Ethical Considerations

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It is essential for any foundation to display an ethical attitude in the community. Ethical conduct in fundraising is not optional, and appropriate fundraising ethics, in particular, can bring in good business. If a nonprofit foundation performs unethical activities, society will put pressure on the nonprofit to make it act ethically. (Warwick, 2000, 276). The nonprofit organization can develop its own code of ethics. Following is a list of steps for developing a code of ethics. The list is adapted after Bryce (2000, p. 590).


    1) State the mission of the nonprofit organization.
    2) Identify the values needed to accomplish the mission.
    3) Identify the target population that the nonprofit’s activity will affect.
    4) Identify responsibilities in the interaction within the nonprofit, as well as between the nonprofit and other institutions.
    5) Establish the ethical norms that will govern this interaction.
    6) Reach agreement on these norms within your nonprofit.
    7) Designate the board of trustees or any other authority within the foundation to oversee these norms.
    8) Review your norms periodically.

It is important for a nonprofit foundation to become known. This entails communicating with media. There are many reasons why communication tools are not used effectively by foundations. They include lack of resources, negative experiences, attitude problems, and inexperienced professionals who believe their work speaks for itself. Bonk, Griggs, and Tynes (1999, p. 4) suggest building a team to be involved in creating and maintaining a positive image of the organization. Even if your school foundation is not very large, you still must make sure people hear of it. A good image is essential to the foundation’s fundraising, development, and credibility. Bonk et al. recommend that the communication team have clear goals before taking action. These goals could be “enhancing visibility and name recognition, increasing fundraising, recruiting more members and volunteers, reforming public institutions, improving and increasing service delivery and awareness of public concerns, and turning around media coverage.” (Bonk et al., 1999, p. 7-8)


  • Bonk, K., Griggs, H., & Tynes, E. (1999). The Jossey-Brass guide to strategic communications for nonprofits. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Bryce, H.J. (2000). Financial and strategic management for nonprofit organizations: a comprehensive reference to legal, financial, management, and operations rules and guidelines for nonprofits (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Warwick, M. (2000). The five strategies for fundraising success: a mission based guide to achieving your goals. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.