Fundraising associations adopt international code

The Institute of Fundraising has joined 23 other associations from around the world to approve the first common code of ethics for international fundraisers.

The International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising has no legal status, but does require member charities in each country to commit to five common principles: honesty, respect, integrity, empathy and transparency.

The statement, which was signed at the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands last week, will form a starting point for countries drawing up their own rules and regulations.

Simon Collings, chief executive of Resource Alliance, which runs the IFC, said: "In every part of the world, credibility and trust in fundraising is critical."

The project was led by the Institute of Fundraising's US counterpart, the AFP, and was facilitated by the Resource Alliance. Associations committed to the statement include those from Europe, Australia and Africa. Each association will ask its executive board to adopt the statement by next February. There is also a suggestion that member charities operating internationally could become involved.

"It is my aim that major international charities will promote the statement by carrying its logo on their document," said Collings.

One standard of practice that could spark controversy requires fundraisers not to accept percentage commission payments on the money they raise.

In some countries, such as Brazil, percentage payments are considered the only ethical remuneration for fundraisers. In a statement, the associations stressed those who don't agree will be "supported in the process of change".

THE STATEMENT

Five universal principles for acting as a fundraiser:

- Honesty Fundraisers shall at all times act honestly and truthfully

- Respect Fundraisers shall at all times act with respect for the dignity of their profession

- Integrity Fundraisers will act openly and with regard to their responsibility for public trust

- Empathy Fundraisers will value individual privacy, freedom of choice and diversity in all forms

- Transparency Fundraisers stimulate clear reports about the work they do.

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