Ethics, Professionalization Top Challenges for Fundraisers, Speaker Says

NEW YORK — Professionalization and ethics are the two biggest issues facing fundraisers, according to the keynote speaker at yesterday’s 22nd annual Fundraising Day New York held at the Marriott Marquis.

Naomi Levine, senior vice president for external affairs at New York University, said organizations asking for money need to have people with professional standing in order to generate respect for the institution. On the topic of ethics, she said fundraisers need to study the ethical components of fundraising such as what role and how much influence major donors have.

“You don’t live with the money you raise. You live with your conscience,” Levine said.

To be successful, fundraisers have to be “teachers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, accountants, technologists, psychologists and writers”, Levine added. She also said that fundraisers can’t get anywhere without the support of a chief executive and board of directors.

The conference is sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, which gave Levine an achievement award. Levine has raised more than $2 billion in 20 years at NYU. She created the Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies in 1999. She also served as national executive director of the American Jewish Congress from 1971-78.

The conference drew 2,300 attendees, the most ever at the event, and 88 exhibitors. For first time, session materials will be made available on Web site — — for the next month.

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