"Fund raisers, given their flaws and fineness, working in flawed and fine institutions with flawed and fine clients, need to carry out their everyday tasks of decency and joy here and now. . . . This book is about thinking with care and grace about everyday grit."
In her brilliant and provocative new book, Ethical Decision Making in Fund Raising, author and philosophy professor Marilyn Fischer provides conceptual tools with which a nonprofit can thoroughly examine the ethics of how and from whom it seeks donations. Using the book's Ethical Decision-Making Model, the author explains how fund raisers can use their basic value commitments to organizational mission, professional relationships, and personal integrity as day-to-day touchstones for making balanced, ethical, fund-raising decisions.
For ethically troubling situations that have no clear-cut solutions, the book shows how to frame these dilemmas as ongoing dramatic narratives. Using conceptual tools of sympathetic understanding, attention to social and temporal context, and clusters of philanthropic virtues, the Ethical Decision-Making Model guides us in thinking our way to ethically sound resolutions. Through this process, we can sustain and enrich the circle of giving of the philanthropic gift economy.
The book also examines day-to-day issues of fund raising: privacy and confidentiality; conflicts of interest such as finder's fees and commission-based pay; corporate philanthropy, including sponsorships and cause-related marketing; and fostering cultural diversity. Each chapter concludes with discussion questions and additional case studies for readers' reflection and analysis.
Ethical Decision Making in Fund Raising is a fascinating look at the history of philanthropy in its many social forms and historical contexts, as well as an exuberant manifesto for nonprofits on making clear ethical thinking an effective corporate tool.
From the Inside Flap
". . . this is not a visionary book. . . . My aim in this book is to help people of ordinary decency and ordinary courage to accomplish their purposes, to help them build organizations in which sainthood is not a requirement for success, but where having ordinary decency and courage is enough." With these words, author and philosophy professor Marilyn Fischer poses questions, offers guidance, and outlines a practical decision–making model nonprofits can use as they decide how and from whom to solicit donations. Part philosophical treatise on the nature of giving and community and part commonsense manifesto on ethics as a tool, Ethical Decision Making in Fund Raising outlines a course of action for the CEO and staff of a nonprofit that gives life to a nonprofit’s core values organizational mission, relationships, and integrity and its faith in our common humanity. A handbook for ethical reasoning and discussion, Ethical Decision Making in Fund Raising provides resources with which fund raisers can analyze ethically troubling situations and make choices for their organizations. Ethics and its expression in the workplace are framed and examined in the form of an ongoing narrative, not unlike life itself. When viewed from the perspectives of all the personalities involved, an ethical dilemma faced by a nonprofit begins to resemble a real–life conflict, and it is just this sort of examination that Marilyn Fischer encourages. Problems in life and in art are dynamic, affecting us, our neighbors, and our future. This perspective and the conceptual resources it offers make Ethical Decision Making in Fund Raising a keenly important work for nonprofit CEOs, staff members, and students of ethics alike. Part I describes the Ethical Decision–Making Model, which can guide fund raisers in examining questions nonprofits face from the perspectives of organizational mission, professional relationships, and personal integrity. Using real–life dilemmas with no clear–cut solutions, the model examines problems by considering the anticipated effects of alternative solutions on the organization, professional colleagues, and the fund raiser’s own sense of integrity. The multidimensional framework functions as an informal system of checks and balances in which no one interest dominates, no interests are overlooked, and the greater good of the entire organization is served. All of this is placed in the context of a gift economy, a concept that describes the dynamic "circle of giving" created through the donation of material gifts of money and goods and the intangible ones of time and talent. Part II examines specific issues that arise in fund–raising practice, including relations among fund raisers, donors, and volunteers; privacy and confidentiality; conflicts of interest, including commission–based pay; cause–related marketing and sponsorships by corporations; and fostering cultural diversity. Each chapter concludes with discussion questions and additional case studies for analysis. Fischer also examines the nature of philanthropy from antiquity to the present, filtered through such thinkers as Aristotle, for whom philanthropic giving was a form of moral excellence, and Jane Addams, who believed that sympathetic understanding is a key to ethical action. She shows how traditions of giving from many diverse cultures contribute to our appreciation of philanthropy as a dominant theme in the ongoing narrative of human history. Fischer details how, through giving, each of us can be part of the ageless continuum that preserves the greater good of the world we share.