Ehics are perhaps the most important aspect of our work. How we treat others, the rules by which we play, our true intent and action, are determined by our ethics. At the Community Foundation being highly ethical is critical to our work, now and for the future.
In our lobby hang two codes of ethics which I strive to live up to. The AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) Code of Ethical Principles and Standards, and the PPP (Partnership for Philanthropic Planning) Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner. Although not necessary directly applicable to everything the Foundation does, I consider these to be roadmaps for our thinking and conduct. They’re too long to recite, but I have included links to both at the bottom of this column.
Contained in AFP code are more than the usual words such as integrity, honesty, truthfulness, and trust. Specific standards are detailed about the considerations, questions, and disclosures which must be followed. There are detailed rules for ethics as relate to compensation, contracts, and solicitation. I am proud to share that I do revisit these rules frequently and have worked diligently over the past years to incorporate these standards into our Foundation policies and procedures. In many ways these standards go beyond the National Standards developed for Community Foundations, which we proudly follow, because they drive into the way we handle new and ongoing relationships with donors and professional advisors.
I was reminded how important these standards are when I recently heard about a fundraiser working on commission, which is not considered ethical even when disclosed to the donor and the charity. So, whatever your position or relationship with philanthropy, I would encourage you to take a look at these codes of ethics. Understanding, following, and promoting ethical behavior, particularly as relates to generous donors, results in meaningful philanthropy. What could be more important!
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Chris Askin, President & CEO,
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