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Fundraising Group Addresses Public Concern Over Donation Use

The Association of Fundraising Professionals announced an initiative yesterday to address consumer concerns about the handling of charitable contributions for the Sept. 11 relief efforts.

“We've had so many inquiries from our members about guidance and helping consumers understand more about the questions and concerns in the wake of Sept. 11,” said Walter Sczudlo, vice president of public affairs at the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Alexandria, VA.

The organization will launch national and international media campaigns next week in conjunction with National Philanthropy Day, Nov. 15. For example, a half-page ad will appear in The New York Times Giving Section on Nov. 12, and National Public Radio will air ads nationwide during drive times next week.

The ads mainly will be in the print format, Sczudlo said.

The campaign aims to raise public awareness of charity accountability and thank consumers for giving to nonprofit organizations.

AFP has 25,000 members and 163 chapters in North America. Its members represent most of the major and many of the smaller nonprofit organizations in the United States including the American Red Cross.

AFP member charities must abide by its Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice, which dictate how gifts are solicited and used. Some AFP standards are:

• Members shall ensure that all solicitation materials are accurate and correctly reflect their organization's mission and use of solicited funds.

• Members shall take care to ensure that contributions are used in accordance with donors' intentions.

• Members shall take care to ensure proper stewardship of charitable contributions, including timely reports on the use and management of funds.

• Members shall obtain explicit consent from the donor before altering the conditions of a gift.

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