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6 areas of ethical standards

Embracing ethical standards might seem like just a way of avoiding trouble, but taking an ethical stance is more than just keeping opponents at bay.

During the AFP International Fundraising Conference, Don Baker of Baker Brown Consulting and Amy Coates Madsen of the Standards for Excellence Institute said that holding to an ethical standard, in addition to being the right thing, can help improve fundraising by ensuring that an organization is stronger and better run.

They said that embracing an ethical standard includes paying attention to the following areas:

  • Mission, strategy and evaluation. Mission and impact, planning strategically, organizational evaluation, program evaluation, strategic partnerships.
  • Leadership: board, staff and volunteers. Governance and fiduciary responsibility, executive supervision, performance and compensation, board effectiveness, succession planning and leadership development, board member independence, board meetings.
  • Legal compliance and ethics. Maintaining legal compliance, required public disclosures, reporting misconduct and whistleblower protection, conflicts of interest, ethics code.
  • Finance and operations. Financial budgeting, reporting and monitoring, internal controls and financial policies, administrative policies, risk management and insurance.
  • Resource development. Resource plan, sources of income, fundraising activities, donor relationships and privacy, acceptance of gifts, fundraising on behalf of the organization.
  • Public awareness, engagement and advocacy. Educating and engaging the public, annual report, advancing mission through public policy, advocacy policy, engaging in lobbying and political activity.

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