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Ethical Dilemmas in Fundraising: Sexual Harassment from a Prospect

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This Ethics Awareness Month, we asked AFP members to share ethical dilemmas they have faced in their careers and how they were able to resolve them, successfully or not, using the AFP Code of Ethical Standards. See more ethical dilemmas. 

Tell us about an ethical dilemma you faced:

An employee of mine told me she was feeling uncomfortably harassed by a new potential large donor she had visited but still viewed as an excellent prospect. I asked if she would like to have me take over the solicitation with all financial credit for any subsequent gift(s) being credited to her for having found and nurtured the relationship. She thanked me but said she’d like to still work on it. I said OK as long as she felt she could manage it safely. As it happened, she left the company shortly after that for a new position in another state. 

How was the dilemma resolved?  

As mentioned, it didn’t get to be solved because the employee left. This was just before the #MeToo awareness movement happened. I have since wondered if I should have instead contacted the potential donor directly to tell him his advances were completely inappropriate and been prepared for him to either apologize to her or simply withdraw his potential support since we wouldn’t have wanted it at that point. I learned more about the need to call out bad behavior through #MeToo. 

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