Advancing the Magic of Education
Anaheim, CA
December 8, 2002

The Method and the Magic:
Ethics and Information Management

Nancy Ellis Taylor                                        Michael Seymour
Interim Director/Development Research         Senior Director/Development Operations
University of Southern California                    University of Southern California                               

Session URL:

I. What is/are Ethics?

The Magic Word for Today's Discussion: Ethics

From The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition:  

NOUN: 1a. A set of principles of right conduct. b. A theory or a system of moral values: “An ethic of service is at war with a craving for gain” (Gregg Easterbrook). 2. ethics (used with a sing. verb) The study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person; moral philosophy. 3. ethics (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession: medical ethics.  

ETYMOLOGY: Middle English ethik, from Old French ethique (from Late Latin thica, from Greek thika, ethics)and from Latin thic (from Greek thik), both from Greek thikos, ethical, from thos, character .

QUOTATION: Ethics and religion differ herein; that the one is the system of human duties commencing from man; the other, from God. Religion includes the personality of God; Ethics does not.
ATTRIBUTION: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 6 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).

II. Why do we need Ethics?

    A.  To protect a nonprofit's most valuable asset: its "Good Name"
            Ethics are the magic ingredient for maintaining that "Good Name"

    B. Some examples of the need for following ethics guidelines:

        1. Martha Stewart (insider trading; treatment of staff)
        2. Red Cross (confused direction of gifts)
        3. Arthur Anderson (ignoring their own rules)
                  CBS Marketwatch News & Commentary
        4. United Way (salaries; perks)
        5. Stephen Ambrose (unidentified quotes)

    C. Changing view of nonprofits

        Boston Business Journal, 10/21/2002
        "Nonprofits suffer from declining trust"

        "Nonprofit organizations are today confronting an American donor class that is shrinking significantly and suffering a crisis
        of confidence.

        According to survey findings released by Burlington-based marketing firm Epsilon, Americans are donating less money
        and to fewer nonprofits than at any time in the past quarter-century, due overwhelmingly to an overarching decline in
        confidence in American institutions. ...
        Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of respondents say they have lost confidence in nonprofits. This is especially
        true in donors age 57 to 75, traditionally the most generous demographic.

        Nearly 60 percent of donors say they dropped their financial support of a nonprofit because they felt that the
        organization was no longer trustworthy or reliable. ..."

QUOTATION: In ethics, prudence is not an important virtue, but in the world it is almost everything.
ATTRIBUTION: Mason Cooley (b. 1927), U.S. aphorist. City Aphorisms, Fourth Selection, New York (1987).
(get real excited about research--human beings)
 QUOTATION: A nation’s domestic and foreign policies and actions should be derived from the same standards of ethics, honesty and morality which are characteristic of the individual citizens of the nation.
ATTRIBUTION: Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.) (b. 1924), U.S. president. Why Not the Best? P. 123, Nashville, TN: Broadman Press (1975).

II. Where can we get Ethics?

For those of us who ignored our parents or slept through our religion and philosophy classes, there are a number of sources for ethics guidelines:


        1. CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) Statement of Ethics

        "Institutional advancement professionals, by virtue of their responsibilities within the academic community, represent their
         colleges, universities, and schools to the larger society. They have, therefore, a special duty to exemplify the best qualities
         of their institutions and to observe the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.... "  

        2. AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) Statement of Ethics

        "Ethical standards and principles are the foundation for maintaining public trust, for every AFP member. AFP provides a
        self-governed process for addressing ethical concerns."

        AFP Ethics Resources

        3. APRA (Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement) Statement of Ethics

                Sample Form

        (primarily public data)
        Recording and Maintenance
        (nothing embarrassing, inflammatory, gossipy--use newspaper quotes)
        Use and Distribution
        (ethical duties go both ways: corporate sponsorship (Exxon))

        4. AHP (Association for Healthcare Philanthropy) Statement of Professional Standards and Conduct

        "All members shall comply with the Association's Statement of Professional Standards and Conduct:
        Association for Healthcare Philanthropy members represent to the public, by personal example and conduct, both
        their employer and their profession. They have, therefore, a duty to faithfully adhere to the highest standards and
        conduct in: ..."

    B. LAWS

        1. FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

        WHAT IS FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act)?

        "The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (also sometimes referred to as the Buckley
         Amendment), is a federal law regarding the privacy of student records and the obligations of the institution, primarily in the
         areas of release of the records and the access provided to these records. Any educational institution that receives funds
         under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound by FERPA requirements. Institutions that
         fail to comply with FERPA may have funds administered by the Secretary of Education withheld."

        2. Practical Example: HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) & You
            (or HIPAA is here !  Do you have your stuff in order ?)
            Expanded Outline (click here)

            a. Foundation for Privacy and Confidentiality in Healthcare / Medicine

                #1. The Hippocratic Oath
                #2. Moral and Political Aspects of Privacy and Confidentiality
                #3. Generalizations
                #4. Exceptions

            b. HIPAA

                #1.Background and Regulations
                #2. Important and Relevant Terms
                #3. What the regulations fail to address
                #4. Impact on fundraising
                #5. How to succeed despite HIPAA

            c. Conclusion
        3. Athletics: A Special Case

            a. Know your corporate counsel
            b. Train your volunteers

    C. From Basic Good Sense

        1. Collect and store records as if your mother were watching.
        2. Donors can view their records. Collect and store records with
            that in mind.

        3. Prospects are not objects, they are human beings.
            Treat their records with the appropriate respect and sensitivity.

        D. Additional Resources

1. Institute for Global Ethics Ethics Newsline
                  Explore topics and sign up for a free newsletter

            2. Corporate Social Responsibility
            More background and another free newsletter

            3. Washington Post Online Business: Corporate Ethics
                Good current news site

           4. Ethics Orientation for State Officials,
             Office of the Attorney General, State of California
             Features online tutorial