New guidelines for ethical fundraising from the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation (DMANF) define transparency and a clear mission statement as critical aspects to a successful nonprofit strategy. It all comes down to building a foundation of trust with donors, who expect the organizations they support to operate at high standard of ethics, regardless of financial results.
Earlier this month the DMANF’s ethics committee and advisory board adopted the Fundraising Principles and Best Practices for Accountability in Fundraising [PDF], which outlines four "General Principles" for it's members to adhere to:
- Establish a clear mission statement describing what you do and why. This helps donors determine whether it is a cause they want to endorse.
- Act in a way that furthers your overall mission, including ethical use of resources that are consistent with the stated mission objectives.
- In your messaging to donors, accurately describe how you spend your money and how it follows the established mission statement.
- Comply with relevant laws and regulations at both the federal and state level.
Also covered in the document is the use of funds and the cost of fundraising, which details how important fundraising is for acquiring and retaining donors both as a short- and long- term investment. Without this primary source of unrestricted financial support, nonprofits would fail at delivering their mission and no longer be viable.