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Lessons for the Real World

by the AFRDS

Fundraising teaches older students numerous “real world” lessons, according to author Chad Foster. His book, Teenagers Preparing for the Real World, lists several lessons the fundraising sales experience can provide.

  • Soft Skills – Fundraising is one way for kids to learn the importance of teamwork, being on time, developing a firm handshake, starting a conversation and looking someone in the eye when speaking. All of these are simple skills required in the workforce and essential to learn early in life.

  • Art of Persuasion – A well developed sales pitch that includes the product, the cost, the delivery time and the benefits to the organization, is a good way to practice the skills of persuasion. Likewise, fundraising sales experience teaches students how to handle rejection and deal with difficult people.

  • Customer Service – Delivering the product on time and including a thank you note demonstrates customer service. According to Foster, “You never know who will remember that customer service and may be in position to help you when you’re starting a lawn-mowing or babysitting business.”

  • Goal Setting – Fundraising presents organizational challenges – creating a sales plan, setting revenue targets and being flexible at solving problems

  • Handling Money – Fundraising offers great opportunities to practice counting, taking and tracking orders. In other words, banking and accounting.

  • Resumé Boosters – Teenagers that take a leadership role on the project or in the club sponsoring the fundraiser could use this on their college resumé, on job applications and as conversation starters in interviews when experience is key.

It’s important to remember that while fundraising provides students numerous real-world experiences and opportunities, safety should always be priority number one.

According to the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors and Suppliers, “Children should never be allowed to sell door-to-door unless directly supervised by a parent or adult. Fundraising companies, school and organization leaders and parents must be diligent in assuring that children participate in fundraisers in a safe manner.”

So be sure to have fun and keep it safe!


About the Author: This article is from the Spring 2006 issue of the Fundraising Edge, an online publication of the Association of Fund Raisers and Direct Sellers 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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