AFP Code of Ethics


(Adopted 1964; amended Oct 2014)

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The Association of Fundraising Professionals believes that ethical behavior fosters the development and growth of  fundraising  professionals  and  the  fundraising  profession  and  enhances  philanthropy  and  volunteerism. AFP Members  recognize  their  responsibility  to  ethically  generate  or  support ethical  generation  of  philanthropic support. Violation of the standards may subject the member to disciplinary sanctions as provided in the AFP Ethics
Enforcement Procedures. AFP members, both individual and business, agree to abide (and ensure, to the best of their ability, that all members of their staff abide) by the AFP standards.

Public Trust, Transparency & Conflicts of Interest

Members shall:

  1. not engage in activities that harm the members’ organizations, clients or profession or knowingly bring the profession into disrepute.
  2. not engage in activities that conflict with their fiduciary, ethical and legal obligations to their organizations, clients or profession.
  3. effectively disclose all potential and actual conflicts of interest; such disclosure does not preclude or imply ethical impropriety.
  4. not exploit any relationship with a donor, prospect, volunteer, client or employee for the benefit of the members or the members’ organizations.
  5. comply with all applicable local, state, provincial and federal civil and criminal laws.
  6. recognize their individual boundaries of professional competence.
  7. present and supply products and/or services honestly and without misrepresentation.
  8. establish the nature and purpose of any contractual relationship at the outset and be responsive and available to parties before, during and after any sale of materials and/or services.
  9. never knowingly infringe the intellectual property rights of other parties.
  10. protect the confidentiality of all privileged information relating to the provider/client relationships.
  11. never disparage competitors untruthfully.

Solicitation & Stewardship of Philanthropic Funds

Members shall:

  1. ensure that all solicitation and communication materials are accurate and correctly reflect their organization’s mission and use of solicited funds.
  2. ensure that donors receive informed, accurate and ethical advice about the value and tax implications of contributions.
  3. ensure that contributions are used in accordance with  donors’ intentions.
  4. ensure proper stewardship of all revenue sources, including timely reports on the use and management of such funds.
  5. obtain explicit consent by donors before altering the conditions of financial transactions.

Treatment of Confidential & Proprietary Informaton

Members shall:

  1. not disclose privileged or confidential information to unauthorized parties.
  2. adhere to the principle that all donor and prospect information created by, or on behalf of, an organization or a client is the property of that organization or client.
  3. give donors and clients the opportunity to have their names removed from lists that are sold to, rented to or exchanged with other organizations.
  4. when stating fundraising results, use accurate and consistent accounting methods that conform to the relevant guidelines adopted by the appropriate authority.

Compensation, Bonuses & Finder’s Fees

Members shall:

  1. not accept compensation or enter into a contract that is based on a percentage of contributions; nor shall members accept finder’s fees or contingent fees.
  2. be permitted to accept performance-based compensation, such as bonuses, only if such bonuses are in accord with prevailing practices within the members’ own organizations and are not based on a percentage of contributions.
  3. neither offer nor accept payments or special considerations for the purpose of influencing the selection of products or services.
  4. not pay finder’s fees, commissions or percentage compensation based on contributions.
  5. meet the legal requirements for the disbursement of funds if they receive funds on behalf of a donor or client.