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Introduction to Ethics

Ethical standards and principles are the foundation for maintaining public trust, for every AFP member. AFP provides a self-governed process for addressing ethical concerns.

Ethics News of Note:

50 Years of the AFP Code of Ethics
For 50 years, the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards has served as the cornerstone of fundraising, identifying and promulgating the high standards that make ethical fundraising possible. And as the giving season gets into full swing, AFP will be celebrating the 50th anniversary throughout the rest of the year, reminding members—as well as donors and others—why the code is so important.

Ethics Hot Topic Page
The AFP Ethics Hot Topic Page provides an overview and answers to pertinent questions regarding Ethics in the Fundraising field.

Values Promoted by the AFP Code of Ethics
In September 2012, the AFP International Ethics Committee adopted the following overarching statement of values for the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards.  We invite your use of this document to share with your staff, your board, your donors and your constituency.

Complementary Codes of Ethics in Canada
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and Imagine Canada have a cooperative relationship in their areas of interest devoted to the advancement of philanthropy through the joint promotion of ethical issues in fundraising, research and advocacy.

AFP Launches Tool to Help Fundraisers Assess, Strengthen Ethical Performance
AFP is proud to launch an online survey tool that allows fundraisers to assess their individual ethical performance and strengthen ethical practice. The AFP Ethics Assessment Inventory™ (EAI) allows association members to examine the alignment between their personal ethical performance, that of the organizations in which they work and their peers within AFP.  

Emerging Issues

Ethical standards and principles are the foundation for maintaining public trust, and it is the goal of AFP to stay current and focused on emerging ethical issues. The follow are just some of the emerging issues articles and stories available for review.

New Accounting Standards on Reporting Fundraising Expenses
(July 30, 2007) The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) released new guidelines for the reporting of fundraising expenses by charitable organizations.

Behavior of Management, Supervisors Critical in Reinforcing Ethics
(July 9, 2007)  Employed adults ranked the behavior of management and direct supervisors as the top two factors contributing to the promotion of an ethical workplace, according to a new survey by audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory firm Deloitte & Touche USA.

AOL and Yahoo to Begin Charging to Send Emails
(Feb. 13, 2006) Both America Online (AOL) and Yahoo have announced they will begin charging commercial emailers a fraction of a cent for every message sent to one of their users.

Featured Articles and Papers

AFP provides a number of position papers and articles to help guide members through ethical concerns and issues. The follow are just some of the available articles and papers available for review.

Process for Development of AFP Position Papers
So how does AFP write and develop position papers?

Is There a Lake Wobegon Effect in Fundraising?
(Oct. 22, 2014) In honor of the 50th anniversary of AFP’s Code of Ethics, take the Ethics Assessment Inventory and find out how to improve your organization’s ethical performance. Don’t be afraid—you might find out you’re like those kids in Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon and be “above average” or better!

Position Paper: Face-to-Face Fundraising Guidelines (Canada)
These guidelines represent voluntary principles that apply to charitable organizations, non-governmental organizations, paid fundraisers and relevant third parties who utilize face-to-face fundraising as part of their fundraising activities.

Donor Bill of Rights

To ensure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, AFP and other fundraising organizations declare that all donors have the following rights.

International Ethics

"The ideas of philanthropy, trust and ethics are shared by people around the world, and everyone involved in the philanthropic process—no matter where they are—should know that that fundraisers are bound by a common set of standards and best practices."

Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE
Immediate Past President and CEO of AFP

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