Survey on Ethics In Philanthropy

Ethics Still a Hot-Button Issue in Philanthropy, New Survey Finds

SAN DIEGO, March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ethics remain a hot-button issue in philanthropy, according to a new survey conducted by Giving Institute: Leading Consultants to Non-Profits, a Glenview, Ill.-based group comprised of the nation's leading professional consulting firms in the field. Results of the survey are being released at 1 p.m. today at the Association of Fundraising Professionals conference, being held in San Diego. 

More than half of the 445 total respondents to the survey were able to cite specific instances they had witnessed of unethical behavior over the course of their careers, with percentage-based commissions paid to fundraisers topping the list. 

Virtually all the respondents, who represent a cross-section of professionals who work with or within non-profit organizations, strongly agreed that ethical conduct is important as a component of philanthropic fundraising activities and that ethics should be important in philanthropy.

While those results might not be surprising, they are important for the general public to understand, as individuals must decide how and when to donate to charities. 

"Knowing that people in the field intend to follow ethical principles and think they are an important component of fundraising should bring confidence to donors," said George C. Ruotolo Jr., CFRE, chair of Giving Institute, which recently revised and strengthened its code of ethics, which was first developed more than 73 years ago, when the organization was known as the American Association of Fundraising Counsel.

Another interesting finding of the survey was that 83 percent of respondents felt that media reports of unethical behavior had damaged the fundraising profession. "While it's important for the media to shed light on those instances where organizations aren't living up to a strong ethical code, we at the Giving Institute feel this makes for an even stronger call for fundraising professionals to ascribe to a code of ethics that disallows the activities that tend to make headlines," Ruotolo said.


About Giving Institute: Leading Consultants to Non-Profits

Giving Institute, an international association of leaders in the philanthropic consulting field, is headquartered in Glenview, Ill. Its member firms have specialties in all areas of philanthropic consulting. Its mission is to advance the practice of philanthropy through research, education and best practices.

 For more information on the Institute, please visit its Web site at


CONTACT: Sharon Bond of Giving Institute, +1-847-530-1549, [email protected]

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