Ethical Considerations in Fundraising

Ethical Considerations in Fundraising

Non-profit organizations play a crucial role in alleviating suffering for less fortunate in society. In this era of technology, non-profit organizations use the internet to reach out to global donors. However, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) recommends that all non-profit organizations adhere to ethical standards that regulate the code of practice and solicitation of funds from donors. After reading the third chapter of Sargeant, Shang, and Associates (2010), I think I can relate unprofessional experiences with some non-profit organizations. I have experienced some incidents over the internet while the other appeared in a local supermarket about a year ago. Non-profit organizations should uphold professional standards when soliciting for funds.

Professional donors should maintain and enhance volunteerism by upholding stewardship when soliciting funds. Last week I came across a post on Facebook from one of the charity organizations. The organization was soliciting funds to help orphans. I was curious to know how the organization intended to use the funds. After posting a comment on the post, I received a text from my inbox stating that I was under no authority to know how the organization spends my donation. According to Sargeant, Shang, and Associates (2010), fundraisers should uphold professional values that promote and enhance volunteerism. The AFP (2019) further explains that charity organizations should practice their profession with truthfulness, honesty, and integrity. I became suspicious after the charity organization denied me access to information that could have helped me validate how they intended to spend my contribution.

The second incident occurred outside a local supermarket. I was shopping with my grandfather when a stranger greeted us and said that he was working for a non-governmental organization that helps the elderly. He told us that if we did not mind, we could contribute to the organization’s welfare. He took out a flyer from his pocket and handed me one. My father was holding a cigar, so I asked if he could give my father one of the flyers as well. He explained that smokers could not contribute to charity. I was in a dilemma, and when I asked him the name of the church, he waved and walked away. According to Sargeant, Shang, and Associates (2010), fundraisers should respect donors, act under ethical standards, and uphold self-regulation through full disclosure. I do not think that the fundraiser behaved professionally.

Any person assuming to serve public good must start by winning public trust. Today, donors are curious about how charities spend their donations. It is advisable that organizations earn the trust of donors by availing full information about their activities.  I have encountered non-profit fundraisers that prompted me to donate without questioning their integrity, even if I had not met them before. AFP (2019) discusses that AFP members should inspire others to serve through enhancement of interests of donors, promotion of the welfare of givers, and exhibition of concern for people affected by their actions. In the second incident, the person did not give us additional information about the charity organization. His actions made us question the integrity of the charity organization, even if we were willing to donate.

Charity organizations are stewards. They volunteer to serve the welfare of the less fortunate by soliciting funds from public donors. To win the support of donors, they have to uphold professional standards that promote the integrity of the sector. They should show concern for the giver, respect the privacy of the donor, and provide all information that the donor may seek. In case the donor doubts the integrity of the organization, the non-profit fundraiser must volunteer and commit to avail any detail as outlined in the AFP code of practice.

Code of ethical practice: Adopted 1964. (2019). Association of Fundraising Professionals. Retrieved from

Sargeant, A., Shang, J., & Associates (2010). Fundraising principles and practice. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA.


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