ePhilanthropy Code of Ethical Online Philanthropic Practices

The ePhilanthropy Foundation exists to foster the effective and safe use of the Internet for philanthropic purposes. In its effort to promote high ethical standards in online fundraising and to build trust among contributors in making online transactions and contributions with the charity of their choice, this code is being offered as a guide to all who share this goal. Contributors are encouraged to be aware of non-Internet related fundraising practices that fall outside the scope of this Code.

Ethical Online Practices and Practitioners will:


  1. Clearly and specifically display and describe the organization's identity on the organization's Web site;
  2. Employ practices on the Web site that exhibit integrity, honesty, and truthfulness and seek to safeguard the public trust.


  1. Seek to inspire trust in every online transaction;
  2. Prominently display the opportunity for supporters to have their names removed from lists that are sold to, rented to, or exchanged with other organizations;
  3. Conduct online transactions through a system that employs high-level security technology to protect the donor's personal information for both internal and external authorized use;
  4. Provide either an 'opt in' and 'opt out' mechanism to prevent unsolicited communications or solicitations by organizations that obtain email addresses directly from the donor. Should lists be rented or exchanged, only those verified as having been obtained through donors or prospects 'opting in' will be used by a charity;
  5. Protect the interests and privacy of individuals interacting with their Web site;
  6. Provide a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on its Web site telling visitors, at a minimum, what information is being collected, how it is being collected, how it can be updated or removed, how this information will be used and who has access to the data.


  1. Disclose the identity of the organization or provider processing an online transaction;
  2. Guarantee that the name, logo and likeness of all parties to an online transaction belong to the party and will not be used without express permission;
  3. Maintain all appropriate governmental and regulatory designations or certifications;
  4. Provide both online and offline contact information.


  1. Provide protection to hold the donor harmless of any problem arising from a transaction conducted through the organization's Web site;
  2. Promptly respond to all customer complaints and to employ best efforts to fairly resolve all legitimate complaints in a timely fashion.


  1. Ensure contributions are used to support the activities of the organization to which they were donated;
  2. Ensure that legal control of contributions or proceeds from online transactions are transferred directly to the charity or expedited in the fastest possible way;
  3. Companies providing online services to charities will provide clear and full communication with the charity on all aspects of donor transactions, including the accurate and timely transmission of data related to online transactions;
  4. Stay informed regarding the best methods to ensure the ethical, secure and private nature of online ePhilanthropy transactions;
  5. Adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of all applicable laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, charity solicitation and tax laws;
  6. Ensure that all services, recognition and other transactions promised on a Web site, in consideration of gift or transaction, will be fulfilled on a timely basis;
  7. Disclose to the donor the nature of the relationship between the organization processing the gift or transaction and the charity intended to benefit from the gift.

Approved: November 12, 2000
Revised: January 25, 2001/September 23, 2002/ September 23, 2004 / December 8, 2005

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EPhilanthropy Foundation ©2004, 2005, 2006