Fundraising Ethics Statement
The second of the five ethical precepts that most Buddhists take is to “abstain from taking the not-given”. To accord with this, in terms used by our founder Sangharakshita, FutureDharma will make every effort to fundraise from the ‘love mode’, stressing that any gift is entirely voluntary, rather than from the ‘power mode’ whereby one attempts to exert one’s will over another’s.
While a fundraiser cannot eliminate the discomfort that someone may experience in deciding whether to give or not, we want potential FutureDharma supporters to know they have a real choice and don’t feel pressured to give, for example from fear of disapproval or of being excluded from the majority.
Some people at certain times may not have the capacity to make such a decision. The UK’s Institute of Fundraising (IoF) has produced guidance called “Treating donors fairly – fundraising with people in vulnerable circumstances”. Here are some extracts (for examples of indicators which could mean that an individual is in a vulnerable circumstance see endnote):
“An individual who may need additional care and support, or may be considered to be in a vulnerable circumstance, can still have capacity to choose to donate to a charity…The important distinction is whether the individual has a complete lack of capacity to make a decision, or needs more information and support to be able to make a decision to donate…Additional support may include delaying acceptance of the gift to give the donor further time to consider their donation . If a fundraiser reasonably believes that an individual is unable to make a decision then they should not accept a donation from that person. If the donation has already been made, and at the time of donating the individual lacked capacity (and the charity receives evidence of this) the charity must return that donation.”
FutureDharma Fund follows this guidance from the Institute of Fundraising.
At Triratna events and classes, we generally ask for a pledge rather than a donation. So people do not make a payment there and then, but are followed up later, usually by email. At that point they can decide whether they wish to proceed with a gift or not, having had a day or two to think about it.
Note: IoF indicators of vulnerable circumstance
Indicators which could mean that an individual is in a vulnerable circumstance or needs additional support could include:
- Physical and mental medical conditions
- Learning difficulties
- Times of stress or anxiety (e.g., bereavement, redundancy)
- Financial vulnerability (where a gift from a donor may impact on their ability to sufficiently care for
- themselves or leave them in financial hardship)
- English not being the donor’s first language
- Influence of alcohol or drugs