When you are responsible for collecting and redistributing people’s money, it is important that you have their trust and that you act ethically when putting their money to use. Employing ethics in fundraising is key to a successful campaign and to fostering lasting relationships with your donors. Below are some tips and advice to doing business with donors ethically.


In order to have a successful relationship with the donor, you have to be completely transparent about what goes on behind the curtain. Make sure that donors and potential donors have access to not only your website’s about page, but a page where they can find information about where money is allocated, budget size, etc. This can inspire confidence in people and foster a trusting relationship. Exposing your financial information and business practices and plans will help ensure your organization is transparent and ethical.


Make sure that you are accountable to your donors. If you tell them you will get back to them with information, do it. Send thank you letters and updates to make them feel appreciated. Provide them with updates and information about the fundraising campaign they contributed too, as well as any information regarding the legality of your organization (i.e. the laws and regulations that you must comply to). There are many aspects of accountability, check out fundsforngos.org for more details on this part of ethical fundraising.

Respecting Donor Intent

Another crucial aspect of being ethical in fundraising is respecting the wishes of your donors. If you take their money and put it towards goals that were not set within their expectations when they donated, this will create tensions and you could possibly sever the relationship for good. The Veritus Group reminds us that it is important to always stick to your word, to pay attention to the interests of the donor, to respect their communication preference, to honor their intent, to listen, and to respect their timeline.  

Be Legal

There are many laws in the fundraising world, many of which are complicated. Make sure that your mission lines up with how you execute said mission, and that you follow all local and federal guidelines set down surrounding fundraising. These practices and laws were put in place to protect the donor and the organization, so following them is incredibly important. Here are five legal tips for fundraising that can help get you started down the right path.

Whether you have set up a lemonade stand in front of your house, or are an organization that collects millions of dollars on behalf of a cause, remember to always employ ethical practices in your fundraising campaigns.