The Ethical Issues in the Fundraising Industry and Its Governance: A Virtue Ethics Perspective

WANG Yinchun, SU Wei


Ethical issues in the contemporary Chinese fundraising industry are increasingly foregrounded, and effective governance has emerged as a particularly important and urgent priority. However, this issue has not received sufficient theoretical and practical attention. We apply a range of tools (factual and value-based, inductive and deductive approaches; historical and logical dialectics; and comparative analysis) to briefly describe the historical development of domestic and international fundraising ethics. We clarify its importance by drawing on a factual description of the main ethical issues in the fundraising industry. A comparative analysis of the three main ethical theories of utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics reveals that virtue ethics is more adaptable in guiding fundraising behavior in contemporary China. In order to effectively address the many ethical issues in the fundraising industry, we argue that a process approach should be adopted that draws on a virtue ethics perspective, which focuses on the character of fundraisers at the time of qualification. We optimize the code of fundraising ethics by drawing on a combination of character and normative provisions, and regulate fundraising behavior, which enables us to shape fundraisers’ professional virtues. Fundraising performance is evaluated by referring to fundraising results, motivation and emotion. We find that while there are still some ethical dilemmas and conflicts in the fundraising industry, issues of good and evil, right and wrong and value ranking still lack a consensus and are open-ended. Future research needs to address this limitation.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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