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Delivering Telephone Directories for Dollars

by Deane Brengle

Every nonprofit faces the chore of finding fresh fundraising ideas so their members won't burn out. The trend lately has been toward members volunteering time in the short term employment of a for profit company and the nonprofit reaping the benefits in the form of pay for the time volunteered. Several nationwide chains of department stores, most notably Kohl's and Hudson's, offered this opportunity over the recent holiday season.

This volunteering trend has another nationwide player eager to help nonprofits earn money for their organization. Product Development Corporation (PDC), the world's largest distributor of telephone directories, has established a web site at to help nonprofits learn about the opportunities available to them. PDC manages the delivery of over 230 million directories annually throughout the United States and Canada for Regional Bell and Independent Telephone Companies.

PDC touts their telephone directory distribution as an excellent fundraising tool for groups like religious, youth, school, cultural and ethnic, business and trade, military, retirement, athletic and recreational. There are no products to purchase or sell. It is a fast way to earn money for your group in an outdoor setting. It can be a great team building exercise and you can even have fun doing it.

So what kind of work is involved with delivering phone books? It is a labor intensive, physical work, but is easy enough for an average person to handle without difficulty. Each delivery route usually has between 50 and 500 addresses. You pick up your directories at a delivery station and deliver them using your own vehicle door-to-door based upon instructions on a route record you are provided with when you pick up your directories. You keep track of your deliveries with the route record as you go and return all unused directories and your route record to the delivery station when you are done.

PDC does have some requirements and qualifications your group must meet to ensure your group does a quality job and to protect both PDC and your group. These requirements vary but include things like the adult to non-adult ratio and the delivery area. The rule of thumb is the more adult drivers your group has, the more you can potentially earn. Bottom line is your adults must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have the use of a vehicle with current plates and insurance.
  • You must have a current, valid driver's license.
  • You must have a Social Security number.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • The group must have adequate insurance coverage for this type of work and you will be asked to show proof of insurance.

So what kind of dollars are we talking about? For each route there is a contract that sets the amount the route pays. On the average one route can be completed in three to four hours by one to two people and pays approximately $20 to $30. There are different factors like the size of the route, size of the directories, whether the directories are in bags or have inserts that go into establishing how much each route pays. Some regions offer bonuses which can earn your group extra money. Groups are paid in one lump sum check for all their work about two weeks after they complete their work.

PDC is very concerned about your safety when delivering directories. Their web site has a good list of delivery tips and lots of safety information to make this an enjoyable experience for your group.

For more information about telephone directory distribution stop by their web site at

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About the Author:

Deane Brengle writes for 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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