Philanthropic tourism and ethics in charitable organizations: a case study in Central Kenya
Lacey, G, Weiler, B & Peel, V 2015, 'Philanthropic tourism and ethics in charitable organizations: a case study in Central Kenya', Tourism Recreation Research, 13 November.
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The not-for-profit sector works within a market environment, in which charities compete with one another for donations. Despite their humanitarian aims, the sector suffers from both financial and sexual misconduct. Some researchers have called for the creation of professional bodies with self-governing accreditation schemes to monitor and signal ethical behaviour and provide charities with a competitive advantage. An ethnographic case study of a charitable field project in Kenya is analyzed within the frameworks of motivation theory and core values theory. Multiple ethical violations were found and reported on by visitors. As an alternative to accreditation which can be expensive and can divert donations away from worthy programme activities, this paper argues for the use of philanthropic tourism, i.e. a visitor programme. Combined with a well-structured code of conduct, such programmes can provide the small to medium-sized charity with a cost effective, revenue enhancing way of signalling and enforcing ethical behaviour in the not-for-profit organizations.