The think tank Rogare announces a project to develop 'ethical fundraising'

Based at Plymouth University, it says the profession needs to be more consistent and must not change its ethics 'on the hoof'

Think tank: project on ethics
Think tank: project on ethics

The fundraising think tank Rogare has begun a project to develop a new theory of fundraising ethics to stop the profession from making its ethics up "on the hoof".

The think tank, based at Plymouth University, began the project two months ago but has decided to announce it earlier than initially planned in the light of the response to the Olive Cooke case.

A statement from Rogare said: "In a nutshell, the core of the theory we are developing is: ethical fundraising balances the duty of fundraisers to ask for support with the rights of other stakeholders not to be put under ‘undue’ pressure to donate."

Ian MacQuillin, director of Rogare, said he thought it was likely that the recommendation by the Fundraising Standards Board to impose a limit on the number of times a charity may contact individuals "would not strike the appropriate balance between duties to donors and beneficiaries".

He said: "The fundraising profession needs to adopt a consistent foundational theory of normative ethics to inform its applied ethical decisions. It cannot continue changing its professional ethics on the hoof every time someone outside the profession disagrees with it."

Rogare will continue its work on the paper through the summer, and MacQuillin said he hoped to bring in expertise from specialists in the professional ethics of other sectors.

The think tank will publish a working paper on the project shortly and will outline the full theory at the Institute of Fundraising Scotland conference in October.

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