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Principles of Practice for Fundraising Professionals at Educational Institutions

These principles are intended to supplement and complement the CASE Statement of Ethics, which was revised by the CASE Board of Trustees on 12 March 2020.


Philanthropy is a voluntary exchange in which the values and aspirations of donors are matched with the values and aspirations of those we benefit.

Educational fundraising professionals work on behalf of those served by our organistions during this exchange of values and represent our schools, colleges, and universities to donors, volunteers, and the larger public. In doing so, we also represent the integrity of the organisation and of the fundraising profession. We must, in discharging responsibilities, observe and promote the highest standards of personal and professional conduct and continually strive to increase our knowledge of the profession.

The following principles are consistent with CASE's position on commission-based compensation originally developed by the CASE Commission on Educational Fundraising (now the Commission on Philanthropy) in 1991, and the Donor Bill of Rights, developed in 1993. We are intended to provide guidance and direction to educational fundraisers and volunteers as we make ethical choices during the philanthropic exchange of values. The principles are not, and cannot be, an exhaustive list of rules to be applied to every decision in which ethical principles may be involved.

These ethical principles go hand-in-hand with the expectation that educational fundraising professionals are expected to comply with the letter and the spirit of all laws relevant to charitable giving. In addition, individuals will follow national guidance and regulations relevant to our own institution.


Personal Integrity

Individuals will:

  • be fair and honest and conduct ourselves with integrity;
  • not maintain any vested interest in a professionally related activity that could result in personal gain, or be perceived as a potential conflict of interest, without prior full disclosure and organisational approval;
  • respect that our relationships with prospective donors, donors, volunteers, and employees are professional relationships and will not be exploited;
  • Ensure that any philanthropic support arrangements or discussions are fully independent of the organisation’s policies on student admissions, faculty/staff recruitment, research, athletics, academic freedom, and any other relevant areas.



Individuals will:

  • safeguard and respect donor and prospective donor information;
  • honor the wishes of an individual and/or organisational constituent with regard to how directory information and/or giving history is used or shared;
  • record and keep only information relevant to cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship;
  • identify the source of retained information;
  • safeguard prospective donor, donor, and other constituent lists compiled by the organisation as the property of the organisation; these lists may not be distributed or used for unauthorized purposes or for personal gain;
  • make every effort to ensure that volunteers, vendors, and external entities with access to constituent information understand and agree to comply with the organisation’s confidentiality and public disclosure policies.
  • commit to following the organisation’s privacy policies and procedures


Public Trust

Individuals will:

  • ensure donated funds are used in accordance with donors' directions and intentions and that agreement is in place should it not be possible to follow the donors’ wishes;
  • obtain specific instructions from a donor before altering conditions of a restricted gift (consistent with applicable laws where relevant);
  • provide prompt, responsive and truthful replies to donor and public inquiry in accordance with the organisation’s stated policies;
  • place the mission and interest of the organisation and its donors above personal gain;
  • pursue only gifts that fall within, or advance, the institution's mission and/or approved priorities;
  • balance the benefit of the funding against any potential reputational risk to the organisation;
  • conduct due diligence with the risk associated in regards to a potential donor(s) or potential size of the gift in accordance with the institution’s policies.



Individuals will:

  • be truthful about the institution's mission, intended use of funds, and capacity of the organisation to use donations effectively for the intended purpose;
  • be proactive sharing information about any organisational gift assessment, organisational fees or management fee structure related to the donor’s contribution; 
  • be truthful and specific about the identification of the organisation we represent and our employment or volunteer status;
  • understand and disclose our areas of expertise and will give appropriate advice regarding the involvement of the donors' legal, accounting, financial and tax advisors; not offer legal, accounting, financial and/or tax advice ourselves;
  • help ensure appropriate and consistent accounting, budgeting, and reporting methodologies in accordance with nationally adopted standards and guidelines.



Individuals will:

  • not accept commission-based compensation or compensation based on a percentage of funds raised;
  • not accept external compensation for the receipt of a gift or information leading to a gift;
  • agree not to pay compensation to individuals in respect of a gift or information leading to a gift.


The principles were adopted initially by the CASE Board of Trustees in March 2005 and subsequently updated by the CASE Commission on Philanthropy on 11 March 2020.