If you’re a board member, ask if your organization subscribes to a code of ethics in fundraising. Your board should talk about the ethical code and be familiar with the general content and areas of compliance. All your staff should know, too, that your organization follows such codes.
Your fundraising staff and board fund development committee could present an annual report on your organization’s compliance with the code. (And, of course, your board should adopt the fundraising code of ethics as a policy – just like your board should adopt the Donor Bill of Rights as a policy.)
Review this Code of Ethical Standards. The code includes things like: Public trust, transparent and conflicts of interest. Solicitation and stewardship. Treatment of confidential and proprietary information. Compensation, bonuses, and finders fees.
Here are some of my favorite parts of the AFP Code of Ethical Standards for Fundraising:
#14: Ensure that contributions are used in accordance with donors’ intentions.
#16: Obtain explicit consent by donors before altering the conditions of financial transactions.
#21: Not accept compensation or enter into a contract that is based on a percentage of contributions; nor…accept finder’s fees or contingent fees.
#22: Be permitted to accept performance-based compensation, such as bonuses, only if such bonuses are in accord with prevailing practices within the..organization and are not based on a percentage of contributions.
Unethical performance harms all other NGOs and harms the nonprofit sector. Beware! Hold your own organization and its people accountable. And demand that other NGOs do the same. Call them out if need be.