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Ethics & Policy Resources for Nonprofits

Information to help your organization comply with DMA member guidelines

DMANF Nonprofit Accountability Dashboard

Nonprofit Dashboard logoThis tool provides snapshot transparency of relevant metrics to donors who otherwise look to third party reporting sites. While most of the information on the Nonprofit Dashboard is already available on an organization’s website within annual reports, etc., many donors and other constituents prefer quick views over poring through multi-page online publications. DMANF Nonprofit members are strongly encouraged to take the industry lead in adopting the Nonprofit Dashboard into its annual public reporting.

As part of this initiative, DMANF evaluated opportunities to include qualitative — as well as quantitative — reporting within the Dashboard to share, in a very public-friendly way, organizational priorities, progress against short- and long- term goals, and obstacles to success. Charting Impact, an initiative led by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, GuideStar USA, and Independent Sector, does exactly this. Many organizations are already using Charting Impact as part of GuideStar Exchange. DMANF therefore is coordinating with GuideStar to promote Charting Impact and to explore future opportunities for shared efforts in this area.

Kudos to early adopters!

If your Dashboard will be posted to your 
website by January 2, 2015, email Alicia Osgood to let us know so we can recognize your work here. Currently, these organizations are using the Dashboard:

Instructions to DMANF nonprofit members

  1. Complete the DMA Nonprofit Dashboard with 3 years of quantified performance across 8 metrics. Numbers reported in the Nonprofit Dashboard should be consistent with audited financial statements and other published service reports, as applicable.
  2. Post the Nonprofit Dashboard on your website.
    • Post the dashboard with your annual report, audited financials, etc. That’s where donors will naturally navigate to find this type of information. This should be no more than two clicks from your home page.
    • Include a link on other pages highly trafficked by donors, e.g., a donors services FAQ page.
    • Use the term “Nonprofit Dashboard” when referring to or linking to this graph. Together we will build name recognition over time.
    • Educate your donor services staff to direct donors to this new resource.
  3. Complete a Charting Impact report via Guidestar. Charting Impact helps your organization tell your story in an accessible, concise way by answering five simple yet powerful questions. DMANF is encouraging members to use this functionality within Guidestar and link to it from your Dashboard.
  4. Ongoing: Update most recent year numbers annually, when your new annual report and audited financials are made available to constituents.

Thank you for your leadership in adopting the Nonprofit Dashboard reporting tool as part of your organization’s due diligence in providing complete, relevant, and easy to use information to the public. Your feedback is very important. We welcome suggestions to ensure the Nonprofit Dashboard a useful tool for your organization and your supporters. Questions? Email Alicia Osgood.

  • Sample DMANF Nonprofit Accountability Dashboard
  • Template for DMANF Nonprofit Accountability Dashboard

Ethical Guidelines


DMA Consumer Choice Services

The DMA asks that all members abide by consumer choices for their marketing offers, regardless of the marketing channels used. The DMA provides several suppression file services to its subscribers to process as they prepare marketing and fundraising campaigns.

Nonprofit members should email Alicia Osgood as there is special consideration on pricing from DMA’s third-party provider (Interactive Marketing Solutions) for nonprofits not already benefiting from these services via their agencies/suppliers. See DMA Consumer Choice Suppression Services, 2014.

The Nonprofit Federation intends and believes that its guidelines for ethical behavior are the strictest and most comprehensive in both the direct marketing and charitable communities. As an operating division of the Direct Marketing Association, the Nonprofit Federation requires its members to adhere to the same ethical guidelines as other DMA members, as delineated in the Commitment to Consumer Choice, which all DMA members are required to sign, and the Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice (a specially annotated version for DMANF members) and the Donor’s Bill of Rights, as adopted by the Nonprofit Federation and other major organizations representing the nonprofit sector. Members and staff monitor the actions of the membership and of others in the nonprofit community, and take appropriate action in cases of suspected ethical violations.


The Donor Bill of Rights

Complaints to the DMA Committee on Ethical Business Practice are handled confidentially. If possible, complaints are resolved by modifying the offending documents or procedures, which the Committee reviews before closing the case. If a known violation continues, the Committee will publicize its findings, including the name of the violator and the facts of the case. Where a law may have been violated, it forwards the case to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and publicizes the referral.


Policy Alerts & Information

POSTAL CENTER: Like us on Facebook (DMA Nonprofit Federation), follow us on Twitter (@DMANF) and read our bi-weekly News Update (Thursdays) to stay continuously informed.

CHARITABLE DEDUCTION: We continue to monitor all tax reform proposals and will keep you apprised as developments occur.Questions or comments? Contact Xenia “Senny” Boone, Esquire.


Charity Watchdogs

Executive summaries of DMANF-commissioned studies take the bite out of Watchdogs


Charity Navigator

The DMA Nonprofit Federation sent a letter to Charity Navigator stating its concerns with Charity Navigator’s standards for measuring charities that no longer take longstanding accounting standards into consideration. The joint letter includes major organizations who oppose Charity Navigator’s online statement that nonprofit organizations can provide an accurate measure of an organization’s financial performance by ignoring accepted accounting principles.

“Instead, nonprofit organizations should continue to adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), including the use of joint cost allocation. In fact, the AICPA Statement of Position (SOP) 98-2 accounting guidance explicitly documents joint cost allocation methodology as an accurate and fair presentation of a nonprofit’s use of funds for activities that include a fundraising appeal, with costs divided between fundraising, public education, and management & general.

Furthermore, we do not endorse Charity Navigator’s reliance on simplistic financial ratios for evaluating a nonprofit’s activities and mission accomplishments,” said the DMANF in its letter.

The DMANF provided a position statement with its letter.

Charity Navigator, through its CEO Ken Berger, responded to our letter. In Berger’s reply he does not indicate a desire to make a change or to meet with us, but points to their current standards that he believes are justifiable.

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Make a difference!

Contact your Congressman or Senator about the issues that affect you and your organization. And make sure your voice is heard by enrolling in the DMANF Grassroots Network!


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