Fundraising with Ethics
Kate Morrison, Chair FINZ Committee
FINZ has recently appointed an independent Chair to their Ethics Committee, Kate Morrison, who is leading a review of FINZ's Codes of Practice, including a review of the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
We asked Kate about the current focus of the FINZ Ethics Committee, and their plans for updating the Code.
Why does FINZ have a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct?
FINZ members rely on the trust and confidence of the giving public in order to fundraise successfully and create enduring relationships with donors. Beneficiary organisations also need to trust that FINZ members will act in a way that respects their institutions and is respectful of their beneficiaries. A code of ethics provides a set of principles, a 'roadmap' towards members' commitment to ethical conduct.
The FINZ Code conforms to the International Statement of Ethical Principles of Fundraising, giving comfort to all New Zealanders that FINZ members operate in accordance with international best practice.
The Code of Ethics for FINZ members is based on five key principles: Honesty, Respect, Integrity, Empathy, and Transparency. It seeks to describe those principles that guide ethical behaviour for its membership, and provides guidance as to what 'fits' within those principles. It's not a statute, and one of the outcomes of the review will likely be a Code that maintains a setting of high level guidance rather than a prescriptive set of rules for every situation. You don't need a law degree to read it, or to understand its basic precepts. That's important because ultimately NZ's giving public need to be able to use it on their own assessment of member practices.
But, members need to be mindful too of the raft of other laws that applies to their operations, from Privacy to Health and Safety, to the laws relating to the accurate representation of goods and services in the Fair Trading Act.
Complaints Driven Regime
The regime is complaints driven, and FINZ is very successful in dealing with the vast majority of these at executive level. Only if the complaint is not resolved will it be referred on to the Ethics Committee.
The Committee will be chaired by me, as an independent Chair, and may result in disciplinary action against a member for unethical behaviour. Such action may include providing education programmes for FINZ members, issuing cautions and warnings, or by suspending or withdrawing membership rights and privileges.
Where are we in terms of process?
An external consultant has reviewed the Code, and provided comments to FINZ. The Ethics Committee is in the early stages of considering those comments, and intends to make recommendations to the Board by December 2016. At this stage, it is unlikely that the review will result in wholesale or fundamental change to the Code, but will provide for a more efficient and usable document. Ultimately, the FINZ Board will need to consider the recommendations before the revised Code is promulgated.
This is likely to be followed by a consultation process, although the scale and timing of this is not yet set.
See the current FINZ Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
Meet Kate Morrison, Chair of the FINZ Ethics Committee
Educated in Christchurch, Kate completed two undergraduate degrees at Victoria University, and LLB and BA in English Literature. Kate later completed a Masters in Law at Edinburgh University and had a fifteen year career in investment banking based in London, where she became Executive Director of Compliance for investment banking and capital markets operations at a major global bank.
Kate returned to New Zealand and spent over six years as General Manager of competition at the Commerce Commission, where she had responsibility for enforcing New Zealand's competition laws, and for consumer protection, including enforcing the Fair Trading Act. Kate is currently a Board member of the Cancer Society, and a member of the Institute of Directors.
Kate is a partner to Will, a mum of two school-aged children, and a step mum to two grown up children. She has two dogs, two cats, and a horse to keep her busy, and in her spare time she loves to read.