Mission Is Key in Direct Marketing Group’s New Fundraising Principles

A well-defined mission and transparency are critical elements in new guidelines for nonprofit fundraising.

Successful fundraising is built on trust: That’s the message underlying new guidelines for ethical fundraising from the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation.

“Donors expect nonprofits to be accountable and transparent,” Senny Boone, general counsel for DMANF, said in a statement. “The new principles serve as key reminders to organizations that they hold a public trust. Legitimate nonprofit organizations seek to fulfill their missions using the highest ethical fundraising standards, and these principles are meant to provide the appropriate guidelines.”

Fundraising Principles and Best Practices for Accountability in Fundraising [PDF], adopted earlier this month by DMANF’s ethics committee and advisory board, outlines four general guidelines, which the organization is asking its members to adhere to:

  1. Nonprofits must have a well-defined mission statement describing what they do and why. Clear articulation of mission helps donors determine whether this is a cause and organization that they will choose to support.
  2. Nonprofits must act in a way that furthers their mission. This includes responsible use of resources consistent with their stated mission objectives.
  3. Messaging to donors must be accurate and transparent. A nonprofit organization must accurately describe how it spends its money, and must do what it promises to do.
  4. Nonprofits must apply good-faith effort to comply with relevant federal and state laws and regulations.

“Fundraising to the general public is a key function of nonprofits because in most cases this is the primary source of unrestricted financial support,” DMANF said in the guidelines. “Without donors, and without fundraising activities to acquire and retain these donors, nonprofits could not remain active and their mission delivery would no longer be viable. Fundraising is both a short- and long-term investment in the mission of the organization.”

The document also looks into the use of funds and the cost of fundraising, and makes recommendations for working with third-party or commercial partners.

DMANF plans to host ethics compliance webinars and training for members in the coming months.


Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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