Posted by Brian McCullough
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Reader Sarah from Buffalo writes:
“Don’t you just hate when parents bring their kids fundraising drive into the office?
A co-worker brought in the dreaded list-o-magazine-subscriptions today and went one by one to everyone’s desk. She wouldn’t leave until you bought something. I didn’t want to turn her down and feel like a heel… but I don’t even know her kids, or their school. And I don’t want any new magazines. And at $20 a pop, if everyone in the office broke down and ordered, that’s like $300!”
Brian answers after the break:
To answer your question, yes, that always drives me nuts too.
Forget about the imposition on you and the unprofessional begging at the workplace. What about the kids? It always bothers me when parents do the work for the kids. Shouldn’t a fundraiser be a learning experience, teaching networking, organizational skills, etc? What do they learn if mom and dad magically produce 3 dozen donors by extorting their co-workers?
I don’t know that this is a question that demands “expert opinion” so let me just give you my policy:
- I don’t fundraise at work. That’s a family and friends thing. It’s simply not professional.
- If I absolutely broke down and took a fundraiser into work, I wouldn’t accost people individually. I’d post the thing above my desk or in the break room and people could sign up if the spirit moved them.
- There are only two ways to handle the fundraising of others. First, have a blanket policy that you don’t contribute. If you initiate this policy, you have to stick to it. Sure, feelings might be hurt, but in the end, all comers will be disappointed, so it will even out. Second, have a blanket policy that you only contribute the same amount to everyone. Say, $10. If that’s not enough, tough (girl scout) cookies. Its a question of fairness.
Readers, do you have other strategies or policies you can add? How do you handle parents fund raising at work? Tell us in the comments.