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Supporting one members business

16 years 7 months ago #139921 by PTOVPJamie
We are having the same issue. As people outside of our school, my friends and I (The PTO Exec Board) enjoy Pampered Chef. Our demo would love to organize a Pampered Chef fundraiser at the school. She is not a member of the PTO and does not have a child in the school so we are not sure if there is a conflict in doing this as a fundraiser. ANy suggestions?
16 years 7 months ago #139819 by Rockne
Funny, I've been noodling on this subject for a while as a topic for my March magazine column. It comes up an awful lot when we travel around. Can be dicey.

To me there's really two fundamental issues:

1. The first is the one you guys have been discussing -- basically the political quagmire that you often get caught in when doing business with members. Is it fair? What about the other member with another business? Is member self-dealing? Is member making dough of your group? All that stuff. And it is messy. And that messiness is a great case for avoiding it altogether.

I don't rep a fundraising product, but PTO Today does have several paid services for parent groups. I'd feel very odd selling those services to the parent group at my kids' school, even though I think they're great services and a great value. Just never want anyone wondering if I'm making a buck off my kids' school's group.

2. The other issue I haven't seen discussed here is that most of these home-party type fundraisers are simply fairly weak fundraisers. Even without the vendor=parent issue, I think groups should be reviewing these options much more critically as to whether they're worth it on the merits. Most are not.

If you run your traditional big fundraisers and then add in one mom's candles and another mom's creative memories and another member's Southern living -- you quickly get to the 7-9 fundraiser per year level that is just way too much. You'll own (and you'll deserve to own) the reputaion as "that fundraising group", which is a killer for the rest of your involvement and community efforts.

You might say: "but who are we to turn down $300 easy dollars?"

And I'll say: "those dollars come with a price." The price can be volunteer efforts (do you have more volunteers than you know what to do with?). And almost always, the price will be in the number of parents who tune you out because you're always hitting them up to buy one more thing. And that price is too high.

One of your key jobs as a leader is to be the guard dog against the creep, creep, creep of tons of kind of just-mediocre efforts. Whether it be fundraisers or events or similar efforts, way better to do fewer things really, really well than lots of things just OK.


PTO Today Founder
16 years 7 months ago #139815 by threeboysmom
We do this with a PTO member who sells Home Interior. The company has an established fundraising program and we get 50%. I am not sure how it came to be that we are doing this, but last year we raised $5,000!

We also had our first ever vendor fair and it included 2 PTO members. One member has 2 at-home businesses and the other's husband also has an at-home business. Between the 2 PTO members, they made up 4 of our 10 vendors!

The PTO agreed that this was acceptable and I didn't hear of any problems from parents. A newsletter went out inviting parents with at-home businesses to participate, so we weren't favoring those in the PTO.
16 years 7 months ago #139802 by dlf
We allow parents to purchase ads in our newsletter. We also sell tables at our Christmas Craft night that attracts a bunch of vendors--that way if they pay they are there. My conflict with home businesses has always been, what if you have 2 who sell the same sort of stuff. Two Mary Kayes or two Creative Memories. Then you get into "this time we'll use mary's mom and this time we'll use timmy's mom". I also would hate to get involved in a dispute over goods that may not be acceptable or bounced checks or any of those go between things that happen with vendors. With vendors I don't have a clue who they are really and can voice my frustrations with things without concern that I'd be offending a PTO member. Now we do take up a parent that offers their goods free of their commission--where we purchase their items at cost and then we sell them (like the longeberger basket raffle we do). But in that case it is no harn no foul as they are not in any way gaining from the use of the PTO....

16 years 7 months ago #139799 by enquiringmind
If you own a business and want to give to your school, do so. Freely... but don't have expectations in return. It isn't about "appearances" (which I never mentioned...)-- it's about ethics and integrity. Both personal, and organizational. I'm not for sale, and neither should the board be. The parent is not turned away because they "want to give" -- but for the manner in which they want to do so. There are a multitude of more appropriate ways of giving and those should be embraced. Because, why? It's all for the kids! That's self-evident and requires little thought.
16 years 7 months ago #139711 by hmmm
Replied by hmmm on topic RE: Supporting one members business
I say NO. While the money MIGHT be good, it would be impossible to be fair with this. How could you possibly say no to any parent no matter what they want to hock if you let one person do this. Quite frankly, I don't believe a parent should put PTO officers in this position. Basically they are asking PTO to help "them" put money in their own assured their goal is not to help the PTO or school. (I would be curious as to how much this person volunteers at the school.) Also, as a PTO officer, why would you want to worry with this? I say thank them for the offer, but don't feel one bit quilty about declining. Nope, not worth the trouble. Way too many other ways (and probably more profitable at that) to raise funds without possibly causing conflicts. Good Luck.
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