Why is it important that anyone seeking or receiving funds on behalf of the organization:
a. act with fairness, integrity, and in accordance with all applicable laws – Volunteers, employees, and contracted third parties engaged in fundraising should conform to all standards in Section C of Imagine Canada’s Standards program to ensure they are acting with fairness and integrity. The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Guidelines to the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards is another helpful resource for those seeking to act with fairness and integrity, outlining best practices and including examples of ethical and unethical conduct in fundraising.
Which laws may apply to those seeking or receiving funds on behalf of a nonprofit or charitable organization? The Canada Revenue Agency’s “Fundraising by Registered Charities: Guidance” presents the legal principles related to CRA’s regulation of charities under the Income Tax Act. The Province of Alberta’s Charitable Fundraising Act also applies to charities operating in Alberta.
b. cease contacting a prospective donor who states that he/she does not wish to be contacted – If an individual requests that he or she no longer be contacted, nonprofit and charitable organizations are required by law to respect his or her requests. (Alberta’s Charitable Fundraising Act states that if a person requests to not receive further solicitations or to be removed from donor lists, charitable organizations and fundraising businesses are obliged to comply with the individual’s requests.1) Organizations that fail to do so risk damaging relationships with individuals who may choose to support your cause again in the future but who are unlikely to do so if your organization does not respect their requests to cease contact. (Also see Standard C1.)
c. disclose immediately to the organization any actual or apparent conflict of interest or loyalty – The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Guidelines to the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards compels fundraisers to disclose to the organizations on behalf of which they are seeking funds any conflict of interest including any interests they or a family member have in a potential vendor firm or formal relationships they have with donors or potential donors.2 Although the Code is intended to apply to the members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, it presents best practices that can serve to guide any volunteer, employee, or third party engaged in fundraising for a charity or nonprofit. (See also Standard A12.)
d. not accept donations for purposes that are inconsistent with the organization’s mission – Accepting donations that are contrary to an organization’s mission can prevent nonprofits and charities from accomplishing their strategic goals or achieving their intended impacts. In order to ensure that they do not attract donations that are contrary to the organization’s mission, the Association of Fundraising Professionals has set the expectation of its members that all solicitation materials accurately describe the organization’s mission and the intended use of funds.2
How do organizations ensure that staff and volunteers (including board members) are meeting this standard? Evidence that the organization is meeting this standard may include a description of how individuals who fundraise on behalf of the organization are trained or how they are made aware of the organization’s fundraising policies.
From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising," Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.
- Charitable Fundraising Act, Province of Alberta, Alberta Queen’s Printer, November 1st 2010.
- “Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethical Principles and Standards,” Association of Fundraising Professionals, 2004.
Standards Reference Guide