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Standards for Fundraising


Southeast European Indigenous Grant-makers Network (SIGN) is network of foundations committed to fostering an open, transparent and accountable environment for philanthropic development, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and civic activism to support and enhance citizens’ capacity to mobilize resources locally. 

This document strives to set standards of practice for fundraising; spending of funds and reporting to institutional, corporate and individual donors based on agreed principles of transparency and accountability for civil society organizations (CSOs)1 in their respective countries wishing to mobilize local resources for activities related to the common good. 

These standards of practice are intended to be standards for those who sign them and shall be applied in countries in South-East Europe. The intention of these Standards is to increase citizens’ trust and confidence in CSO’s activities with a goal to increase their network of support and legitimacy thus enhancing their sustainability and impact.  

Civil society organizations that sign this document declare that they will adhere to the principles listed below. 

We believe that organizational commitment to transparency and accountability is one of the prerequisites for cultivation and development of philanthropy in the region. 

In signing these standards of practice the CSO’s agree as follows:

  1. To act in line with its mission, values, principles and/or strategic goals with respect to the laws, by-laws, other official acts and international treaties that are in force in its respective country;
  2. To be accountable, open and transparent in processes of cooperation with the respective public institutions, partners in the community, donors, government, media and in relations with their constituents;  
  3. To have clear, truthful and open communication of its activities, results and amounts of funding to all interested parties.  This CSO will also announce the origin of funds to these parties, unless anonymity is explicitly requested by the donor. The information about the received amounts of funding will be made available during the fundraising process, periodically as well as soon as the fundraising process ends;
  4. To safeguard use of funds and have mechanisms to prevent misuse of funds and property and to take appropriate measures should  misuse occur; 
  5. To conduct its fundraising process in a transparent way, openly communicating the purpose, activities and needs for which it fundraises and not make false promises or create unrealistic expectations when asking potential donor for support; 
  6. To use the received donations in a responsible, efficient and effective way and in line with the purpose for which they donated. If a portion of raised funds is to be spent on operational costs, it needs to be communicated in advance; 
  7. To publicly and clearly define how it will manage funds that have been raised in campaigns terminated by vis major or obsolescence of the fundraising cause as well as cases where the raised amount was over or under the original fundraising target;  
  8. To ensure that the rights of their beneficiaries are respected and that their dignity and self-respect is protected in the process of fundraising, distribution and reporting on donation use;
  9. To timely inform its (potential) beneficiaries about the raised donations and their distribution, either through periodical reporting, via media, through direct contact or other relevant sources of communication;  
  10. To strive to include its beneficiaries in the process of defining fundraising purpose and funds distribution, especially in deciding on further distribution of funds that remained unused once the initial fundraising goal was completed; 
  11. To inform donors about how their donation was used as well as provide quick, true, comprehensive and open answers to related questions, based on donor’s requirements and reporting procedure; 
  12. To acknowledge contributions from  donors and ensure  that all donor information is treated with confidentiality and stored safely, based on donor’s requirements and visibility policies; 

1 Non-governmental and non-profit groups that work to improve society and the human condition

With my signature I hereby confirm that the organization I represent will abide by these Standards in its work

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