Press Release

A New Model Ethical Funding Policy for NGOs

Released by: ECPMF

Berlin/Leipzig, 2 September 2019 - How do NGOs accept funding from the corporate sector? What are the best practices with unsolicited donations? How could/should NGOs handle funds arriving from foundations, public or unknown sources?

These were the first questions raised when in 2018 two organisations, the Digital Freedom Fund (DFF) and the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, first started to think about a model policy for NGOs on ethical founding. While many civil society organizations are challenged in their daily work to find answers to the questions above, a comprehensive, easy-to-use model policy had been missing from the toolbox of the not-for-profit sector.

DFF and Liberties were soon joined by the European Center on Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), as well as by Ben Wagner. Following sessions during which the goal was to define the list of possible problems and areas of interest, the group got excellent pro bono help from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice.

The now ready Model Ethical Funding Policy covers all possible problematic questions related to the funding of NGOs and serves as a great resource for every civil society organization that wants to develop its own documents. It is free of charge, and organisations can use and, if needed, modify the document when preparing their own tools. To prevent future commercial use of the document but ensure easy use for members of civil society, the Policy is published under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license (attribution and share alike).

The groups involved in the development of the Model Ethical Funding Policy are pleased to see the final product of their work, and truly appreciate the help of their pro bono partners. Since ethical issues around funding often raise questions in the daily work of NGOs, the Model Policy can serve as a great tool for a range of civil society organisations across the globe.

You may download the document on this page.

In case of questions, please don’t hesitate to call the ECPMF at +49 341 200403 13 or contact

Creative Commons LicenseThis article is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
Source information: This article was originally published by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom –