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Since its beginning in 1980, an important part of the Association of Development Officer’s mission has been the promotion of high ethical fundraising standards.  We encourage the ethical acquisition of needed resources and the honest fulfillment of donor wishes. We encourage all ADO members to embrace the following values when generating philanthropic support:

  • To practice their profession with honesty, integrity, loyalty and adherence to the absolute obligation to safeguard the public trust;
  • To adhere to all applicable fundraising laws and regulations and advocate within their organizations, adherence to all applicable laws and regulations;
  • To encourage colleagues to embrace and practice these ethical principles and standards of professional practice;
  • To refrain from actions that give the appearance of criminal offense or professional misconduct;
  • To act according to the highest standards and visions of their organization, profession and conscience;
  • To put philanthropic mission above personal gain;
  • To demonstrate concern for the interests and well being of individuals affected by their actions;
  • To foster cultural diversity and pluralistic values, and treat all people with dignity and respect;
  • To value the privacy, freedom of choice and interests of all constituents, including clients, donors and funders;
  • To inspire others through their own sense of dedication and purpose;
  • To improve their professional knowledge and skills, so that their performance will better serve others; and
  • To affirm, through personal giving, a commitment to philanthropy and its role in society.

Standards of Professional Practice

While striving to act according to the above values, ADO members agree to abide by the following Standards of Professional Practice:


Members shall not disclose confidential information to unauthorized parties.

Members shall adhere to the principle that all donor and prospect information created by an organization is the property of that organization and shall not be transferred or utilized, except on behalf of that organization.

Members shall, when stating fundraising results, use accurate and generally accepted accounting principles and methods.

Members shall give donors the opportunity to have their names removed from lists that are sold, rented or exchanged with other organizations.


Members shall not accept finder’s fees, commissions or compensation that is based on a percentage of contributions.

Members shall not pay finder’s fees, commissions or compensation that is based on a percentage of contributions, and shall discourage their organizations from making such payments.

Members may accept performance-based compensation (e.g. bonuses), provided such bonuses are in accord with prevailing practices within the members’ own organizations, and are not based on a percentage of contributions.


Members shall comply with all applicable local, state, federal, civil and criminal laws.

Members shall not engage in activities that conflict with their fiduciary, ethical and legal obligations to their organizations and their constituents.

Members shall not engage in activities that harm the member’s organization, client or profession.

Members shall effectively disclose all potential and actual conflicts of interest.

Members shall not exploit any relationship with a donor, prospect, volunteer or employee for the benefit of the member or the member’s organization.

Members are truthful about their professional experience and qualifications and ability to perform the job.


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

Members shall ensure that donors receive informed, accurate and ethical advice about the value and tax implications of contributions.

Members shall ensure that contributions are used in accordance with the donor’s intention.

Members shall ensure proper stewardship of philanthropic contributions, including timely reports on the use and management of such funds.

Members shall obtain explicit consent by the donor before altering the conditions of contributions.

The Association of Development Officers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

333 Mamaroneck Ave #221
White Plains, NY 10605
(914) 281-1731

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