Fundraisers are plentiful at work, as colleagues and coworkers circulate charity catalogs and sponsorship forms. Especially if you have children, you may ponder passing around a few fundraiser flyers at your place of employment for school activities, clubs, and causes.
What fundraising tactics are taboos at work, and what appeal practices are considered acceptable?
Take a peek at these seven career courtesy steps before committing a fundraising foible or faux pas on the job. Your friendly work environment may depend upon it.
1. Check company policies about fundraising first.
Many employers have printed policies that either ban on-the-job appeals or provide strict guidelines for charitable concerns. Large companies, in particular, tend to be squeamish about employees approaching one another with fundraising requests. Some outfits have express "no soliciting" rules.
Far too many well-meaning individuals have stepped into proverbial hot water at their places of employment by promoting worthy causes and offering items for sale to coworkers.
2. Don't ask employees to donate or purchase, if you're the boss.
Peer pressure is powerful enough, but higher-ups have an unfair advantage when it comes to fundraising campaigns. As a general rule of courtesy, managers and supervisors are smart to refrain from putting staffers on the spot by soliciting them with fundraising sales.
Conversely, it can be quite awkward for employees to try to sell fundraising goods or request event sponsorships from their higher-ups. Are the extra sales worth potentially making a working relationship a bit uncomfortable?
3. Post your appeal, rather than asking in-person.
If company policy allows, employees may often stick fundraising booklets, samples or sign-up sheets in break rooms or on common-area bulletin boards. Some departments may encourage folks to circulate such materials with pass-along routing slips. These low-pressure approaches keep participation voluntary and eliminate awkwardness for those who choose to decline.
4. Avoid mass e-mails to promote fundraisers.
Donation- or sales-seeking emails to huge lists of colleagues are considered bad form at work. This spammy approach rarely leads to fundraising success, as such missives are often deleted immediately. If you must send an email, keep the recipient list to your own department or to fellow staffers you actually know.
Posting fundraiser requests publicly to coworkers on Facebook and other social networking sites is also somewhat discourteous.
5. Deliver items as soon as possible.
Who hasn't known the frustration of ordering an overpriced roll of gift wrap, crock of cheese or winter wreath and waited weeks to receive the item? If coworkers are kind enough to participate in fundraising sales, the least the seller can do it pass along the products promptly.
6. Thank all fundraiser customers personally.
Sure, folks who order pricey popcorn or costly chocolates will receive merchandise for their money. However, it behooves the one soliciting to thank participants profusely.
7. Turn-about is fair play.
Most fundraisers occur at least annually. Fellow employees quickly recognize one-sided sellers, who regularly beg others to purchase from school catalogs, but never buy when coworkers ask them. Fairness counts in fundraising. If you ask, you should plan to buy when it's your turn.
Can we keep fundraisers under control at work?
Let's face it. Virtually every single employee in a given workplace may have school-aged children at home or in her extended family. Most of us also have extracurricular cultural, athletic, hobby or other interests of our own. Fundraising appeals could run rampant at work, if we didn't mind our manners and keep such requests as low-key as possible.
Similar etiquette guidelines would apply, if you're considering soliciting folks at the club, the gym, or another favorite gathering place for your child's fundraiser appeal.
Although many of these manner-focused matters may sound like common sense tips, anyone working in group settings can attest to the frequency with which folks overstep these basic boundaries.
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