Samples, Research & Tools
Examples of Potential Conflicts of Interest in Advancement

The following examples are intended to help CASE members be attuned to the potential conflicts of interest they may face in their roles advancing institutions. See the CASE Statement on Conflicts of Interest and related resources for guidance on addressing conflicts. CASE welcomes other examples that will help advancement professionals identify potential conflicts of interest. Send ideas and comments to goldsmith@case.org.

An alumni relations director must decide between competing bids for an affinity program: One vendor provides greater revenue for the alumni association and the other provides a greater benefit to graduates. (This is a potential conflict between the interests of an institution and its constituents.)

An advancement services officer recommends use of a software system and is later asked to serve on the developer's advisory board, which meets twice a year at popular vacation resorts. The developer pays all expenses associated with participation at board meetings. (This is a potential conflict between an institutional representative and the institution.)

A major donor whose business is competing for an institutional contract implies that she will not fulfill her multi-year pledge if she does not receive the contract. (This is a potential conflict between competing interests within an institution.)

A magazine editor is asked to freelance for the magazine of a competing institution. (This is a potential conflict between an institutional representative and the institution.)

An alumnus calls to find out how he can post a job for a new engineering graduate, and the alumni officer suggests that his son might be perfect for the position. (This is a potential conflict between an institutional representative and a constituent.)

A local tobacco firm pledges funds to secure naming rights of a new stadium on a smoke-free campus. (This is a potential conflict between competing interests within an institution.)

A donor offers the use of his vacation home for a major gift officer's family getaway. (This is a potential conflict between an institutional representative and a constituent.)

An institution's development officer occasionally consults for a fundraising firm on her own time; the officer is asked to serve on a selection committee to identify a fundraising consultant for the institution's upcoming campaign. (This is a potential conflict between an institutional representative and the institution.)

An alumni tour vendor invites the family of the alumni association director to join the tour at no cost. (This is a potential conflict between an institutional representative and the institution.)

The institution's advertising firm sends an expensive holiday gift basket to the campus marketing director who contracted with the company. (This is a potential conflict between an institutional representative and the institution.)

A legislator with influence over the institution's budget allocation seeks a government relations director's help getting his daughter admitted into a selective program from which she has been initially rejected. (This is a potential conflict between the interests of an institution and its constituents.)

SampleCollection_ConflictofInterest

The Library maintains a collection of ethics and conflict of interest policies.

View samples

RelatedResources_EthicsAccountability