Advancing Philanthropy October 2020 - 7

Ethics
This interview centers on tainted money, which has
been a topic of conversation for a couple of years. Is
this an issue the Ethics Committee is dealing with a
lot lately?
It does seem to have bubbled up more. I think it is in
direct result to our world today. People are more in tune
with ethics, whether they call it that or not. Given all the
things happening in our world related to the global health
pandemic, race and ethnicity, the economy and social
justice, there is an increased number of people connected
to the internet. In turn, people feel there is more of an
outlet for them to express their outrage about things that
do not sit well with them.
Even if people do not call it ethics, they express more
concern, outrage, and all kinds of emotion around our
social fabric. A lot of that translates into or helps to fuel
what's called "cancel culture," where people hear about
something, and even if they don't have all the facts or if
the information they have is inaccurate, use it to dismiss
or "cancel" people or organizations. I think it is a common
thread along all issues and in all disciplines. Fundraising
certainly does not escape this conversation.

How do you decide which types of gifts your
organization will accept?
When the gift made is for reasons that are abjectly
against the organization's values or what it believes,
the answer is clear.
For instance, years ago we had someone call Planned
Parenthood pretending to be someone working with a
family foundation that wanted to give us money to help
women of color have access to services. On the surface,
that sounds OK. But what you have to do, especially if you
don't know this person, is ask questions. Once I started
asking questions like, "Where are you located?" "How is
it that you selected our particular Planned Parenthood?"
"What is the impact you're trying to make?" the person
finally said, "Planned Parenthood helped my daughter
and me. And I have a concern now, even though my
daughter is fine." After more questions he finally said, "I
want to make sure that Planned Parenthood has money
to help women of color because there are too many
children being born to women of color, and they're not
taking care of them."
It was easy to decline this donation. Planned
Parenthood had already gone through a process of
deciding what types of gifts we will and will not accept.
If you have a gift acceptance policy that takes every
scenario into consideration-not just the traditional types
of gifts-the decision on accepting gifts is less difficult.

October 2020 / www.afpglobal.org	

Is it important that we understand why a donor
is giving?
Absolutely. As development professionals, it is essential
to understand people's motivations to support the
mission, especially if they have never donated to the
organization before. If a first-time donor goes online or
sends you a check for $100, that's probably not a reason
to raise a red flag.
But if someone calls to say, "I've never given to
Planned Parenthood, but I want to make this gift," it's
the perfect time to ask questions, such as: Why is this
mission important to you? How are you affiliated with our
organization? Why do you want to give to this particular
plan? Can we expect a gift like this in the future? Do your
research and ask questions, even if some of their answers
lead to more questions. People don't usually shut you
down when they're trying to give you a gift. They want
to give you information, and they want to be recognized.
Even if they give the gift anonymously, they want you to
know their motivation.
If donors are not willing to tell you or not willing to
answer any questions, that could certainly be a red flag.
If a donor says, "I have this windfall, and I've decided that
it's not money I need. I want to give it away to Planned
Parenthood. I've never given to your organization before,
but I think you do good work." This certainly can be a
reasonable response.
I remember many years ago, there was an elderly
couple who both supported Planned Parenthood, but
for different reasons. The husband supported from a
community health perspective, and the wife supported
from an environmental perspective. The husband was
the first to pass and left money to both the local and
the national Planned Parenthood organizations. After
his death, his wife reviewed his investment portfolio.
Some of the companies in which he invested-oil and
tobacco-did not align with her values, so she took the
opportunity to sell those stocks. Not wanting anything
to do with the proceeds, she gave the money to us. So,
yes, understanding why donors give can be complicated
or straightforward, but you have to ask questions to
determine what motivates their decision.

Advancing Philanthropy	

7


http://www.afpglobal.org

Advancing Philanthropy October 2020

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Advancing Philanthropy October 2020 - 1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AFP/advancing-philanthropy-april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AFP/AFP_Jan2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AFP/AFP_Oct2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AFP/AP_July2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AFP/p26198_afp_2012techknowbrochure
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AFP/g24762afp_con2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AFP/g24195afp_12confbroc
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AFP/g18184_afp_chicago2011
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com