Question: Conflict of Interest? Board member and fundraising rep

We have an officer on our PTO board that is also a rep for Gold Canyon Candles. She has offered to donate all of her proceeds in addition to the 40% from Gold Canyon to the PTO. Since she isn't going to be making any money on this deal and is just doing it to support the PTO, is this a conflict of interest? I was thinking that if we kept detailed records of the money and agreed in advance to purchase something the school has requested that it would be okay. What do you think?

Asked by Branners



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
This is a very nice gesture by your board member, and you should thank her for it. But that doesn't mean you should automatically run this fundraiser. Parents will only support so many fundraisers, and the more you ask them to support, the more they will think your group is about fundraising and nothing else. Once you get that reputation, you'll struggle to build parent involvement. So ask yourself why you want to run this fundraiser. Is it because you need a fundraiser and this is the one that best meets your needs? Or is it because you have someone who is on the board who is a rep and has offered you a generous deal? If you've examined several possibilities and this is the one you think is best, then by all means go ahead with it. Under the circumstances, with the rep taking no profit, you should be able to counter any claims that there's a conflict of interest. But don't do it just because it sounds like a good deal.

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