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Future Giving

How will fundraising (development) change in an increasingly diverse world? How will the aging of the Baby Boom generation and later generations impact both philanthropy and development?

What will the future hold in terms of giving from future generations? Think about the impact implications of large donors and donations and how these impact perspectives on social change and charity. Will donations always lead to positive social change?



must be at least 1 page and include:

an analysis of the impact of large donors and donations on the NGO/NPO, their approach and their focus.

Evaluate the perspective of change vs. charity.

Analyze whether donating will always result in positive social change.

Explain any potential detrimental impacts and their specific situations.

Ethical and Legal Considerations
Ethical and Legal Considerations
Program Transcript
NARRATOR: Resource development professionals must follow ethical and legal
guidelines to ensure that funding is acquired and used appropriately. In this video
program, Jon Gossett describes ethical issues that might arise in resource
development. He also explains how to address them.
JON K. GOSSETT: In our business, we’re entrusted, as nonprofit organizations,
with the privilege, not the right, but the privilege to nonprofit status. And we have
a trust that is really embodied by the work of the board of directors of nonprofit
organizations to conduct organizations in a legal and ethical fashion. I’m a
member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. And to be a member,
one has to be in accordance with the code of ethics.
I’d like to spend some time talking about several subcategories of ethics that I
think it’s important for any student of resource development in philanthropy to
think about. The first one may seem minor to a lot of people. But I think it’s
incredibly important, and it has to do with language.
I’ve heard people talk about hitting up donors, talking about, these are my
targets. And I have actually seen in public someone come onto a stage of a
theater and talk about using a tin cup. These are just images that, for the
profession, we don’t really want to create in the public minds. Because for all of
us who are dedicated to this field, we don’t think of ourselves– we’re not
beggars. We’re all working to improve the lot for society.
The second one has to do with the conflict that can be created between the
individual and the organization. I’m going to give you an illustration of that. Let’s
say that you’re approached by a particular benefactor who wants to provide a
large sum of money for a new program.
So you go back to your organization, and you talk about the funds and what the
donor wants to use them for. And the organization says, well, we’d love to have
the money, but we’re not going to do that program. Now, there may be some
opportunity still. There may be some give and take on, well, what would the funds
actually be used for?
But the conflict is to ever purport to use funds that a donor assumes are going to
be used for one project for a different project. And as the development
professional, it’s important to make sure that there’s transparency and that all
parties understand exactly how funds are going to be used.
©2015 Laureate Education, Inc.
Ethical and Legal Considerations
I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to go back to a donor and say, we’re so
happy that you want to do this project. We do not have the capability to do that
project, or it doesn’t fit into our program directives. We’d love to talk to you about
another opportunity, but that proposal will not work for us. So an individual in this
field will find themselves in a situation of having to make sure that there’s
transparency between all the parties.
The third area is competency. And there’s one thing to make sure that one is
competent in all the different aspects of fundraising resource development. It’s
not ethical for fundraiser resource development professional to give financial
advice or legal advice. And so it’s very important, particularly in the area of
planned giving, to not assume that because one has a relationship with an
individual that advice can be given in areas that aren’t appropriate.
I have developed very deep relationships with a number of people who I not only
care for professionally, but I also care about personally. But I never forget that
the basis of the relationship is the organization that I’m associated with and that
organization’s relationship with the donor. It is not appropriate to blur the line so
much that personal gain is created by the relationship.
And I’ve seen situations where, let’s say, a professional moves from one
organization to another organization and, let’s say, in the same community. The
organization assumes that, well, you’ll bring those donors to the new
organization. But that’s not really appropriate either. I mean, maybe a donor
might have an interest in both organizations. But the donor’s relationship is
primarily with the organization that it’s supporting, and it’s important not to forget
And that relates to the fifth, which is about putting mission first. Ethical dilemmas
will be avoided if the individual realizes that it’s the mission that comes first. And
that when gifts are leveraged and when actions are created, it’s with the mission
first rather than the interests of the individual parties.
In the area of ethics, there’s not a set of rules, absolute rules, on how to handle
ethical decisions. And there’s much discussion amongst board members and
staff members on what’s right, what’s acceptable, what’s not. And I want to give
you an example of a grey area, and it has to do with the sources of support.
I was working for a major vocal organization. And when I went into the
organization, they were receiving annual gifts for an area of their operation that
was not well-funded from other sources, and it was for youth. It was for voice
education and development programs. And the donor was a cigarette company,
tobacco company. It was part of a conglomerate. It was basically a tobacco
©2015 Laureate Education, Inc.
Ethical and Legal Considerations
And there was lots of concern about that. But so the bad was that there was a
product being created that was not healthy for people to consume. The problem
was that the program would have been discontinued without the support of that
company. And so the good was that all this wonderful work was being done with
young people and voice. So that’s an ethical decision.
I’ve been involved with organizations where the board has had to grapple with,
should funds from alcohol companies be accepted? Some people rationalize,
well, we would take money from beer and wine companies, but not hard liquor.
So it’s important for these discussions to be held and to be had. And sometimes
there isn’t a right or a wrong answer. But that’s why the board is in place is to
grapple with these kinds of ethical decisions.
In summary, I’d like to just really impress on everyone how important it is to
examine the ethical issues and make sure that the public trust is not broken. I
have a personal interest in this topic for everyone involved because I feel that
whenever the trust is broken with the public, I personally am affected because I’m
a part of this movement. And we’re all accountable to each other in making sure
that we are living by the proper standards.
©2015 Laureate Education, Inc.
Given increased public scrutiny of nonprofit ethics,
foundations need to communicate their core values
more explicitly. A code of ethics is a necessary beginning and an essential decision-making tool for
managing philanthropy’s toughest choices.
Foundation codes of ethics: Why do
they matter, what are they, and how
are they relevant to philanthropy?
Rushworth M. Kidder
IN THE FOUNDATION community, three questions should underlie
any discussion of codes of ethics: Why do they matter, what are
they, and how are they relevant to philanthropy?
First, they matter very little if they only hang on walls and do not
determine action. Second, they are not worth the paper they are
written on if they are platitudinous, verbose, unmemorable, or indistinguishable from an organization’s other statements about vision,
mission, strategy, specific conduct, or rules and regulations. Third,
they are stunningly irrelevant unless they provide real-time guidance to decision making in the tough world of philanthropic choices.
The need for such guidance dawned on the trustees of the Treer
Family Foundation (not its real name) not long ago as they sat
Note: The case in this chapter was written by Diane Neimann for the Council on Foundations Family Foundations Meeting, New York, February 9, 2004, and distributed by
the Institute for Global Ethics.
around their boardroom table. Judging by their faces, one of their
longest-standing grantees, the Community Health Clinic, was in
serious trouble. The trustees of the foundation, the leading philanthropic resource in the small city it served, were listening
intently to a report about the clinic from their senior program
officer, Charlene.
The clinic, a well-known local institution, was the sole source of
health care services for the area’s migrant population. As an organization serving impoverished outsiders, it regularly struggled to break
even. Over the years, it had depended heavily on Treer, and the
foundation had been happy to continue supporting its good work.
At Charlene’s request, however, clinic staff had provided detailed
(although as yet unaudited) financials for the current year. Looking at them, Charlene spotted some puzzling figures that, as she
worked with an accountant from the Treer family office, grew into
a major financial discrepancy. Alarmed, the two of them followed
the trail, only to have it lead to what looked like some serious selfdealing at the clinic. The issue centered on two members of the
clinic’s board of directors, who seemed to have deliberately steered
lucrative contracts toward firms in which they had significant personal and financial interests.
Hearing Charlene’s report, the trustees were divided about what
to do. To disclose the self-dealing publicly could have the effect of
closing down the already shaky clinic, which had no natural constituency in the community to speak up in its defense. The resulting impact on the health and well-being of migrant families and
children could be severe. One trustee, Tom Treer, argued strongly
against public disclosure. He pointed out that Charlene’s information had not come from an audit but from the foundation staff. He
also noted the inherent unfairness of penalizing an entire organization, and the community it served, rather than targeting the two
errant board members for punishment.
But his sister Sally, the board chair, argued that the foundation
had a responsibility to other donors who followed its lead. With its
commanding size and distinguished history, Treer was seen, rightly
or wrongly, as providing assurance about the quality and responsibility of the organizations it funded. It was assumed that a grant
from Treer constituted a kind of imprimatur, approving the grantee
and promising some oversight of its operations. While Sally did not
relish that role for the foundation, she accepted it as a fact. She
therefore argued that to preserve the foundation’s integrity, as well
as to protect other donors from supporting organizations with serious ethical challenges, the wrongdoers at the clinic should publicly
be held accountable, and the major grant should be withheld.
The issues facing the trustees of Treer revolved around the need
to choose between two courses of action that were both morally
right: between Tom’s sense of compassion and Sally’s sense of justice, his focus on immediate needs and her concern for long-term
implications. Such a standoff between competing principles characterizes much of what happens in the foundation community,
where finite resources constantly compel difficult up-or-down
choices among excellent proposals, programs, or personnel. These
are the toughest ethical decisions that individuals or organizations
can face, where the choice lies not between right and wrong but
between right and right.
How is this relevant to a code of ethics? The guidance behind
both kinds of choice comes from something akin to a code of
ethics—a statement of shared values that can usefully be applied
to decision making. For an individual, the guidance may derive
from core principles of character; for an organization, it may
arise from long-standing standards and practices. Behind each lies
a core of widely shared moral values.
Recent events in the field of philanthropy reveal the need for
such values, particularly in issues dealing with right and wrong.
News accounts about self-dealing at some of the nation’s littleknown foundations paint brazen portraits of private fiefdoms run
by family members who view the foundation’s wealth as still their
own—despite the fact that the family took significant tax deductions during the transfer. Meanwhile, stories about excessive perks
and lavish spending at some larger foundations are stirring
demands for greater self-regulation and stronger government oversight of philanthropy. That is not surprising. In today’s general climate of distrust of organizational integrity—evidenced in
corporations, government agencies, sports organizations, schools,
churches, and the nonprofit world—foundations too are being held
up for closer inspection. There are ever louder calls from philanthropy executives and outside observers for foundations to pay serious attention to these right-versus-wrong issues—and, in response,
a new $2.9 million initiative, announced early in 2004, from the
Council on Foundations to help foundation professionals adopt
ethical standards. Increasingly, foundation watchers are recognizing that foundations need to ensure, more self-consciously than
ever before, that their ethical barometers are not falling into negative territory.
Important as that work is, right-versus-wrong issues are not the
ones that most frequently face foundation executives and trustees.
The persistently tough questions usually fall into the right-versusright category, as they did at Treer. To be sure, a right-versus-wrong
problem involving serious conflicts of interest had generated the
trustees’ dilemma. But the trustees themselves had done nothing
amiss and were not subject to temptation. Their task was not to correct their own wrongdoing but to find the proper response to the
wrongdoing of others. Their need was to sort out an issue where
each side laid legitimate claim to the moral high ground, but
where both claims could not be honored at the same time.
In these two sorts of situations—right-wrong and right-right—
codes of ethics can play crucial roles. A right-versus-wrong temptation, by definition, involves a tension between one course of
action in keeping with a set of values and another wholly at odds
with those values. In that case, an application of the principles, values, and moral standards articulated in a code of ethics can help
alert the unwary to moral hazards, steer action away from the lure
of wrongdoing, and build recognition of the need for right-doing.
Right-versus-right dilemmas, by contrast, involve a tension
between two powerful values that may both be on the code of
ethics. Tom Treer’s view focused on dignity and respect for those
who (as the “Values” statement from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation puts it) “are most vulnerable in society.” His sister’s position
centered on the integrity of the foundation and the grant-making
process, squaring with what the David and Lucile Packard Foun-
dation’s “Values Statement” describes under the heading of
“Integrity” as the need to “encourage the highest possible standards
of conduct and ethics.” Both sides are right. But how the trustees
negotiate their way to a choice between the two poles of this
dilemma—or, better still, find a trilemma option or middle ground
partaking of the best of both sides—may well depend on the guidance they can derive from the long-standing ethical traditions and
practices of the foundation.
Such traditions were an essential ingredient when, several years
ago, the staff of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint,
Michigan, began creating its code of ethics. As they did so, they
found themselves in uncharted waters. “Ours was one of the early
ethics statements,” recalls Phillip H. Peters, vice president of the
administrative group and secretary-treasurer of the foundation.
With few other foundation codes to use as models, they turned
to the foundation’s internal documents. Ethics has been “part of
our doctrine here for years,” says Peters, part of the three-person
drafting team that also included the foundation’s counsel and a program officer with strong writing skills. “So it was not that difficult
to come up with a statement. Our biggest problem was to keep it
concise and simple.”
The resulting document fits on a single page. Telegraphing the
foundation’s ethical traditions, it leads with a quotation from its
founder, C. S. Mott, noting that “every person, always, is in a kind
of informal partnership with his community.” It continues with a
summary, short enough to be memorized and focused on three key
moral values: “Respect for the communities we work with and
serve; Integrity in our actions; [and] Responsibility for our decisions and their consequences.” It then fleshes out that summary
with eight commitments:
• We are committed to act honestly, truthfully, and with integrity in all
our transactions and dealings.
• We are committed to avoid conflicts of interest and the appropriate
handling of actual or apparent conflicts of interest in our relationships.
• We are committed to treat our grantees fairly and to treat every individual with dignity and respect.
• We are committed to treat our employees with respect, fairness, and
good faith and to provide conditions of employment that safeguard
their rights and welfare.
• We are committed to be a good corporate citizen and to comply with
both the spirit and the letter of the law.
• We are committed to act responsibly toward the communities in which
we work and for the benefit of the communities we serve.
• We are committed to be responsible, transparent, and accountable for
all of our actions.
• We are committed to improve the accountability, transparency, ethical conduct, and effectiveness of the nonprofit field.
Discussions of early drafts with trustees and staff focused on
tightening the language, removing redundancies, and making sure
nothing had been overlooked.
Has it made a difference? “I think it’s done more externally than
internally,” says Peters. Internally, he said, the ideas were already
“ingrained in our philosophy.” They have also found expression in
a more detailed document titled “Grantee Ethics,” a kind of code
of conduct for staff-grantee relations. Externally, however, the document has been held up as an example by the Council on Foundations and the Council on Michigan Foundations. Now, says Peters,
“people look to us for leadership in this area.”
That ability to communicate internally and externally is one of
the principal attributes of a good code. Typically, codes operate in
three ways. First, they reflect the moral history of the organization.
The most effective codes do not spring into being ab ovo. Instead,
they recognize and formalize the elements of ethical concern and
the patterns of values-based decision making that have grown up
over time in the organization. For that reason, organizations
emerging from serious ethical disarray often find that merely
adopting a code of ethics is of little help. For that reason, too, organizations with strong ethical traditions find that building a code of
ethics is simply one step toward a successful ethics program.
Second, codes define an organization’s shared moral values in
succinct, nonspecialist language. Those values typically bear close
resemblance to the five shared values—respect, responsibility, honesty, fairness, and compassion—that the Institute for Global Ethics
finds are common to cultures everywhere around the world. These
values tend to be more aspirational than descriptive, telling us more
about the direction the foundation wishes to go than the place it
already occupies. When the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, for
instance, lists “respect” as a key element of its code, it lays no claim
to perfection. It holds out no guarantee that its staff will never be
accused of disrespectful behavior. But it does undertake to put
respect in a priority position and strive toward ever-higher expressions of that powerful value.
Finally, codes communicate those values both internally and
externally. They speak to both the users within the foundation, who
turn to them for guidance, inspiration, or justification, and to
onlookers from outside, who seek assurance that the foundation not
only cares about ethics but is willing to commit to a public stand
for right. Communicating that commitment may be as simple as a
posting on a Web page or as robust as a laminated wallet card
accompanying a new-employee orientation session and an ongoing
training program. Either way, the language of the code is of crucial
importance. Codes that bristle with extensive and proscriptive regulations find little readership beyond those called on to enforce
them. By contrast, codes that speak in ordinary language, organized
in logical patterns and with a memorable message, can have widereaching impact. Communication is crucial: a code uncommunicated is tantamount to no code at all.
If the Treer trustees had had a code of ethics in place, would they
have deliberated any differently about their dilemma? Maybe not.
If the trustees had a long tradition of probing ethical discourse at
their meetings—or if, by contrast, they had no understanding of
the ethical dimensions of their behavior and no interest in developing it, a code alone might have made little difference. But few
boards live at these extremes. Most operate in a middle range
where they have some experience with ethical issues and realize the
importance of ethical decision making but need tools and frameworks for moving forward.
A code of ethics provides rudimentary tools and frameworks. At
the very least, it should help Tom recognize that Sally’s position is,
like his, highly ethical and help her do the same for him. After all,
each can trace the other’s views directly back to statements in a
code that was agreed on by the board in quieter and more reflective moments and that commits the trustees to seeking guidance in
a fully rounded set of ethical values.
The following points are useful in building a code of ethics:
• The best code is a brief code. It should be crisp, concise,
portable, even memorizable.
• A code of ethics is a statement of shared moral values. It
should articulate general principles, without trying to cover every
exigency that might arise.
• Ethics has been described as “obedience to the unenforceable.” Law, by contrast, is eminently enforceable. A code of ethics
provides broad guidelines, not narrow regulations. It should not
read like a set of ordinances or require legal expertise to interpret.
• A code of ethics should be positive, not negative. It should
address commitment to honesty, for example, rather than intolerance for dishonesty. Resist off-putting proscriptions and schoolmarm hectoring.
• Codes are not mottos meant to market ideas in catchy sound
bites. They are not mission statements that define future objectives. They are not vision statements articulating lofty ideals worth
striving for but rarely reached. No code should carry more than it
can bear.
• For the broadest buy-in, the code of ethics should focus on
universal values such as honesty, responsibility, respect, fairness,
and compassion. It should not be a statement of organizational
strategy. Save such words as learning, results, personnel, flexibility, and
focus for other foundation-generated documents accompanying the
code and addressing commitment to standards of best practice.
Again, let the code be just the code.
• A code of conduct is a useful adjunct to a code of ethics. Codes
of conduct can be quite specific, discussing self-dealing, nepotism,
trustee compensation, conflict of interest, transparency, donor
intent, and other foundation-specific issues. Consider having both.
• Building a code is more important than having a code. A code
of ethics requires revisiting, so that new staff and trustees feel as
passionate about it as those who put it together. Having a simple
training program, and designating someone to pay special attention to ethical issues, can help ensure its ongoing effectiveness.
• An effective code should be user-friendly internally and
appealing externally. The test of a good code is not that it sits on a
Web site or hangs on the wall but that it changes behavior inside
the foundation and among grantees, nonprofits, and the field of
In a world in which discourse is increasingly polarized by
extremist views and in which argumentation is sometimes seen as
a blood sport where victory goes to those who utterly destroy the
opponent, a code of ethics provides a moderating influence. The
ability of trustees to find common ground even as they disagree
forcefully helps ensure that discussion does not descend into rant,
that professional differences do not turn into personal animosities,
and that a compromise on policy is not seen to be a cave-in on values. As John F. Kennedy (1956) observed about real-world debates,
there are “few if any issues where all the truth and all the right and
all the angels are on one side” (p. 5). As issues heat up around the
boardroom table, a good code of ethics helps remind us of that fact.
Kennedy, J. F. Profiles in Courage. New York: HarperCollins, 2000. (Originally
published 1956.)
rushworth m. kidder is president of the Institute for Global Ethics in
Camden, Maine.

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