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Assembly Approves Change to Ethical Code

November 1, 2004

(Nov. 1, 2004) The Delegate Assembly approved a change in the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice that eliminates the distinction in the code between 'charitable' funds raised and funds raised through advertising, sponsorships and other means.

The Ethics Committee asked the Assembly to consider the change after reviewing the issue and conducting a survey to determine current practice. Two thirds of survey respondents indicated that they spend 25 percent or more of their time engaged in the generation of non-gift revenues for their organizations. More than 88 percent of respondents stated that they are compensated through a flat fee or salary alone for generating non-gift revenues.

During its deliberations, the committee concluded that the distinction made in the code between 'charitable' contributions and other revenues raised by nonprofit organizations is illusory and presents the potential for confusion of the public and the AFP membership.

As a result of the Assembly vote, the AFP Code of Ethics will no longer differentiate between gift revenues and other funds. Therefore, members cannot be paid via percentage-based compensation or commission for money raised through advertising, sponsorships, sales or other activity that is traditionally considered 'non-gift.'

'This change strengthens our Code by eliminating any confusion about percentage-based compensation and making our standards uniform and consistent,' said Paulette Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. 'I'm also pleased that it is representative of current practice in the field.'

A new version of the AFP Code of Ethics will be available by December on the AFP website.

For more information on the change and its impact, contact the Ethics Committee at

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