Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter

A free newsletter with fundraising ideas, tips, and secrets for the small nonprofit fundraiser

December 16, 2018

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Workplace Fundraising Dos & Don'ts
by the AFRDS

"Don't feel obliged. But feel free (and don't forget to leave $1)." So read a sign put up in an office break room next to chocolate bars for sale by one mom hoping to help her saxophonist son raise money to pay for a field trip. This is just one idea for how to raise money without raising hackles in the workplace.

More and more parents are looking at their co-workers as potential fund-raising customers. Likewise, more and more businesses are placing limits on what they consider appropriate for fund-raising among co-workers. Here are some ideas for tasteful workplace fund-raising to pass on to your parent volunteers.

  • Target Your Sales

    There are three kinds of fundraising customers: Those who have shown an interest in your product/s; those who have purchased from you before; and those from whom you've purchased items. Be selective about who you approach and focus proactive efforts on these three potential customers. Make sure these in-person appeals to co-workers are only made during work breaks and lunch hours. And be aware that the higher you are on the corporate ladder, the harder it is to prevent people who work for you from feeling pressure to buy something.

  • ... And Let the Rest Come to You

    Reserve office equipment for company business only - not fund-raising. Avoid sending broad announcements about your fundraising project via company e-mail. Instead, take advantage of high-traffic, central locations - office and break room bulletin boards - to post fundraising flyers, sign-up sheets and self-serve product kits.

  • Merchandise Creatively

    Display your fund-raising items in a festive basket or alongside themed props. Example: put candy bars in a festive basket with a baseball and glove alongside a photo of your child in the team uniform with a sign that says: "Buy this candy to support Matt's dream to "play ball."

  • ... And Don't Forget to Say Thank You

    Remember to thank supporters, particularly those without children whose generosity is seldom reciprocated. After the fund-raising drive, treat your supporters to donuts or bagels and let them know how much money your office contributed to the child's school, little league or other organization. A hand-written thank you note from your child will only enhance the "aawwhh" quotient.

References: "Is this any place to sell candy?" by Janet Bodnar, senior editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, January 1999; "Dr. Tightwad on Fundraising Etiquette," Kids & Money, Kiplinger Online ( "Charity Begins at Work" by Ellen Neuborne, USA Today, January 22, 1997.


Editor's Note:This article is from the Fall 2003 issue of the Fundraising Edge, an online publication of the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors and Suppliers, and is reprinted with permission. Visit their web site at for more information and a look at the complete issues of the Fundraising Edge.

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