• Practice our profession with integrity, honesty, truthfulness and adherence to the absolute obligation to safeguard the public trust;
  • Act according to the highest standards and visions of our organization, profession, and conscience;
  • Put philanthropic mission above personal gain;
  • Inspire others through our own sense of dedication and high purpose;
  • Improve our professional knowledge and skills in order that our performance will better serve others;
  • Demonstrate concern for the interests and well-being of individuals affected by our actions;
  • Value the privacy, freedom of choice and interests of all those affected by our actions;
  • Foster cultural diversity and pluralistic values, and treat all people with dignity and respect;
  • Affirm, through personal giving, a commitment to philanthropy and its role in society;
  • Adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of all applicable laws and regulations;
  • Advocate within our organizations, adherence to all applicable laws and regulations;
  • Avoid even the appearance of any criminal offense or professional misconduct;
  • Bring credit to the fundraising profession by our public demeanor;
  • Encourage colleagues to embrace and practice these ethical principles and standards of professional practice; and
  • Be aware of the codes of ethics promulgated by other professional organizations that serve philanthropy.

Following are the Standards of Professional Practice, part of the AFP’s Code of Ethical Principles.

Professional Obligations

  1. Members shall not engage in activities that harm the member’s organization, clients, or profession.
  2. Members shall not engage in activities that conflict with their fiduciary, ethical, and legal obligations to their organizations and their clients.
  3. Members shall effectively disclose all potential and actual conflicts of interest; such disclosure does not preclude or imply ethical impropriety.
  4. Members shall not exploit any relationship with a donor, prospect, volunteer or employee to the benefit of the member or the member’s organization.
  5. Members shall comply with all applicable local, state, provincial, federal, civil and criminal laws.
  6. Members recognize their individual boundaries of competence and are forthcoming and truthful about their professional experience and qualifications.

Solicitation and Use of Charitable Funds

  1. Members shall take care to ensure that all solicitation materials are accurate and correctly reflect the organization’s mission and use of solicited funds.
  2. Members shall take care to ensure that donors receive informed, accurate and ethical advice about the value and tax implications of potential gifts.
  3. Members shall take care to ensure that contributions are used in accordance with donors’ intentions.
  4. Members shall take care to ensure proper stewardship of charitable contributions, including timely reports on the use and management of funds.
  5. Members shall obtain explicit consent by the donor before altering the conditions of a gift.

Presentation of Information

  1. Members shall not disclose privileged or confidential information to unauthorized parties.
  2. Members shall adhere to the principle that all donor and prospect information created by, or on behalf of, an organization is the property of that organization and shall not be transferred or utilized except on behalf of that organization.
  3. Members shall give donors the opportunity to have their names removed from the lists that are sold to, rented to, or exchanged with other organizations.
  4. Members shall, when stating fundraising results, use accurate and consistent accounting methods that conform to the appropriate guidelines adopted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)* for the type of organization involved. (*In countries outside of the united States, comparable authority should be utilized.)

Compensation

  1. Members shall not accept compensation that is based on a percentage of charitable contributions; nor shall they accept finder’s fees.
  2. Members may accept performance-based compensation, such as bonuses, provided such bonuses are in accord with prevailing practices within the members’ own organizations, and are not based on a percentage of charitable contributions.
  3. Members shall not pay finder’s fees, commissions or percentage compensation based on charitable contributions and shall take care to discourage their organizations from making such payments.

Developed by:
American Association of Fund Raising Counsel (AAFRC)
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP)
Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)