Accepting All Donations?
24 January 2005 at 12:01 pm
Between heightened media scrutiny and high-profile posturing about taking money from the profits of gambling or alcohol sales, the issue of organisations accepting “tainted” money is even more troublesome than ever.
Eugene R. Tempel, the executive director of the Centre on Philanthropy at Indiana University, offers seven guidelines for organisations that are considering gifts that may seem questionable.
Pro Bono Australia re-publishes these guidelines from the Nonprofit Times – a leading business publication for Not for Profit management in the US. (www.nptimes.com)
Guidelines to consider include:
– Will taking the money provide a short-term benefit to our clients at the risk of damaging our reputation and impacting long-term sustainability?
– If we turn it down, what services will we not be able to offer?
– If we do take it, what negative impact could it have on our organisation?
– Would it offend key stakeholders or damage long-term relationships with donors?
The next three items are issues that might arise with some
Not for Profits:
– Who are we to judge donors’ motivations?
– If we don’t accept tainted money, does it continue to promote negative values in the community?
– If we do accept, are we “cleansing” the money and promoting a positive image for the donor?
Further, there are ways by which Not for Profits can prepare for such a situation:
– Understand that most “tainted money” questions are ethical dilemmas in which two values conflict.
– Establish policies for dealing with such situations before they arise.
– Publicise ahead of time factors that are considered in gift acceptance.
– Communicate openly about accepting a gift when questions might be raised.
– Create policies related to permanently naming buildings and programs, and to guide decisions when today’s legitimate gift becomes tomorrow’s tainted money.