Partners & Fundraising Ethics Policy


Board members and staff have a duty to maximise resources and impact for our organisation. If a decision is made not to work with a particular partner/collaborator (funder, existing or potential member, supporter, etc.) for purposes of fundraising or other activities related to achieving the organisation’s mission, there must be evidence to show that the decision was made in line with our organisation’s policies.

The decision as to whether or not to work with a contentious partner, whether they are an organisation or an individual, should not be based on the personal beliefs of individual Board and staff members. It should instead be determined by whether the organisation’s mission is affected by association with that partner.

NHWN may reject working with a potential partner/collaborator/funder on one or more of four grounds:

  • The partnership would be in the short or long term detrimental to the organisation’s mission, vision and values.
  • The partnership would lead to a decline in support for an organisation from its members and stakeholders, and could be shown to result in a fall in resources and influence.
  • The potential partner is listed by the organisation as not to be engaged with e.g. an arms manufacturer, a tobacco or alcohol company, an extreme religious group, a company violating laws against child labour; and organisations funded by those listed above.
  • The organisation uses ‘cold calling’ as a sales/fundraising technique.
  • Where the above circumstances do not apply, an organisation’s interests are best served by maximising the organisation’s resources. The organisation would therefore consider working with any organisation or individual.


    The following is a code of ethics for fundraising.

  • Fundraising solicitations will reflect organisational values including being truthful and accurate.
  • Confidentiality will be respected, with written permission from any person cited in a case study or other promotional materials.
  • Anyone soliciting funds will adhere to the organisation’s ethical policies; act with integrity and legally; and disclose to the Operations Director any apparent or real conflict of interest.
  • Donations will used to support the organisation’s mission and donor designations will be followed.
  • Donors must be treated with respect providing appropriate information to them as requested. Donors’ right to privacy will be respected. Donors will be supported if they desire to seek independent advice.
  • Complaints will be addressed within thirty days by the Operations Director, informing the Board as appropriate. Donors will have the right to appeal the Director’s decision to the Audit Committee.
  • Fundraising will be cost effective and tax effective, this reviewed on a regular basis primarily as per the organisation’s planning and budgeting process.
  • An organisation may reject a donation when it does not meet the policies, is illegal, and the conditions set out by the donor are unacceptable because they are not in the best interests of the organisation and its members.
  • Substantial gifts (over £250) to Board members, staff, contractors or members, who are on the organisation’s business or are representing the organisation, are accepted on behalf of the organisation and not as an individual, and are to turn them over to the organisation. Such substantial gifts are to be registered with the Operations Director. Please note this would not normally cover legitimate expenses.
  • Ethics Committee

    An Ethics Committee should be established by the Operations Director. It should be composed of the management group members of the Board (Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer).

    The role of the Ethics Committee is to assess to what extent an association with a partner can be shown, as a consequence of their public reputation, to weaken the organisation. This could, for example be by alienating donors, other partner organisations, and members.

    If, having completed a full risk assessment, working with a particular partner would weaken the organisation more than the partnership would strengthen it, then the partnership should not go ahead. In making this difficult decision, the Ethics Committee, in consultation with appropriate parties, needs to consider whether the partnership in question could be detrimental to the organisation’s mission, brand, existing partners, funders and members.

    A clear process has been defined which should be followed as and when a partnership opportunity arises.

    Process for ethical decision-making

    The following process should be followed as and when a partnership opportunity arises:

  • Research to learn about the potential partner E.g. Google search the organisation’s name with the following search criteria: exploitation, pollution, politics, evil, arms, guns, tobacco, cigarettes, sex, child labour, scandal, paedophilia, trafficking, controversy, cover-up, etc.
  • Review the organisation’s/individual’s web site, read the organisation’s annual report and, if available, speeches by their Directors and management.
  • Based on evidence collected above, if there is no cause for concern, the organisation/individual may be approved and the project/activity implemented.
  • If negative evidence is found through, the following should apply:
  • If the organisation in question is a supplier, it should be rejected and a new supplier sought.

    If the organisation is a donor or other partner, the case should be passed to the Ethics Committee.

    The Ethics Committee should then use the evidence to consider to what extent it would be detrimental for the organisation’s to work with the organisation in question. The potential consequences of the partnership as per the policy should be considered.

    As appropriate, a full risk assessment could take place. This could involve direct consultation with the charity’s stakeholders, where appropriate. The risk assessment should provide the necessary background information on the prospective partner and should clearly potential benefits of the partnership, the risks to mission and key stakeholders, and mitigation measures. There may be instances where an external risk assessment is needed, for example with a particularly high risk partnership. Should this situation arise, the Ethics Committee should seek advice as appropriate.

    On completion of the risk assessment, the Ethics Committee should either approve or reject the partnership.

    The Operations Director will inform the Board of any major issues arising from this process.

    Revised 14/01/2013 by the NHWN Board of Trustees with the insertion of Cold Calling as being a barrier to potential partnerships.

    Originally adopted by NHWN Board on 09/12/2010.

    Files Attached

    Click link to Download

  • Partnerships-Fundraising-Ethics-Policy.pdf