Red Flags in Fundraising - A Recap
By Benjamin Mohler, ACFRE

As nonprofit leaders, our commitment to ethical fundraising isn't just about compliance—it's about defining the core of who we are and what we stand for.

These issues were addressed in a webinar for the AFP Greater San Fernando Valley Chapter titled, Red Flags in Fundraising – Been There, Done That (Unfortunately).

These recommendations were provided by a distinguished panel of speakers including Joy McKee, ACFRE, Mary Doorley Simboski, ACFRE, Scott Staub, ACFRE, and Ben Mohler, ACFRE.

Recommendations for Nonprofit Professionals

To navigate the complex ethical landscape of nonprofit fundraising, professionals should consider the following  steps:

  1. Educate and Train: Continuously educate your team on the ethical standards outlined in resources like the AFP Code of Ethics. Regular training sessions can help internalize these principles.

  2. Develop Clear Policies: Clearly articulate your organization’s ethical policies and ensure they are easily accessible to all staff. These policies should cover aspects from donor interactions to conflict of interest scenarios.

  3. Foster an Ethical Culture: Encourage an organizational culture that prioritizes ethics in every action. This can be supported by leadership that models ethical behavior and systems that reward integrity.

  4. Implement Robust Systems: Use systems that ensure transparency and accountability, such as transparent reporting mechanisms and secure data systems that protect donor information.

  5. Engage in Open Discussions: Regularly engage your team in discussions about ethical dilemmas and potential red flags. These conversations can prepare your team to handle real-world scenarios confidently.

  6. Mind Legal and Regulatory Requirements: Determine what parts of your organization is bound by state and federal regulations. Establish systems to check and update compliance. This includes dealing with outside organizations.

Stay tuned, later this year an updated version of the AFP Code of Ethics will be released along with samples and guidance for members.