- Scope of consideration
- Donation Policy
- Recurring Donations
- Gift Acceptance Policy
- Conflict of Interest Policy
- Employment/Affiliation Policy: Potential conflicts of interest
- Social Media Policies
Bylaws are rules that an organization creates to regulate itself. They also establish guidelines that govern future choices. The ACE Bylaws provide details about our governance and decision-making process.
We consider for recommendation primarily groups which act on behalf of animals through their own programs. We do not consider foundations or other groups which use a large part of their budget to make grants to other organizations within our scope of consideration. However, the existence of a grant program as part of a group’s activities does not remove it from our consideration if the program a) represents a small portion of the organization’s total expenditures and/or b) primarily distributes small-scale grants to individuals or to groups with overall very low budgets. The intent of this decision is to avoid evaluating organizations which would primarily redistribute donations to other groups that we could evaluate individually while leaving open the possibility of recommending an organization which supports small-scale and early-stage projects through grants, as we could not direct individual donations to such projects accurately or efficiently on our own.
We do not consider ACE as a charity for recommendation, as doing so would create a conflict of interest. Additionally, we do not consider organizations whose primary leadership has donated to ACE. See our donation policy below for more details.
Our donation policy helps ensure that we do not have a conflict of interest between our donors and our recommendations. We include the entire policy below. It can also be found at the end of our bylaws.
Section 1. Definition
A donation conflict of interest arises when an individual strongly tied to an organization eligible for ACE’s recommendation offers a contribution to ACE. A donation conflict of interest could also occur if ACE applied for and was awarded a grant from an organization that could plausibly be recommended. In both these circumstances, the acceptance of such a donation could be perceived as influencing the evaluation process.
The term “strongly tied” refers to key decision-making individuals within an organization, and consists most often of, but is not limited to, the Executive Director and President/Chair of the board.
Donations from employees or other board members of an organization will be allowed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the perceived influence that said individual has over the organization.
ACE will accept grants/donations from organizations that are outside our plausible scope for recommendations, as this is not a conflict of interest.
Section 2. Disclosure of donation conflict of interest
ACE features a link on our Donate page directing readers to the donation conflict of interest policy.
Section 3. Potential exceptions
It is possible that a donor may become “strongly tied” to an organization. In that situation, future donations will not be accepted, but ACE will not be required to return past contributions.
As ACE obtains donations from a larger pool of donors, it may be unfeasible to be aware of all donor affiliations. If ACE was not aware of an affiliation that creates a conflict of interest at the time of receiving the donation, ACE may choose to keep the donation even if it becomes aware of such an affiliation at a later time.
If ACE corresponds with an organization that is interested in supporting ACE’s work but has no interest in being recommended, ACE may accept that support if the organization surrenders its potential for consideration for at least three years from the date of the last donation.
Section 4. Actions involving conflict of interest donations
Should ACE receive a donation from an individual “strongly tied” to an organization eligible for a recommendation, the donation will be returned, and said individual will be directed to the section of the site that addresses this issue. Similarly, ACE will not apply for grants from organizations that could be considered for future recommendations.
Section 5. Donor privacy
Our commitment to respect the privacy of our supporters extends to how we obtain, use, protect, and share information about them. For any personal identifying information that is shared with ACE, either by making a donation or signing up to receive email updates from ACE, it will be stored in our database and protected as follows:
We do not share, sell, or trade the names or contact information of our donors or email subscribers with any other entities, except as described below.
For people who make a donation to a Top Charity through ACE, their name and contact information will be shared only with the charity/charities to which they made a donation. Our Top Charities are required not to share these donors’ information with any other entities without first obtaining the donor’s permission. If a donor prefers for their gift to be reported anonymously to our Top Charities, they can let us know.
For any published names (for example, in our Annual Review, on our Top Donors web page, or on our Testimonials web page), we have obtained explicit permission from the supporters to publish their names and any accompanying information.
Recurring Donation Terms and Agreement:
- ACE hereby represents and warrants that ACE has the authorization to bill its donors’ Paypal or credit card accounts for the amounts and for the period of time indicated by the donor at the time they enroll with ACE’s monthly giving program.
- ACE hereby represents and warrants that ACE has complied with all applicable bank and credit card rules in billing its donors’ credit card and in its use of PayPal Merchant Services.
- By authorizing a recurring donation, you are consenting to the terms outlined in PayPal’s Recurring Payments and Billing Agreement.
Modify Your Recurring Donation:
To make any of the following modifications to your monthly donation, please contact ACE’s Director of Operations, Gina Stuessy.
- Donation amount
- Donation currency
- Date of recurring donation
- Retry monthly donation
- Donation frequency
- Provide a new credit card number
- Provide a new credit card expiration date
- Term limit (number of payments) – default is infinite
- Update your name, address, or email address
Cancel Your Recurring Donation:
- If you selected Paypal as your payment option, you can cancel your donation via your Paypal account, or by contacting ACE’s Director of Operations, Gina Stuessy.
- If you selected Credit Card as your payment option, you can cancel your donation by filling out this form, or by contacting ACE’s Director of Operations, Gina Stuessy.
For more details on what types of donations we accept, view our Gift Acceptance Policy.
Our conflict of interest policy helps ensure that we do not have a conflict of interest between our staff or board members and our recommendations. We include the entire policy below. It can also be found at the end of our bylaws.
Section 1. Definition
A conflict of interest arises whenever an individual is in a position to approve or influence corporation policies or actions which involve or could potentially benefit or harm financially:
(a) the individual;
(b) any member of the individual’s immediate family (spouse, parents, children, brothers or sisters, and spouses of these individuals); or
(c) any corporation in which the individual or an immediate family member is a Director, officer, member, or partner.
Section 2. Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest
A director or officer shall disclose to the president, secretary, or Board a conflict of interest:
(a) prior to voting on or otherwise discharging any duties with respect to any matter involving the conflict;
(b) prior to the corporation entering into any contract or transaction involving the conflict;
(c) as soon as possible after the director or officer learns of the conflict; and
(d) on any conflict of interest disclosure form required by the corporation. The Board of Directors, by a twothirds vote of all disinterested directors then in office, may remove a director or officer for failure to promptly disclose a known conflict of interest.
Section 3. Actions Involving Potential Conflicts of Interest
Following receipt of information concerning a contract or transaction involving a potential conflict of interest, the Board shall consider the material facts concerning the proposed contract or transaction including the process by which the decision was made to recommend entering into the arrangement on the terms proposed. The Board shall approve only those contracts or transactions in which the terms are fair and reasonable to the corporation and the arrangements are consistent with the best interests of the corporation. Fairness includes, but is not limited to, the concepts that the corporation should pay no more than fair market value for any goods or services which the corporation receives and that the corporation should receive fair market value consideration for any goods or services that it furnishes others. The Board shall set forth the basis for its decision with respect to approval of contracts or transactions involving conflicts of interest in the minutes of the meeting at which the decision is made, including the basis for determining that the consideration to be paid is fair to the corporation. The interested director or officer should not be present for the discussion and decision concerning the authorization of such contract or transaction; however, interested directors may be counted in determining the presence of a quorum at a meeting of the Board of Directors or Committee which authorizes such contract or transaction.
Section 4. Compensation of Directors and Officers
No director or officer of the corporation shall receive, directly or indirectly, any compensation or other payment from the corporation, unless authorized by the concurring vote of twothirds (2/3) of all the directors then in office and in no event shall any compensation or payment be paid or made, except reasonable compensation for services actually rendered or reimbursement for disbursements actually incurred.
Employment/Affiliation Policy: Potential conflicts of interest
Section 1. Definitions
An employment/affiliation conflict of interest (COI) may arise when an ACE staff or board member has a strong tie to an organization eligible for ACE’s recommendation. These could involve formal or informal positions, paid or unpaid, and are allowable in some circumstances but not others.
No board member shall have a paid position with an organization that progresses to the stage of comprehensive review. Board members may have a formal volunteer position with an organization that is evaluated by ACE.
No staff member shall have a paid position with an organization that is evaluated by ACE. Staff members may not have a formal position with an organization that is evaluated by ACE, even if it is volunteer.
A COI may arise when a former staff member takes a position at an organization eligible for ACE’s recommendation, since they may have direct experience in conducting evaluations while at ACE. ACE cannot forbid its former employees from taking these positions, but we do have a policy that states that former ACE employees may not be the primary contact person for an evaluation.
Though ACE lists this as a potential COI, it believes that having a former ACE employee at a considered organization would not provide much advantage over other organizations, since ACE makes its review process and criteria publicly available and tries to help all evaluated charities understand what aspects of their work it is most interested in knowing about.
An affiliation COI may arise when ACE works on a project with an organization eligible for ACE’s recommendation. ACE attempts to limit extensive or repeated collaboration with any given charity that is eligible for recommendation and publicly lists those that exist on our Disclosures webpage.
Section 2. Disclosure of employment/affiliation conflict of interest
ACE features a section on its website identifying the relationships of staff and board to recommended organizations and any other affiliations that ACE has to organizations eligible for a recommendation.
Section 3. Potential exceptions
Board members may have a formal position on another organization’s board, so long as it is in a volunteer capacity; in this situation, board members would recuse themselves from any discussion regarding the charity in question. Board members may also volunteer in other ways, again with the same recusal applying to relevant discussions.
Staff members may volunteer for an organization eligible for an ACE recommendation, so long as it is not a formal position and is entirely unpaid.
Both staff and board members may apply for grants from the ACE Advocacy Research Fund. However, these applications must be submitted in compliance with the conflict of interest policy created by the Advocacy Research Fund. This may include the Program Officer recusing him/herself from evaluating the proposal, and instead passing that responsibility onto an appropriate member of the oversight committee.
Both staff and board members may accept travel and lodging compensation when speaking at events, including those organized by considered or recommended charities. However, neither staff nor board may accept honoraria from a considered or recommended organization.
Advisory board members are not subject to the confines of this policy given their infrequent involvement and lack of decision-making authority.
Section 4. Actions involving employment/affiliation conflict of interest
Should ACE realize an external relationship from a board or staff member that does not adhere to these by-laws, said individual will be directed to resolve their relationship to be in compliance with this policy. If such a relationship is unable to be resolved, ACE will take action to remedy the situation, which may include restructuring or termination as appropriate.
Any discovered violations of this conflict of interest will result in the pertinent organization being unable to be considered for a minimum of one year after the conflict of interest has been resolved.
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