Donor Bill of Rights

National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) is the special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – have made to our lives, our communities, and our world.


When NPD was first celebrated in 1986, then-President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation officially recognizing Nov. 15, 1986, as National Philanthropy Day®. Since then, the day has been recognized by numerous state, provincial, and local governments across North America.


It is also fitting (and obvious?) that National Philanthropy Day is celebrated just before the holiday and year-end charitable giving season.  It is also a time for those of us in the philanthropy and not-for-profit world to assure our donors that (most!) of us adhere to a code of ethics as it relates to our relationships with donors and the clients we serve.  Here at the Community Foundation of Grundy County, we are also proud to say that we continue to be certified in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ “National Standards” since 2008.


The National Philanthropy Day website has great resources, especially for donors.  Do you know that there is a “Donor Bill of Rights”?  We have re-printed it here for your use.  As you prepare to make your year-end charitable gifts, please review this list and think about your favorite charities.  Do they operate in accordance with this Donor Bill of Rights?  If not, ask them why not.


The Donor Bill of Rights was created by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Giving Institute: Leading Consultants to Non-Profits. It has been endorsed by numerous organizations.


The Donor Bill of Rights


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 ensure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the nonprofit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.


  1. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.


  1. To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with 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.


VIII. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.


  1. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.


  1. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.






Want to learn more?  Find more articles and tips from National Philanthropy Day organizers on the CFGC website.  Articles include:

  • 25 Ways to Give Wisely
  • 25 Ways to Make Your Gifts Go Further
  • How to Give to Charity
  • The Five “Ps” of Wise Giving
  • The Donor Bill of Rights