Text Only Page



Trent’s VP External Relations & Advancement Appointed First Canadian Chair of Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Ethics Committee


Dianne Lister to Oversee International Curriculum on Ethical Fundraising

Monday, February 25, 2008, Peterborough

Dianne Lister, vice-president of external relations and advancement at Trent University, was recently named chair of the International Ethics Committee for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the first Canadian to be named to this position.

All of the 30,000 international members of AFP must ascribe to the Code of Ethics and Professional Standards, and be subject to its enforcement proceedings and sanctions. The Code, in existence for over 40 years, is recognized as the gold standard in the charitable and not-for-profit sector.

"Ethics is the cornerstone of charitable fundraising, and AFP's Ethics Committee oversees this critical aspect of our association and indeed all of the profession," said Paulette. V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. "Dianne's knowledge and experience in fundraising and ethics are second to none, and she is well regarded by fundraisers not just in Canada, but around the world. I look forward to working with her and having a tremendous year."

The Ethics Committee is a standing committee of the AFP’s Board of Directors. Its purpose is to provide continual review, interpretation, development and enforcement of the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards. The Ethics Committee’s current members are from the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, Peurto Rica and Australia.

"Protecting the public trust is the ultimate responsibility of professional philanthropic fundraisers,” Ms. Lister said. “One of the roles of the AFP Ethics Committee is to provide educational opportunities where practitioners can study and reflect upon matters such as the duty of a fiduciary, undue influence, conflict of interest and the appearance of impropriety. Using case studies and theoretical frameworks help to sharpen our ability to spot ethical issues and address them in a pro-active way."

As chair, Ms. Lister will act as the spokesperson for AFP’s Code of Ethics and related educational program. Ms. Lister will work with committee members to develop a new Ethics curriculum that will help educate over 28,000 AFP members and other professionals about the Code and ethical issues within the profession. Another focus will be to expand the enforcement proceedings and sanctions to be applied to the new membership category of “business member” (companies that provide services to charitable organizations).

Dianne will design and lead several Ethics workshops in 2008, including one scheduled in Peterborough with local colleagues on April 23, 2008. A similar workshop held on February 7, 2008 in Arlington, Virginia, attracted 62 senior fundraising professionals.

Ms. Lister, who started her role as vice-president at Trent in 2006, has served on the AFP Ethics Committee for six years. She is the first Canadian to be named as chair. Her chairmanship started January 1, 2008 and will end on December 31, 2008. She is eligible to be re-elected as chair for a second year in 2009.

Prior to joining Trent, Ms. Lister was the president and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation from 1993 to 2003 having served prior to that as its executive vice president and chief operating officer. Other leadership experience in philanthropy was gained prior to this time with the Canadian Cancer Society, Metro Toronto District and The Catholic Children’s Aid Society where she served from 1984 to 1989, first in their Legal Department as Child Welfare Counsel followed by a role as Foundation Administrator.

Ms. Lister holds an Honours B.A. in English Literature from Trent University (1976) and an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School (1980) in Toronto.

"My training in law, and work as a social justice lawyer, makes me acutely aware that one can follow the letter of the law and still be in breach of ethical principles,” she said, “Working with this international organization I am looking forward to learning how AFP's Code of Ethics can be applied with cultural sensitivity, and I am proud to bring a Canadian context to this international role."

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents nearly 30,000 members in more than 196 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession.


For more information, please contact:
Dianne Lister, vice-president, external relations and advancement, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x7207