Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter

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December 16, 2018

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Product Fundraising in the Workplace vs. Office Etiquette

by Deane Brengle

A recent phone call from a Los Angeles Times reporter for some back ground information (yeah, I was kind of amazed too) got me thinking on this subject. But given the time of year it's relevant to think about and go over some of the issues involved.

Product fundraising always takes a hit in the media at this time of year. I don't know why but I always seem to hear Michelle Singletary's yearly rant about school fundraising.

I don't think she has touched on product fundraising in the workplace, so I going to chime up here before she can.

I think hitting on your co-workers with your children's fundraising products is OK! I even encourage it, provided you have thought long and hard about it because there are some definite "Dos & Don'ts".

Understand and Follow Your Workplace Rules

  • Many companies have established rules pertaining to the sales of merchandise by employees in their workplace. These rules apply to fundraising product sales too and not just Mary Kay or True Romance products. Violating your company's established policies may just get you more than a slap on the wrist.

  • Some companies have no rules or guidelines and you are left to determine what is right (and wrong). Always take the high road and error on the side good taste (no $2 candy bar fundraising pun intended).

  • Email to your co-workers about fundraising should be held to the same standards as any business email communications. If you don't have a previous relationship (i.e. fundraising sale or an expressed interest) with a particular co-worker then your email is nothing more than spam.

  • Going desk to desk hawking your child's fundraising product is a waste of your co-workers time and yours. If your employer doesn't have a policy against this then they should.

  • If it is allowed, approach your co-workers during your break times and lunch period. Keep your pitch low key. Most times a poster or brochure posted on an employee bulletin board or left on a break room table is perfectly acceptable. Sign up sheets and self serve boxes of candy bars are good too. Stress what the money earned will provide (i.e. soccer equipment, computer lab, etc).

  • No matter how hard you try, anyone below you on the corporate ladder will feel pressure to buy from you. Don't abuse your position. Corporate politics are tough enough without throwing resentment over fundraising sales into the mix.

Be Considerate

  • Nothing is more important than a thank you. No matter if you give your co-worker a pat on the back and a heart felt thank you or a hand written note from your child (or both!), don't forget to say thank you to all who participated in your child's fundraising sale.

  • And don't forget to smile and say "Sure, I'll buy some" when you're on the receiving end of the fundraising pitch next time. What goes around comes around!


About the Author:

Deane Brengle is the editor of several free online publications that cover fundraising for small nonprofit groups. You can visit these publications and read more about fundraising in articles by him and other experts in the field at The Fund$Raiser Cyberzine, The Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter, and Fundraising Booklets.

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