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Making Safety #1 in Fundraising

by the AFRDS

Door-to-Door Sales Not Endorsed, Not Necessary

Schools and other non-profit organizations raise nearly $2 billion (net) annually through fundraising sales of giftwrap, candy, magazines and many other products. This money pays for: computers, playground equipment, library books, field trips and many other important cultural and athletic enrichment programs. Indeed, many of these programs would not exist without the schools' self-help measures through product fundraising. However, concern for the safety of children who might ignore instructions not to fundraise door-to-door is jeopardizing the future of these programs in some school districts.

Schools, non-profit groups and companies have worked together for decades to make the safety of children involved in fundraising a number one priority. Product fundraising involves millions of student volunteers each year. By focusing on family and friends and discouraging door-to-door sales, product fundraising has a long and outstanding record of safety.

The Association of Fund Raisers and Direct Sellers (AFRDS) does not endorse door-to-door sales by children, a position it adopted in 1996 to reflect what had been an industry priority for years.

Communicating Safety to Students

Fundraising companies emphasize safety in remarks made during kick-off assemblies and presentations to students, teachers and/or parents. Many companies also incorporate safety messages into videotapes, skits and role-playing opportunities with students. Some companies recruit representatives from the local police department to help emphasize important safety information. School principals often help out with daily reminders on the intercom. Some fundraising companies also provide schools with safety posters for display and flyers for distribution to the children.

Communicating Safety to Parents

The most popular method for communicating fundraising safety procedures to parents is in a simple, straight-forward cover letter sent home with general information about the fundraising project. In some cases, children return these letters with the parent's signature to verify that the parents have read the letter. It is not unusual to find admonitions against door-to-door sales as packet inserts or printed directly on sales brochures, order forms and take-home envelopes.

As administrators, parent-teacher organizations and fundraising volunteers begin this spring to make decisions about next fall, safety for the children involved should be top priority. By working closely with a professional fundraising company to consider how best to communicate safety to students and parents, next fall's programs will be safe and effective.

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About the Author:

This article is from the Spring 1998 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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