Posted by & filed under Board of Directors, Career Development, Ethics, Financial/Legal, Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications, Next Generation Philanthropy.

by AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Ethics Committee

De-stigmatization – An Odd Lesson for Ethics

There is a lot we can learn from various de-stigmatization initiatives that have captured the public’s attention of late. Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk Campaign for mental health is a shining example. Decades ago people were too ashamed to talk about depression or anxiety, and now it is commonplace to understand and appreciate that nearly one quarter of the entire workforce have a mental health struggle.

In an odd way, we need to de-stigmatize talking about ethics in fundraising and the charitable sector. People often have one of two reactions: It is either, “… our organization’s ethics are fine; it’s everyone else that has a problem,” or “… ethics? We don’t have the time or resources to worry about ethics.”

photo credit: vanhookc via photopin cc
photo credit: vanhookc

Talk About Ethics

Just like mental health, a bit of knowledge is a powerful thing. When you know what ethics actually are, the causes and symptoms of healthy (and unhealthy) ethics, and how to sustain balanced personal and organizational ethics, you have the ability to diagnose and remedy problems. Better yet, you are able to create and sustain operational excellence, increase and deepen your relationships, and be a leader for your donors and volunteers, who deserve your utmost respect.

The first place to start is to talk about ethics – to put ethics on your personal and organizational radar. One of the best places to begin is to acknowledge what you know and just as importantly what you don’t know. Ethics relates to governance matters such as a board’s fiscal responsibilities or care of duty for staff. Strategically, ethics relates to fundamental fundraising practices such as the integrity of your case for support. Ethics on an operational level can be about the information you use and share when it comes to determining a potential donor’s ability to give. Personally, ethics can even be about the level of information you share about a donor with whom you have worked during a job interview, and if you promise to “deliver” said donor to demonstrate your fundraising prowess.

At its core, ethics is all about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand where they are coming from – good, bad or indifferent. It is through the sharing of each other’s stories that we discover solutions to differences in values and ethical conundrums. Again, the key is to talk, to engage, and to do what’s right – together.

Share Your Story, and Help Build the Ethics Library

To that end, the Ethics Resources Committee of Greater Toronto is promoting AFP’s growing library of ethics case studies. These are reality-based overviews of ethical situations that executives in the charitable sector have faced and managed successfully. They are fascinating. The case studies are also excellent learning tools and are available for download.

The Committee has created a new case study template to chronicle new examples of challenging ethical situations. We invite you to share one of your stories anonymously so that others can learn and continue to understand best practices, and apply them as the highest level fundraising practitioner. When you talk and share, you and your organization succeed. Best of all, donors and volunteers will be moved to give and continue giving because they know at a fundamental level they can trust.

Please fill out the case study submission form to either suggest a new case study not already covered, or to submit your own case study example.

It’s a Big Deal

Chances are that whatever ethics challenge or success you have faced or are facing, someone else is in the exact same boat. One story at a time, we give staff and volunteer leaders the ability to make their charity and fundraising everything they can be.

Posted by & filed under Financial/Legal.

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ANN ROSENFIELD, MBA, CFRE

Recently MP Mr. Peter Braid (Kitchener-Waterloo) introduced Bill C-458 on October 31, 2012 and it passed First Reading.  One component of the bill is to amend the Income Tax Act to allow for charitable gifts made by an individual by the end of February to be deducted from their taxable income for the previous taxation year.

 

Less staff overtime in December? Another donation deadline – where’s the downside? Read more »

Posted by & filed under Congress, Financial/Legal.

Kate Lazier, LL.B.
Partner, Miller Thomson LLP

Over the last few years the public has been hungering for more information on charities.  As a fundraiser it is important to know what information is publicly available about your charity.

Congress has a wealth of information to help fundraisers and in my session we will examine the various sources of information that are available to your donors and the media.  For those who want to get a head start on looking into their charity’s public image, the CRA’s website has a searchable listing of registered charities.  This website provides instant access to information, including:

  • a charity’s name,
  • address,
  • contact information,
  • registration number,
  • designation (charitable organization, public foundation, or private foundation), and
  • T3010 information returns for past years (which includes the names of directors or trustees, finances, fundraising costs and employee salaries).

It is a good idea to check out the charity’s listing and ensure the information is accurate.

Kate Lazier of Miller Thomson LLP will be speaking at AFP Congress 2011 on “Maintaining a Stellar Public Image”