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News & Press: AFP-GHC

Inaugural Ethics Awareness Month Recognizes the Importance of Ethical Fundraising

Tuesday, October 1, 2019  
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The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Houston Chapter will be celebrating October as Ethics Awareness Month, an international campaign to highlight the importance of ethics in fundraising and philanthropy and the impact it has on the world.


AFP, which was founded in 1960 to create a code of ethics for the fundraising profession, serves 32,000 fundraisers around the world who work to generate philanthropic funding for a wide variety of charitable causes. AFP adopted its official Code of Ethical Standards in 1964, helping to foster the development and growth of fundraising professionals to enhance philanthropic and volunteer initiatives. The 25 standards in AFP’s Code address issues such as privacy, stewardship of funds, professional responsibilities and compensation, including a prohibition on accepting commissions or percentage-based fundraising.


“Ethics is critical all the time in fundraising because it is essential that donors and the public trust charities in order for philanthropy to occur,” said Sara Wise, AFP-GHC President. “But in October, we want to shine a special spotlight on the ethical safeguards fundraisers have in place through the AFP Code of Ethics, the only enforceable code of ethics in the profession.”


The standards in AFP’s code not only serve as ethical guidelines and best practices for members, but also foster the core principles of ethical fundraising – trust, integrity, and respect – that serve as the foundation for philanthropy and the impact that donors, volunteers, business and others have on the world.


“Without ethics and our ethical standards, fundraising is simply not possible and philanthropy—voluntary action for the common good—wouldn’t exist,” said Wise. “That’s what we’re celebrating with Ethics Awareness Month—that we have these standards to help charities navigate the ever-changing world of professional fundraising and create gifts that can transform our communities. It’s incredibly inspiring!”


October is an opportune time to focus on ethics because it is the beginning of the “giving season,” the last quarter of the year when most charities receive one-third to one-half of their overall yearly funds. And as stories surrounding charitable gifts from controversial donors come to light, fundraisers and charities can use Ethics Awareness Month to review their fundraising processes and practices, ensure they are abiding by the highest ethical standards, and demonstrate to the public their commitment to ethics and donor trust.


“Fundraising is all about building trust and respect, and developing thoughtful relationships with people, tuning into the emotional aspect of why individuals and businesses choose to make charitable contributions in the first place,” said Wise.  “We must ensure ethical standards are at the center of our fundraising decisions and never lose sight of the relationships—and the respect we owe our donors and supporters—that ultimately benefit our communities and all society.”


For more information surrounding Ethics Awareness Month and to view the AFP Code of Ethics, please visit

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