The need to support programs and services is a source of never-ending pressure on nonprofits to fundraise, early and often. That need can often come across as unseemly, especially if a politician or journalist on the make sees an opportunity for a career-defining “exposure” and resulting grandstanding.
Because of that need, organizations in the philanthropic sector face seven common dilemmas.
- Tainted money. This refers to a conflict between an organization’s mission or identity and a source of funding;
- Compensation. Getting and keeping effective administrators and successful fundraisers can be an expensive proposition (and high salaries have served as another club with which to bash nonprofits), but compensation should never be tied to a percentage of funds raised. Bonuses are not a problem as long as they are not tied into money raised;
- Donors’ personal information. It should stay within the organization, not given to an outside fundraiser;
- Impropriety. Even the appearance of this can be a concern;
- Proper stewardship. Assurance that donors’ funding will be sued in accordance with their wishes is vital;
- Honesty and transparency with donors. This is a key to healthy relationships. It is important to provide complete and accurate information; and,
- Conflicts of interest. Business transactions between board members and the organization, for instance, should be addressed openly and undergo the same rules as other business transactions.