Friday, September 11, 2009

Fundraising Section Overview

The following post was written by Kelly Rowan, Outreach & Resource Manager for the Charities Review Council.

Fundraising is an essential part of ensuring that nonprofits can continue to provide their critical services to improve our communities. While nonprofits strive to proactively seek funds, they must be conscientious in following ethical practices that will ensure the upkeep of trust for the organization, and respect for the sector as a whole among donors.

Throughout this public input phase of our Standards Revision Project, we’ve been holding focus groups, town hall style meetings, and inviting input and comments here in this blog forum. The suggestions we’ve heard regarding this Fundraising section of the new draft Standards have led us to consider combining and re-drafting this section of the originally proposed Standards as follows.

Fundraising Disclosures
The responsible actions of both donors and nonprofits promote and sustain a climate
of giving. Fundraising methods should therefore be ethical and honest and
encourage the donor to give voluntarily, based on their interest and knowledge
of the purpose, programs, and achievements of the nonprofit. All information
provided in connection with solicitations is accurate and not misleading.

Print, email, and electronic solicitations clearly describe the purpose or
programs for which the contributed funds will be used and identify the nonprofit
that will receive the contribution. The donor is provided with the address or
phone number of the nonprofit.

Soliciting Practices
Donors are entitled to know
who is soliciting their gift and what portion of their gift will be received by
the nonprofit.

Solicitors who are not employees or volunteers of the
  • Identify themselves in each solicitation as professional fundraisers,
  • Upon request, provide the name and address of their employer or contracting

If the nonprofit is engaged in cause-related marketing or its name is used in
connection with an event, or the sale or marketing of goods or services, upon
request, the nonprofit or persons authorized by the nonprofit to utilize the
nonprofit’s name provides accurate information about the percentage of gross
revenue that is paid to the nonprofit.

Donor Financial Information Security
A nonprofit should protect all private financial information provided by donors.

The nonprofit provides a secure environment for collecting online and
offline donations, and maintains internal controls governing the safekeeping of
all confidential donor financial and personal information.

Donor Privacy
A nonprofit should protect the privacy of donors and disclose when information is
collected about them and how this information is used. Donor information should
not be shared outside of the nonprofit without donor consent. A nonprofit should
also offer a way for donors to have their name removed from solicitation or
other mailing lists.

A nonprofit does not share donor
information without consent and provides a privacy policy on its website or by
request that describes how donor information is collected and used and provides
for donors to "opt-out" to make their private information available. A nonprofit
has a board-approved discontinue contact policy guaranteeing that donors can be
removed from solicitation and other mailing lists.

Adhering to these basic expectations regarding fundraising lays an important foundation for establishing a meaningful, trusting relationship between donors and nonprofits. A report by Independent Sector shows the negative impact of distrust—as well as the potential for increased giving in a more trusting environment: donors who have high confidence in charities give approximately 50 percent more annually than do donors who express low confidence. In the Council’s own Public Trust survey, most Minnesotans (83 percent) said that their general trust in charities influences their charitable giving.

We hope you’ll weigh-in regarding these most recent changes to the draft Standards. Are there important fundraising expectations that are not covered here? Also, you can always view the entire list of new proposed Standards here.

No comments: