President's Message

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who participated in our September educational conference. A special thanks to Richard Farias and Laura Villarreal for co-chairing, and a big thank you also to our board and committee members, speakers, and guests who participated in planning, organizing, and attending the event.

October is designated as Ethics Awareness Months by The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). In recognition, AFP will share various resources on philanthropy ethics and their role in non-profits throughout the month. Today, I would like to join in the conversation by discussing the differences between ethics and values and the role shared values can play in your organization's long-term success.

Many years ago, I worked with an organization going through significant changes to its program, vision, and mission. Leadership felt these changes were necessary to adapt to society's changing needs and increase the number of individuals they served. However, not everyone agreed with their decision. Some alumni and long-term donors felt isolated, betrayed, and that their opinion no longer mattered. The bottom line was they no longer believed the organization aligned with their values.

Values are what individuals prioritize as crucial in their lives. Values include a person’s background, culture, race, religious preference, political views, and philosophy on life. Values are personal beliefs that govern the way you act or behave. Values are unique to everyone and may change over time, based on additional information or life-altering events. Values, based on personal beliefs, determine how you accomplish your work.

Ethics, on the other hand, are agreed-upon set of standards used to determine right and wrong in any given circumstance. A community or group often sets these principles. For example, your place of work may have ethical behaviors which employees must abide by. These standards are often referred to as a code of conduct or guiding principles. Ethical standards at work may include transparency, accountability, honesty, and respect. For example, AFP has a code of ethics. Ethics are constant; living by ethical principles is a continual process of aligning your actions with consistent behaviors.

Conflict occurs when there is a perceived difference in an organization's ethics and an employee or stakeholders' values. When was the last time you or an acquaintance switched jobs because it was "no longer a good fit?" What are some of the reasons donors have given you for no longer supporting your cause? Often, "no longer a good fit" means the individual no longer believes their ethics and values align with the organization's ethics and values.

An essential part of securing the support and involvement of your shareholders is creating shared values. Shared values are beliefs organizations and individuals have in common with each other. Creating shared values does not require organizations to change or adapt their code of conduct or values to meet everyone's needs. However, it does mean organizations must identify ideals most stakeholders can rally around. In the example I shared above, some stakeholders did not agree with the organization's decision. However, they continued to support the cause because of the shared value of helping more clients benefit from the program.

Shared values increase employee and donor retention and satisfaction, productivity, overall well-being, and happiness. Shared values also create stakeholder buy-in and commitment to your organization's mission and vision and create loyal supporters of your cause.

Here are three things you can do to build shared values:

  1. Understand what your stakeholders' value and appreciate about your non-profit. For example, why do donors give to your cause? Why did your employees choose to work for your organization?
  2. Share your organization's values and provide opportunities for your staff to share how their values align.
  3. Provide opportunities to create shared values. When faced with a problem, rather than trying to solve it on your own, engage your stakeholders in finding a solution that aligns with your organization's and stakeholders values.

One of the benefits of YOU being a member of AFP is networking, volunteering with, and associating with non-profit leaders with a shared value: making a difference in the community through philanthropy.

Yours in fundraising,

Aaron G Javener C.F.R.E, C.N.C, C.D.C, C.N.C.


2020 AFP San Antonio & South Texas

Upcoming Events

October 20

8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Year-End Appeal

October 22

Ethics: It's Not Just About the Money.

October 28

Webinar Information Coming Soon

November 19

5 Habits of Effective Board Members


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