Tim Burchill, executive director of The Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership at Winona, Minn.-based St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, says the ethical challenges that nonprofit organizations face in regards to fundraising can be broken down into seven categories. 1. Tainted money. Burchill says this category is a media favorite. While some organizations restrict who they’ll take funds from — e.g., Mothers Against Drunk Driving won’t take money from alcohol companies; American Cancer Society won’t take money from tobacco companies; etc. — many other groups don’t make such distinctions. Burchill says there is no money that is inherently bad, but each organization needs to
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
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Sitting squarely in the upper echelon of effective and highly respected nonprofit organizations, the Texas-based Mothers Against Drunk Driving celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. For the past decade, the nationally acclaimed drunken-driving education organization has held steady as a $47 million charity fueled in large part by direct-mail fundraising.
An impressive number, by anyone’s standards. But MADD’s top dogs read “steady” to mean “static” and decided a few years ago that the organization needed a major kick in the fundraising pants. Enter Bobby Heard, who took over as national director of programs and development in 2002.
High in the pantheon of elegant fundraisers is Mothers Against Drunk Driving, whose only business is public education.
This, in opposition to many charities that only claim it’s their business. A particularly egregious example occurred during the early 1990s, when Somali poachers were decimating herds of elephants (and occasional tourists who got in the way) in neighboring Kenya and selling the ivory.