AFP Code of Ethical Principles

Association of Fundraising Professionals

Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice

Statements of Ethical Principles 

(Adopted November 1991)

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) exists to foster the development and growth of fundraising professionals and the profession, to preserve and enhance philanthropy and volunteerism, and to promote high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. 

To these ends, this Code declares the ethical values and standards of professional practice that AFP members embrace and that they strive to uphold in their responsibilities for generating philanthropic support. 

Members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals are motivated by an inner drive to improve the quality of life through the causes they serve. They seek to inspire others through their own sense of dedication and high purpose. They are committed to the improvement of their professional knowledge and skills in order that their performance will better serve others. They recognize their stewardship responsibility to ensure that needed resources are vigorously and ethically sought and that the intent of the donor is honestly fulfilled. Such individuals practice their profession with integrity, honesty, truthfulness, and adherence to the absolute obligation to safeguard the public trust. 

Furthermore, AFP members: 

  • Serve the ideal of philanthropy, are committed to the preservation and enhancement of volunteerism, and hold stewardship of these concepts as the overriding principle of professional life; 
  • Put charitable mission above personal gain, accepting compensation only salary or set fee only; 
  • Foster cultural diversity and pluralistic values, and treat all people with dignity and respect;
  • Affirm, through personal giving, a commitment to philanthropy and its role in society;
  • Adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of all applicable laws and regulations; 
  • Bring credit to the fund-raising profession by their public demeanor; 
  • Recognize their individual boundaries of competence and are forthcoming about their professional qualifications and credentials; 
  • Value the privacy, freedom of choice, and interests of all those affected by their actions;
  • Disclose all relationships that might constitute, or appear to constitute, conflicts of interest:
  • Actively encourage all their colleagues to embrace and practice these ethical principles;
  • Adhere to several standards of professional practice in their responsibilities for generating philanthropic support. 

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