Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Don't wait for complaints to draft a fundraising policy

The FUNdraising book explores the notion of school and district fundraising policies, pegged to a story out of Wisconsin about a band sale of a pre-packaged product that contained filet knives. I was reminded of that this morning by an article in the Albany Democrat-Herald:

"Complaints about a middle-school fundraiser last year have prompted district officials to draft a policy on school fundraisers for the Albany School Board to consider. ....

"The catalyst was a fundraiser last March at Calapooia Middle School. The Parent Teacher Student Association asked students to bring donations for PTSA programs by March 2, with the promise of an afternoon in the library with blankets, pillows and snacks for each child who brought in at least $20. Students who didn’t participate or who brought in less were to read in their classrooms instead.

"Parent complaints and letters to the editor prompted school officials to look to district policies for guidance..."

Don't wait for outraged letters to the editor to start rolling in. And PTAs, PTOs and other education groups can adopt best-practice guidelines independent of the schools they serve.

Policies can address the sale of junk food and events involving alcohol (such as wine tastings) or gambling (casino nights, raffles), how money is handled and accounted for, and many other issues. Here are a few more, from the story above:

* "forms for organizers to fill out annually that specify the goal of the fundraiser, the type of activity, the time it will take, how the funds will be collected and the number of students to be involved. ...

* "...this statement: 'Under no circumstances will students or staff be coerced or compelled to participate in fundraising activities. Students may not be barred or otherwise penalized because of a refusal to participate in fundraising activities conducted on behalf of a school or the district.'"

Do you have experiences with fundraising policies? What do you think they should include?

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