Fifth International Summit on Fundraising Held in San Diego
April 11, 2008
(April 14, 2008) Representatives from fundraising associations in 12 countries met in San Diego for the fifth International Summit on Fundraising to discuss implementation and enforcement of codes of ethics, knowledge sharing, openness and transparency and professional development and certification. (Minutes and Action Points from the summit posted April 21, 2008. See Attachments, below.)
Summit attendees were:
- Yaële Aferiat, director, Union pour la Générosité, Paris, France;
- Lindsay, Boswell, chief executive, Institute of Fundraising, London, England;
- AFP Chair Timothy R. Burcham, CFRE;
- Mercedes de Campos de Oris de Roa, CFRE, president, AEDROA, Buenos Aires, Argentina;
- Bill Harrison, recorder;
- Robert Kawalko, president, Polish Fundraising Association, Krakow, Poland;
- Suk San Kim, MSW, Ph.D., president and CEO, ChildFund, Seoul, South Korea;
- Svitlana Kuts, president, Center for Philanthropy, Kyiv, Ukraine;
- Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP;
- Custódio Pereira, general director, Faculdades Integradas RioBranco, São Paulo, Brazil;
- Maj. Gen. Surat Sandhu, chair, South Asian Fund Raising Group, New Delhi, India;
- Sofie Vriends, head of policy programs, VFI, Dutch Association of Fundraising Organizations, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
- Sue-Anne Wallace, FAICD, MFIA, CEO, Fundraising Institute Australia, Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia;
- Andrew Watt, AFP chief programs officer;
- Young-Woo Choi, president and CEO, Doum & Naum Co. Inc., Seoul, South Korea; and
- Erik Zachrison, CEO and general secretary, Swedish Fundraising Council, Stockholm, Sweden.
Much of the work of previous summits, the first of which was held in Toronto in March 2003, has involved developing an International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising, a series of values and standards for the global fundraising community. Designed to be an overarching statement of macro-level principles that can unite all fundraisers, the statement was developed with input from more than 30 national fundraising associations around the world and approved unanimously in October 2006 at the fourth International Fundraising Summit in Noordwijkerhout, Holland.
In San Diego, the goal of the summit was to focus on four main areas and develop discuss specific action points for each:
- Update on associations’ implementation of the International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising
- Knowledge sharing
- Openness and transparency
- Professional development and certification
“In Australia, the statement has been absolutely seminal,” said Sue-Anne Wallace, FAICD, MFIA, CEO of the Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA). Charities see FIA in a new light, she explained, because the statement offers credibility and legitimacy. “It is difficult to argue with a statement that carries such weight, and it has helped in discussions with government.”
Enforcement and Transparency
Discussions also focused on enforcement, with some attendees noting that once an association has adopted the statement, it needs an ethics committee for enforcement in an independent and impartial manner. Some attendees suggested a tool kit that could be adapted to individual countries. In addition, attendees felt it would be more beneficial to take a proactive stance and emphasize education about ethical fundraising, rather than focusing on punitive action for ethics violations.
“Accountability and transparency are not solely a fundraising issue,” said Lindsay, Boswell, chief executive, Institute of Fundraising, London, England, “but rather a fundamental issue for boards, CEOs and all organizations.”
Trust in charities is an important issue in all countries, and Boswell noted that there is “a constant drip, drip, drip in the erosion of trust” in nonprofits. To deal with the issue, the Institute of Fundraising and other organizations are working together to promote better public understanding of how charities work and the benefits they bring to society.
The ImpACT (Improving Accountability, Clarity and Transparency) Coalition has committed to meet a number of principles, to promote six key themes through its work and to meet success criteria on which progress can be judged. In addition, the coalition seeks to represent the views of a wide range of nonprofit organizations, not only most of the top 100 fundraising charities, but also a broad representation of smaller voluntary organizations throughout the United Kingdom.
Education and Sharing Knowledge
All those present at the summit recognized the importance of sharing knowledge, from research on fundraising and philanthropy and legislation in various countries to spur giving (such as tax incentives) to information on capacity building and an international speakers bureau.
In addition, the importance of education was mentioned frequently throughout the day. What is needed—and when do fundraisers need it—for their professional development? Who trains the trainers, and how can that information be shared? What organization(s) should provide certificates, and would those certificates be recognized internationally? Attendees agreed that there should be shared information about training on different levels of the profession, as well as about which organizations (universities, colleges, associations, etc.) provide education and training in fundraising and nonprofit management in different countries.
The lively dialogue offered a view of the many similarities and some of the differences found in fundraising and philanthropy worldwide. Most importantly, it reaffirmed the importance of collaboration.