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50 Years of Ethics and A True Story With a Fake Witch

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b2ap3_thumbnail_AFP.gifI once received a bad performance review. (I Know! So hard to believe!) Even though all of our fundraising goals were met or exceeded, my boss wasn’t happy with me because I am, apparently, stubborn. I asked what specific instances made her feel that way.

Well, there’s that time I refused to give a tax receipt to a board member for something that was not an allowable tax deduction. And then there’s that time I spoke up when she wanted to use some restricted grant funds for overhead costs. I had mentioned the Code of Ethics and, you know, federal law, as impediments to doing as she wished and now she’d been waiting all year to let me have it.

I looked at the written copy she gave me where it said, “You are too concerned with ethics and principles.”

At this moment, I imagine she thought she had me right where she wanted:



I looked at her and said, “Are you really going to turn this in to HR? With this on here?” Because I was wondering how anyone could possibly interpret it as a negative. She threatened to do it but never did so, officially, I didn’t receive a performance review that year. Since there were no merit raises to be had anyway, it hardly made a difference to me. So really, the whole incident ended up more like this:



I remembered this story because it came to my attention that the AFP Code of Ethics was first established 50 years ago. There is no future for fundraising if we don’t work with honesty and integrity today and every day. Just like an attorney, financial advisor, or medical professional, there are things we just CAN NOT do if it introduces potential for harm. 

I’ve been grateful to have a document to refer to that explains the what and why. Usually, once people are aware of the Code, they want to follow it. The ones who get mad at you for making their life hard by doing so are not people you want to work with. Trust me.

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