Dress for Success: Nonprofit Dress Code Policies

Some nonprofit organizations have an official dress code policy, while others do not. And even if your nonprofit has such a policy, there may still be room for interpretation. So, when you begin a new job with an organization, you will want to review and observe its dress code policy.

Working and Looking Smart

Some nonprofit organizations have an official dress code policy, while others do not. And even if your nonprofit has such a policy, there may still be room for interpretation. So, when you begin a new job with an organization, you will want to review and observe its dress code policy.

In most cases, the dress code policy will include items that are considered appropriate for your work environment and those that are not. No matter how carefully the organization has crafted its dress code policy, it can’t address each and every situation for every employee. So, use your best judgement.

For those without an official dress code policy, the culture of the organization will generally dictate the policy. What are others wearing? A new employee may want to stick to wearing fashions similiar to their coworkers.

What's Your Nonprofit’s Style?

When considering what to wear, another thing to keep in mind is the type of nonprofit for which you work. For example, those working in a human service agency and constantly interacting with the public may have a different dress code than those working in a policy think tank. What you wear to work may also depend on your position in the organization. For example, as a director you may wear business dress in an otherwise casual dress work environmen


For the Employer

What to Do if an Employee Wears Inappropriate Clothing

When an employee wears inappropriate clothing to work, they should be told and asked not wear the inappropriate clothing again. If available, the employee should also be given a copy of the organization’s dress code policy.

In some organizations, when the dress code policy is not adhered to, the employee may be given a warning. Hopefully, it’s a verbal warning which will give the employee an opportunity to correct the matter.

In some cases, when an employee dresses inappropriately for work, the employee may be asked to go home. In other cases, they may be sent home to change and allowed to return to work if dressed appropriately.

Those not paid for this time away from work may think twice about dressing inappropriately again, especially if they really enjoy their job

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