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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Ethical Gift Acceptance Case Studies

Is it ethical to accept a gift from a donor whose family has engaged in exploitative labor practices? Predatory lending? Embezzlement? How might you justify your decision publicly?

The three cases below offer illustrations of scenarios where the framework for ethical decision making for nonprofits would apply. We encourage you to work through these with your team. First, apply the five-step framework to each case to reach a decision about whether you would accept the gift in question. Then, explain how you would justify your decision. Are you able to convince each other? Do you think your justification would be persuasive to relevant stakeholders?


Ethical Gift Acceptance Cases


For more information, please contact:

Joan Harrington
Director, Social Sector Ethics

More on Social Sector Ethics