As we have recently celebrated the Fourth of July, we are keenly reminded of the sacrifices made, and being made as we speak, to secure our freedom. Let us always be grateful to those who have fought and are fighting for the freedoms we are so blessed to have. At United Way, we are guided by rights of donors; in our every decision of investment of funds we must be good stewards of people’s donations.
To that end, years ago A Donor Bill of Rights was developed by several major fund raising organizations, including United Way. It begins with a definition of philanthropy. To quote from the bill: “Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:
I. To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
II. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
III. To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.
IV. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
V. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.
VI. To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
VII. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.