Ethics for Fundraisers

Ethics for Fundraisers

Ethics for Fundraisers

Ethics for Fundraisers


"The book will equip nonprofit staff and volunteers, professionals, and grantmakers with frameworks for understanding and taking principled action and preventing bad behavior." -- The Fund Raising Professional

"This book displays a rare combination of philosophical sophistication and practical savvy that will distinguish it in the arenas of fundraising and nonprofit management. It is a thought-provoking analysis of the ethics of nonprofit administration." -- Kenneth E. Goodpaster, Koch Endowed Chair in Business Ethics, University of St. Thomas

"[Anderson's] thoughtful, timely, and welcome new study brings to serious practitioners a much needed and clear set of ethical principles." -- James P. Shannon, Council on Foundations

"The book has the potential to become the basic primer in ethics for professional fund raisers." -- National Society of Fund Raising Executives Research Prize Jury


This is a book in applied ethics—ethical decision-making for practitioners in the work of philanthropy: nonprofit staff and volunteers, professionals and grantmakers who play their distinctive roles in causes they are united to support in great part by raising and distributing private gifts and grants.

While the book should prove to be of value to all who are interested in philanthropy, its primary aim is to enhance the level of ethical fundraising throughout the nonprofit sector by equipping development professionals and volunteers with the frameworks for understanding and taking principled action, for preventing unethical behavior, and thus for building bridges of trust to the charitable community.

To the casual observer the book may seem out of touch with contemporary lifestyles. In a culture characterized by pervasive moral ambiguity, where just about anything not illegal goes, talk about virtue, character, and principled behavior seems oddly out of date or downright silly. Who needs it?

Unfortunately, the question is not merely colloquial. Astute observers of society suggest we have lost our traditional moral bearings. We are cast about—to defile the scriptural simile—by every wind of relativism. Where once we could rely on parental, religious, or educational doctrine to give us firm if not always palatable direction, things have changed. Moral authority is no longer what it was. Item: familial persuasion is impotent or absent when violent crime among children, who seem puzzled by questions about conscience, is growing. Unaccustomed to moral decision‐ making, atrophied since youth, we delegate it elsewhere. If our rights to live as we please seem threatened, the first rule is to see an attorney and rely on the law to secure them.

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