Office of Institutional Advancement Statement of Ethics


The Office of Institutional Advancement (OIA) at the University of Pittsburgh is committed to the highest standards of ethical principles and practices in fundraising.  At the foundation of those ethical principles and practices are:  


These documents provide a framework for professional conduct for staff members in the fundraising departments of OIA.  The CASE Statement of Ethics is available to all current and potential donors, sponsors, contributors, and other stakeholders on the Pitt Giving site.  Employees of OIA are expected to adhere to the policies and procedures of the University of Pittsburgh.   


  • The OIA conducts a comprehensive orientation and on–boarding program for all new employees.  An emphasis on the philosophy, standards of conduct, and culture of the OIA are communicated clearly during this process.  All employees are required to read and sign the CASE Statement of Ethics, the Donor Bill of Rights, and the Principles of Practice for Fundraising Professionals at Educational Institutions.
  • The culture of ethical behavior in OIA is reinforced by a Vision, Mission, and Core Values Statement. The statement is reviewed during orientation with each new employee, signed, and placed in the personnel file. In addition, each employee receives a copy of the statement that is to be displayed in his/her office.
  • In order to maintain the privacy of the donors and confidential or sensitive information, all employees sign a Confidentiality Agreement at the time of hire and annually thereafter. If an employee fails to complete and submit the annual Confidentiality Agreement, his/her access to the ADVANCE Database is denied until the employee is in compliance with the expected standards.
  • The University has an extensive conflict-of-interest policy.  The OIA follows all of the procedures and principles of that policy.  All employees in the OIA are required to complete the University’s Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement (COI) annually.  Actual, perceived, or potential conflicts must be fully disclosed; when an actual, perceived, or potential conflict is disclosed, it is reported to the leadership of the organization and resolved appropriately. All COI statements are available for review.
  • The OIA is committed to providing a positive and professional workplace environment that is free from harassment and inappropriate or discriminatory behavior of any kind.   All employees are required to complete training in preventing sexual and workplace harassment. Supervisors are required to complete New Supervisor Coaching in OIA, and the series of management workshops offered by the Office of Human Resources, with the goal of preventing discrimination, bullying, or other inappropriate behavior and learning how to identify such behavior if it is occurring.
  • Although the University policy regarding gifts from donors prohibits staff from the accepting a gift exceeding $500, OIA does not permit the staff to accept gifts from donors in any amount;   invitations to stay at a donor’s home must be approved in advance by the supervisor.
  • OIA works with the Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership and the Office of Human Resources, Organization Development at the University to educate  the staff about ethics in fundraising:
  • All staff members participated in a day-long workshop entitled Ethics in Fundraising-Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls.
  • Key staff members are enrolled in the Certificate in Organizational Leadership and Ethics program (COLE) that is offered by the Berg Center.
  • Other professional development opportunities addressing this issue are offered to the entire staff as they become available.
  • OIA is committed to respectful use and stewardship of resources in all of its business practices.
  • All employees are expected to follow the University’s policies and procedures in all matters.  If an ethical concern arises, there are three avenues an employee may access to voice their concern:
    • The executive director of administration in the OIA serves as the departmental ombudsman and is able to review the problem and submit the information to the leadership of the OIA for resolution.
  • A staff member may also report a concern directly to The Office of Human Resources, Department of Employee Relations.
  • In addition, the University has an anonymous Alertline (1-866-858-4456) that can be used to report issues.

There may be occasions where the ethical boundary is unclear.  If that type of situation occurs the employee should discuss the matter with the supervisor.

A violation of the ethics standards will be handled on a case by case basis and may result in disciplinary action, including verbal or written reprimand, or possible termination.