The conversation among grant professionals about the different ethical situations that they can encounter in grant development and management is a diverse one. It is often difficult to imagine the multitude of potential situations that could raise an ethical warning flag without having experienced or heard of something similar in the field.
Our guest, Heather Stombaugh, GPC, MBA (@heatherJWS) summarized the conversation and a grant professional’s best approach to ethical situations very well: ” Recognize when it feels wrong in your gut. We should depend more on our intuition at times like this.”
As the #grantchat community talked about the different scenarios that could lead to ethically sticky situations, there was a wide variety of situations that were share. The scenarios and ethical warning signs shared extended into all aspects of our grant work rather than focusing only on ethical compenstion as can be where many grant professionals focus their understanding of the Grant Professionals Association Code of Ethics. I believe that when those warning flags and scenarios are compiled, the list makes for a good primer for those new to thinking about ethical situations for grant professionals.
Here is a list of a variety of warning flags from our #grantchat community that may give you a moments pause if you encounter them during your grant seeking or grant management work:
- Scenario: should I take money from a tobacco company even if they’re the only funder on earth for my type of work? – Heather Stombaugh, GPC, MBA (@heatherJWS)
- When a grant professional will receive funds from a grant they develop – be very clear, open, – document document document – Jo Miller, GPC (@jm_grants)
- Competition between mutual clients for the same grant. Be open & quick in decision making about this. – Minerva Saddler (@saddlergrants)
- When we (nonprofit leaders, GW) allow a $ motive to take prime of place over mission. Profit is good, but not for that price. – Heather Stombuagh, GPC, MBA (@heatherJWS)
- Supporting a program or endowment named for board member. – Josh Jacobson, CFRE (@joshCFRE)
- Being asked to get paid from a grant once/if it is funded versus payment for product. – Gayla Rawlinson (@gaylarawlinson)
- Not engaging stakeholders/partners after funding is received = misleading. – Minerva Saddler (@saddlergrannts)
- When we allow our clients to go forward with a grant application we know they are not ready to mang. or are not eligible. – Jo Miller (@jm_grants)
- Writing as if you have collaborators on board when you don’t have them in place prior to proposal submission. – Gayla Rawlinson (@gaylarawlinson)
- If presented with opportunity to “spin” I stop. Kind of an internal warning bell. You can spin words, but not the truth. – Heather Stombaugh (@heatherJWS)
When you as a grant professional encounter a situation similiar to any of those outlined above, or something that makes your gut question the practice, heed the advice of our guest, Heather Stombaugh, and “Assess it, then state/address it, move forward. Appearance of impropriety does not mean there’s an actual conflict.”
What other scenarios or warning flags do you think should be added to this list? We’d love to hear from you via the comment box below or using the #grantchat hashtag on Twitter!
Still looking for a little more clarity on ethics within the grant profession? You can check out the full transcript of this week’s chat via Storify here, and you should read Heather Stombaugh’s piece about Ethical Practices in the Grant Profession as part of a recent GPC Competency #linkyparty.