VCU branded angle-motif letterhead

Employee Ethics, Conduct, and Practices Related to University Advancement and Development

  • Responsible Office: Development and Alumni Relations
  • Current Approved Version: 01/01/2012
  • Policy Type: Administrative


The purpose of this policy is to encourage responsible charitable gift solicitation of university friends and alumni for the University by all development officers affiliated with University Advancement and School-based development offices. University Advancement is charged with the responsibility of overseeing all charitable gift activity for the University.

University Advancement staff in the central office and school based development officers are tasked with maintaining a high level of ethical conduct. Employees will follow the statement of ethics and donor bill of rights as outlined by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Furthermore, development officers will always keep the best interests of the University and the donor in mind. The Donor’s privacy will be maintained and the officer will treat with care any potentially sensitive information. The officer will avoid conflicts of interest between the University and outside activities, both paid and voluntary. Under no circumstance will an officer exploit a relationship with a donor or volunteer for personal gain.


All faculty and staff who are involved with the solicitation, establishment, and overall administration of University Private Funds should read this document.


University-related foundation policies, procedures, and guidelines


University Advancement, in conjunction with the VCU, MCV, and VCU Engineering Foundations, officially interprets this policy and shall revise or eliminate any or all parts as necessary to meet changing needs of Virginia Commonwealth University. Please direct policy questions to University Advancement.


Code of Ethics and Donor Bill of Rights:

All University development personnel whether in the Central Advancement Office or in school-based Development Offices must adhere to, and demonstrate their agreement to adhere to these standards, by signing a copy of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Statement of Ethics adopted by their board on July 11, 1982 and the Donor Bill of Rights. A copy of this signed statement will be kept for each employee in the Central Advancement Office. A copy of these ethical standards is located in the index portion of this policy statement. Violations of these ethical standards will result in severance from all advancement operations at the University and possible release from the University’s employment.

Advancement Staff Orientation

All University development personnel are required to visit the Central Advancement Office and receive a policy, procedures, and guidelines briefing from the Vice President for University Advancement. All Advancement personnel must also sign a form indicating they have read all policies, procedures, and guidelines governing Advancement operations and agree to abide by them. This briefing must be received within thirty days of the start date for new employees.

Confidentiality and Compliance Statement

Development personnel will be asked to read and sign a confidentiality statement. Violation of confidentiality will result in immediate dismissal from University employment. A copy of this signed statement will be kept for each employee in the Central Advancement Office. A copy of this statement is located in the index portion of this policy statement.


CASE Statement of Ethics

Institutional advancement professionals, by virtue of their responsibilities within the academic community, represent their colleges, universities, and schools to the larger society. They have, therefore, a special duty to exemplify the best qualities of their institutions and to observe the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.

In so doing, they promote the merits of their institutions and of education generally, without disparaging other colleges and schools.

Their words and actions embody respect for truth, fairness, free inquiry, and the opinions of others.

They respect all individuals without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, creed, ethnic or national identity, handicap, or age.

They uphold the professional reputation of other advancement officers and give credit for ideas, words, or images originated by others.

They safeguard privacy rights and confidential information.

They do not grant or accept favors for personal gain, nor do they solicit or accept favors for their institutions where a higher public interest would be violated.

They avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest and, if in doubt, seek guidance from appropriate authorities.

They follow the letter and spirit of laws and regulations affecting institutional advancement.

They observe these standards and others that apply to their professions and actively encourage colleagues to join them in supporting the highest standards of conduct.

The CASE Board of Trustees adopted this Statement of Ethics to guide and reinforce our professional conduct in all areas of institutional advancement. The statement is also intended to stimulate awareness and discussion of ethical issues that may arise in our professional activities. The Board adopted the final text in Toronto on July 11, 1982, after a year of deliberation by national and district leaders and by countless volunteers throughout the membership.

CASE 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 assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit 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.

  2. 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.

  3. To have access to the organization's most recent financial statements.

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

  5. To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.

  6. To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.

  7. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.

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

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

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

The text of this statement in its entirety was developed by the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel (AAFRC), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

Confidentiality and Compliance Statement

I acknowledge and understand that I may have access to confidential information regarding employees, students, patients, or the public, or to proprietary or other confidential business information belonging to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). In addition, I acknowledge and understand that I am required to reasonably comply with all applicable federal, state, and University policies, procedures and regulations, including those related to recording leave and use of University funds or resources.

Therefore, except as required by law and excluding information that can be released under federal, state, or University regulations, I agree that I will not:

  • Access data that is unrelated to my job duties at VCU;

  • Disclose to any other person who does not have a business “need to know,” or allow any other person access to, any information related to VCU that is proprietary or confidential. Disclosure of information includes, but is not limited to, verbal discussions, FAX transmissions, electronic mail messages, voice mail communication, written documentation, “loaning” computer access codes, and/or any other transmission or sharing of data.

Furthermore, I agree to:

  • Comply with or seek official exceptions to applicable policies and procedures.

I understand that VCU and its employees, students, patients, or others may suffer irreparable harm by disclosure of confidential or proprietary information and that VCU may seek legal remedies available to it should such disclosure occur. I understand that failure to comply with applicable policies, procedures, and regulations may result in a loss of resources and that VCU may seek legal remedies available to it should such losses occur. Further, I understand that violations of this agreement may result in disciplinary action, up to and including, termination of my employment.

Approved by: Approved by:



I have read and understand the ULP Policies and Procedures, the Polices on Ethical Behavior and agree to comply with all policies, procedures, ethical standards, and confidentiality statements related to University Development. Furthermore, I understand that a copy of this signed document will be kept on file in the Central Advancement Office.

Employee Signature Date

Supervisor’s Signature Date

Vice President’s Signature Date

Revision History:

Note: The policy document provided to the Integrity and Compliance Office is undated. The Current Approved Version Date above is an estimate based on the date of the development of the university's Policy Library.