Member Firms of the American Association of Fundraising Counsel are organized to provide professional services as described in the Standards of Membership, Standards of Practice and the Professional Code of Ethics to not-for-profit organizations. Member Firms share a deep commitment to philanthropy and respect for the men and women who voluntarily commit their time and resources in the service of the philanthropic organizations operating today throughout society.

These tenets are a result of decades of service and experience by Member Firms, and have been carefully formulated to address the best interests of not-for-profit client organizations and their extraordinarily generous donor constituencies.

The philanthropic community recognizes the high ideals, competence, and integrity of the individuals who comprise the Member Firms. Through years of experience, these professionals have honed their skills and achieved acknowledged leadership in strengthening and expanding the philanthropic potential of their clients.

Standards of Practice

Member Firms of AAFRC shall strive to:

Provide service to not-for-profit organizations that serve the public’s
best interest.

Engage clients that represent the broadest interest of society such as: religious, educational, health care, human service, arts, cultural, humanitarian, environmental, international, and other organizations benefiting humankind.

Offer services that advance the goals of a client that directly relate to philanthropy such as: studies, campaign management, annual development programs, planned giving, strategic planning, direct mail, telemarketing, management services, executive search, public relations, marketing and communications, software developers, organization development/management, prospect research, and training.

Professional Code of Ethics

Member Firms believe it is in the best interest of the client that:

Initial meetings with prospective clients should not be construed as services for which payment is expected.

No payments or special consideration should be made to an officer, director, trustee, employee, or advisor of a not-for-profit organization as compensation for influencing the selection of fundraising counsel.

Fees should be mutually agreed upon in advance of services.

A flat, fixed fee is charged based on the level and extent of professional services provided. Fees are not based on the amount of charitable income raised or expected to be raised.

Contracts providing for a contingent fee, a commission, or a fee based on percentage of funds raised are prohibited. Such contracts are harmful to the relationship between the donor and the institution and detrimental to the financial health of the client organization.

Fundraising expenditures are within the authority and control of the not-for-profit organization.

Member Firms feel it is in the best interest of clients that solicitation of gifts is undertaken by Board members, staff and other volunteers.

Subsequent to analysis or study, a Member Firm should engage a client only when the best interest of the client is served.

Member Firms should not profit directly or indirectly from materials provided by others, but billed to the Member Firm, without disclosure to the client.

Member Firms do not engage in methods that are misleading to the public or harmful to their clients; do not make exaggerated claims of past achievement; and do not guarantee results of promise to help clients achieve goals.

Any potential conflict of interest should be disclosed by the firm to clients and prospective clients.

Member Firms will not acquire or maintain custody of funds and/or gifts directed to the client organization.

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