CHINESE STATEMENT OF ETHICAL PRINCIPLES IN FUNDRAISING
The purpose of fundraising is to make the world a better place. Our fundraising methods may be different due to development stages and cultural differences, but we all need to adhere to high standards, and comply with local laws, rules and regulations, and policies in a manner consistent with the fundraising code of conduct.
In China today, the fundraising work of nonprofits is moving from extensive to standardized, and fundraising work is no longer limited to full-time staff of nonprofits. In fact, nonprofits, online fundraising information platforms, fundraising companies, fundraising volunteers, etc. have gradually evolved into fundraising efforts, deeply participating with donors or beneficiaries through interactive activities.
However, this process is not smooth. Many entities involved in the actual fundraising work may face similar fundraising scenarios and groups to serve, but they are regulated in different legal frameworks and policy systems. At the same time, complex social realities, constantly innovating technologies, and rapidly changing public opinion have also brought new challenges to domestic fundraising efforts overall.
Therefore, we hope that based on the principles of “openness, co-creation, and participation,” we will develop and draft the “Guidelines for Ethical Behavior of Fundraising in China” by conducting industry discussions, collecting targeted and public comments, as well as experimenting. Eventually, we need to promote guidelines to reach a consensus on the code of conduct for fundraising ethics and actions.
In December 2018, the “Chinese Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising (Consultation Draft)” was officially released. This was based on the old and new versions of the “International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising” released in 2006 and 2018. Relevant policies and regulations and national conditions have been formulated into the statement. Meanwhile, the project team compiled the “Guidebook for Ethical Practice of Fundraising in China” carried out analysis and explanation, scenario examples and practical operation guidelines based on each of the guidelines.
After the “Guidebook” was officially released, the project team conducted a year of trials and adjustments to the in 2019. Based on the actual research findings and feedback from the front-line fundraising practitioners, taking into account the 27 specific provisions and marked as either lowest or highest standards in practice, the project team formed a revised version of the “Chinese Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising” (hereinafter referred to as the “statement”) and the supporting” Guidebook for Ethical Practice of Fundraising in China” (Hereinafter referred to as the Guidebook).
Both the “Statement” and the “Guidebook” aim to provide fundraisers with a shared professional standard and behavior framework to promote the systematic discussion of fundraising behaviors in the nonprofit sector, thereby reaching the bottom line and the best Consensus on best practice standards, which can provide the best donation experience for donors and relevant supporters on the premise of maintaining the dignity and rights of beneficiaries, and help the public understand the role and value of nonprofits in the society. These two documents are expected to help enhance the credibility of the nonprofit sector, strengthen the public's confidence in giving, and better fulfill our mission.
We welcome organizations, platforms, experts, volunteers or beneficiaries related to fundraising to participate in discussions and amend the terms. At the same time, people from all backgrounds are also welcome to brainstorm and discuss the status quo of domestic fundraising, and explore a sustainable development path suitable for China.
2. Terms & Definitions
Donor: Individuals, corporate entities, organizations or other party who participates in charity activities by voluntarily and freely donating property to charitable organizations.
Fundraiser: Fundraisers are legal persons and individuals who carry out fundraising services and management work. They are mainly divided into four categories: charitable organizations and their project leaders with fundraising responsibilities. Fundraising staff, fundraising volunteers, and fundraising companies which support fundraising with consulting services, online fundraising platforms, and manpower.
Beneficiary: Individuals, organizations, or other party that receives support and services from a charitable organization or project.
Fundraising costs: Expenses that are reasonably incurred in order to carry out fundraising work, as well as administrative and management expenses incurred in the process of fundraising projects or fundraising activities.
Six important values need to be followed by fundraisers:
Compliance: Consciously abide by laws and regulations as well as industry regulations and standards, and take compliance with current policies and industry norms as an intrinsically important value.
Honesty: At all times, the fundraiser should be honest and worthy of trust, and not mislead donors and supporters, therefore protect the credibility of the nonprofit sector.
Respect: At all times, every effort should be made to respect the choices and wishes of beneficiaries and donors under the premise of legal compliance.
Integrity: Act with integrity at all times, with the responsibility to maximize the use of donations.
Transparency: At all times, fundraisers should make transparent, clear and accurate disclosures on use and management, as well as costs and impact of the donations.
Responsibility: The diversity of fundraising practices and fundraisers should be valued and encouraged. Responsible actions should be taken at all times to reach a consensus to promote the professional development of the industry and build a healthy and sustainable ecosystem.
4. Code of conduct
This Code of conduct is a benchmark for professional fundraising. Under the premise of respecting donors and being responsible for fundraising, with an aim to reach a higher standard for fundraising work and to reach higher effect of fundraising, this code provides guidelines for common behavior.
1) Responsibility for compliance with relevant laws and regulations
a) The fundraiser must abide by the regulations of the country where the fundraising activities are carried out regarding the organization form, business activities, and fundraising activities.
b) The fundraiser must comply with the specific regulations, standards, and operating methods of the fundraising practice in the region where the fundraising activities are carried out.
c) The fundraiser must not violate the local public order and customs in the process of fundraising.
2) Liabilities to donors
a) Regardless of the medium or method, fundraisers must use accurate, legal and truthful information to carry out any form of communication activities to raise funds, and pass the information accurately to the donor.
b) Whether donors / potential donors donate or not, fundraisers must respect their free choices and not harass, intimidate, or coerce them in any way.
c) When the donor indicates the wish of donation use, whether for a specific service or project, the fundraiser should follow the principles of complying with regulations and improving the efficiency of the use of donation, and respect the donor’s wishes. When the donation cannot be used in accordance with the donor’s wish, the fundraiser must further discuss with the organization and individuals on the use of the donation and reach an agreement.
d) When the non-charitable appeal of the donor conflicts with the interests of the beneficiary or the nonprofit sector, the fundraiser should take the public good as the highest principle and properly respond to the donor’s inappropriate appeal.
e) Fundraisers must proactively disclose the purpose of the donation and provide clear information about the use of the donation and its impact. When the donor wants to know the use of the donation, the fundraiser should promptly and reasonably respond.
f) The fundraiser must respect the rights of the donor. On the premise of maintaining the dignity of the beneficiary, as well as following the requirements and preferences of the donor on the dissemination and personal privacy, the fundraiser should apply all appropriately to the fundraising process.
g) The fundraiser must ensure that the information of the donor or potential donor is used only for charitable organization or other activities authorized by the fundraiser, and shall not be disclosed to other parties or used for other purposes. When a donor asks not to include itself in the list of fundraising targets, the fundraiser should immediately comply.
3) Liability to beneficiaries
a) Fundraisers must always respect their beneficiaries, and respect and protect the personal privacy of the beneficiaries and safeguard the dignity of the beneficiaries in the use of information for fundraising dissemination or related materials.
b) Fundraisers are responsible for informing the beneficiaries of relevant rights and obligations, and must not deceive the beneficiaries or damage the rights and interests of the beneficiaries, such as concealing real project information.
c) When formulating rules to encourage beneficiaries to participate in fundraising, the real needs of the beneficiaries should be given priority, not the beneficiaries’ ability to raise funds.
4) Responsibility for the nonprofit sector
a) According to relevant national laws and regulations, fundraisers must disclose the organization’s financial information and accurate activity information to stakeholders, beneficiaries, donors, and the public. At the same time, fundraisers must proactively provide information on the actual use of donation, and must not exaggerate or be overly conservative.
b) The fundraiser must present the business activities cost and fundraising expenses of the charity activities in a transparent and accurate manner, and must not express misleading information in its dissemination and fundraising documents implying or stating that the charity activities do not have administrative costs.
c) There must be no unfair competition among fundraisers, and it must not have a negative impact on the nonprofit sector and the areas it serves.
d) The fundraiser should abide by the relevant laws and regulations of intellectual property rights, and must not use the fundraising information of other parties without authorization.
e) The fundraiser must comply with relevant laws and regulations on data protection and take effective measures to prevent information leakage, damage, and loss. When information leakage, damage, or loss occurs or may occur, remedial measures must be taken immediately.
5) Responsibility to the organization
a) Fundraising should be consistent with the organization’s values and mission. At the same time, fundraisers and the management team of the organization they serve should aim for the achievement of the final goal of public good. Fundraisers must not accept donations that are inconsistent with the values and mission of the organization or that may damage the organization’s reputation and social impact.
b) When the donor makes a non-cash donation, the fundraiser must, in compliance with relevant regulations, account for the fair value reasonably instead of falsely increasing its donation value; if the fair value cannot be determined, the donation must be registered separately.
c) When the source of the donation is in doubt, the fundraiser shall take appropriate measures to ensure that the donation and the behavior of the donation is charitable, so as to ensure that the actions and demands of the donor are appropriate; and may require the donor to provide proof if necessary.
d) The fundraiser’s legal income is based on his or her position and service provided, shall not be based on the proportion of the fundraising amount. The fundraiser shall not use his or her position or service opportunity to obtain unauthorized or unreasonable income.
e) The fundraiser should establish a fundraising ethics supervision mechanism, as well as fundraising behavior related interest declaration and processing system, and establish a mechanism for incorporating fundraising ethics into decisions on major issues within the organization.
f) The fundraiser must not use the convenience of work to ask for rewards. In the case of receiving rewards or gifts, the fundraiser must take the initiative to declare these rewards to the served organization or related parties; only when the internal regulations of the organization are met and necessary confirmation is obtained can the rewards and gifts be approved.
6) Responsibility to partners
a) The due income of the partner fundraisers, including fixed salary and performance-based income. These incomes shall be agreed in advance in writing to ensure it is appropriate and reasonable. The payment standard shall not be defined based on the proportion of the fundraising amount.
b) When fundraisers partner with suppliers, partners, or other third-party organizations, they should take all reasonable measures to ensure that external partners can comply with and operate in accordance with the same fundraising code of conduct. All partners must not obtain any unreasonable remuneration.
c) When a charitable organization entrusts a third-party organization or hires a professional fundraiser to carry out fundraising work, it shall provide the fundraiser with reasonable and systematic support to facilitate the fundraising work.
Published by FIDC at the China Fundraising Professionals Forum in Shanghai on 6 Dec 2019.
The Fundraising Innovation Development Center (FIDC), founded in 2017, is the registered organization of the China Association of Fundraising Professionals (CAFP). CAFP is the first and the only Fundraising Industry cultivation program dedicated to promoting the professionalization of the fundraising industry in China. In 2017, CAFP was registered as a charity organization-Fundraising Innovation Development Center (FIDC).
With more than 500 individuals and organizations, FIDC has been hosting the China Fundraising Professionals Forums, fundraisers’ salons, webinars, translating and publishing international fundraising publications, conducting industry research, introducing and promoting the Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising and compiling periodicals featuring updated information in the field of fundraising.
In 2017, FIDC joined as the only Participating Organization of CFRE International.
About China Fundraising Professionals Forum
Now the China Fundraising Professionals Forum is the largest and the most important event for fundraising professionals in China. The forum will be held in December every year. Over 500 NGO leaders, fundraisers, professionals, and marketing specialists both will attend the conference.
Compared with Europe and America, fundraising in China is accompanied by China's social transformation, the development of the economy with Chinese characteristics and the rapid iteration of mobile internet technology, showing a very different path and characteristics.
Although fundraising in the western world has mature knowledge systems, professional certification systems, and development paths, fundraisers in China still need to cross the river by feeling the stones and explore their direction in practice.
At the same time, the commercial power represented by the internet business platform has greatly affected the fundraising model and structure of the philanthropy industry in China. The values and ethical boundaries of the philanthropy field are also constantly affected and challenged by new phenomena and new problems.
The conference is positioned as an industry event based on China's local, international perspective and actively promoted. The main objectives include providing industry and career development prospects and trends, action guidelines and skills for nonprofit organizations and fundraisers, and ethical fundraising principles and practice.