Cover image for Ethical decision making in fund raising
Ethical decision making in fund raising
Fischer, Marilyn.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Wiley, [2000]

Physical Description:
xix, 251 pages ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV41.2 .F57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"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.

Author Notes

MARILYN FISCHER, PhD, is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. Her areas of specialization include ethics, political philosophy, feminist theory, and philosophy of music. She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary education and team-teaches several courses with faculty from different academic disciplines. Her current research focuses on Jane Addams's philosophical writings.

Dr. Fischer has been working with the NSFRE as an ethics consultant since 1990, giving workshops on ethical decision making in fund raising. She is a member of the Miami Valley NSFRE Chapter and chairs their Ethics Education Committee.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The purpose of this excellent addition to a National Society of Fund Raising Executives series of books for fund-development professionals and volunteers is to provide a nontechnical introduction to thinking about ethics and how ethics can be applied to philanthropy. Fischer (philosophy, Univ. of Dayton) assumes that philanthropy is a form of "gift economy" based on three value commitments: organizational mission, relationships (trust), and personal integrity. He discusses each of these value commitments in detail by using a "decision-making chart" that illuminates issues, such as donor relationships, privacy, and conflicts of interest, typically faced by fund-raisers in day-to-day work. Ultimately, Fischer intends this framework to be used with any number of ethical issues faced by people in resource development. A closing chapter on diversity is helpful for understanding the cultural traditions of donors and for suggesting ways to foster diversity. This book should be required reading for anyone planning to enter the field of fund-raising, those currently in the field, and members of boards tasked with oversight of resource development; it should also appeal to general readers who want to experience a way to apply ethical theory to philanthropy or similar fields. C. L. Hansen; Midland Lutheran College

Table of Contents

Conceptual Tools for Ethical Decision Making
Thinking About Ethics and Philanthropy
Organizational Mission and the Wider Frame of Philanthropy
Professional Relationships
Images and Virtues of Integrity
Topics in Ethics and Fund Raising
Relations with Philanthropic Givers: Donors and Volunteers
Privacy and Confidentiality
Conflicts of Interest and Other Tensions on the Job
Corporations and Philanthropy
Fostering Diversity