowed.
- SCORE Workshop Presenters may only leave their SCORE business cards.
- Non-SCORE Presenters may leave their personal business cards.
- To understand that SCORE will not provide any registration or attendee list from the workshop and understand that he/she can distribute a sign-up sheet, where attendees can ‘opt in’ for additional communication or information.
- To understand that if any of these points are violated, the workshop may be cancelled, and the workshop presenter will not be invited to present additional SCORE workshops.
This form can be found here
If you have questions about an ethical dilemma, first read the following Q&A section. If you still have questions, contact the Chapter Leader.
Q: Can I use contacts made at SCORE activities as a source of new clients for my own business or a business in my household?
A: No. This is soliciting business.
Q: My spouse owns an office supply store. Can I ask my clients to get their office supplies there?
A: No. This is soliciting business.
Q: I am a CPA (or other professional) volunteering as a Mentor or Subject Matter Expert. My SCORE client who I have mentored and/or advised is having trouble finding an accountant (or other professional). Can I offer my services or accept them as a client if they ask me to?
A: No, not for hire. You may, however, help them pro-bono as a SCORE Mentor or SME. Only in extreme cases may a variance be granted and only if the variance request process is followed.
Q: Can a SCORE volunteer be included on a professional services reference list given to clients?
A: Yes, but at no point can the volunteer have engaged in mentoring the client in question, as a mentor or SME. The reference list given to the client must contain at least three names. No more than one reference may be a SCORE volunteer and the volunteer should not be identified as a volunteer. If the volunteer's name is included, be very careful to avoid the appearance or reality of impropriety.
Q: I came upon a situation that I am unsure about. What should I do?
A: Contact the Chapter Chair to discuss the situation. Additionally, the SCORE District Director, Regional Vice President or SCORE staff can assist.
Q: I witnessed another mentor engaging in or talking about what appeared to be an ethical conflict. What should I do?
A: The best approach is to first gently remind them of the Code of Ethics. If you are uncomfortable, or did not receive a satisfactory outcome, alert the Chapter Chair and let him/her handle the situation. If at all possible, any issues at the chapter level should be resolved locally. If a complaint is of a serious nature (sexual harassment, abusive behavior, etc.), it should immediately be escalated to the VP, Field Operations.
Q: My client is in a desperate situation that I am confident my business can solve and I know of no one else that can. What do I do?
A: If the Code of Ethics works towards the substantial detriment of the client, a variance can be requested. The procedure for this is in the Variance section below. Please note that a little better price on a product or service is not likely to trigger substantial detriment. Also note that many SCORE clients are in difficult situations. As the variance process is not intended to be used regularly, it is, by design, a detailed process.
Q: I have been asked to mentor / advise a new client as a Mentor or Subject Matter Expert, but they are a business that I have been or am planning to market. What should I do?
A: You should decline the offer and advise your Chapter Leadership / Administrator that you will not accept the assignment and explain why not.
NOTE: A SME should not join SCORE in the hopes that he/she will receive paying clients. It is the expectation by serving as an SME that their skills and expertise will be brought into mentoring situations. If this relationship is established, the SCORE SME cannot take on the SCORE client as a business client.
Q: Does becoming a SCORE member preclude me from taking business from a SCORE client?
A: No, but if a SCORE member has engaged with a client on behalf of SCORE in any capacity (eg. as mentor or SME), they cannot take business from that client.
- If a volunteer has not engaged with a client on behalf of SCORE i within the last three years, and the volunteer has not solicited the client, a past client can do business with a SCORE volunteer.
- If the volunteer’s business is public in nature, a business relationship can occur. Examples include the volunteer owning a restaurant at which a client may dine, the volunteer publicly lists real estate and a client (represented by an independent agent) purchases or leases property, or the volunteer owns a car dealership and an unsolicited client purchases a vehicle.
Q: I am delivering workshops on my professional business subjects. How do I present myself at SCORE sponsored workshops?
A: You present yourself as a SCORE member. You and your presentation must follow the “Workshop Presenter Guidelines for SCORE Volunteers” – specifically, you cannot solicit clients in the workshop, your content must meet SCORE brand guidelines, and you cannot use the attendee list for marketing purposes for your business. Workshop Presenters who present are allowed to leave their business cards at the back of the room and a signup sheet for attendees to ‘opt in’ to future communications from you.
Q: I am delivering workshops on my professional business subjects. After a recent workshop, an attendee at the workshop wants to hire me. Is that allowed?
A: Workshop Presenters and Subject Matter Experts who present are allowed to work with attendees for pay AS LONG AS there has been no mentoring relationship as a mentor or SME with a client. Mentoring is the firewall.
Q: I want to present workshops for SCORE as a SCORE member. What additional steps must I take?
A: Agree to and sign the following Workshop Presenter Guidelines that reinforce the concept that SCORE members do not solicit business and are neutral in the presentation of our information and counsel.
Q: How do I get a variance?
A: Contact the Chapter Chair and he/she will walk you through the process, as documented in the SOM.