The kids were standing outside the Starbucks this morning, shaking a couple of cans and asking for donations to support the Reading Memorial High School Choral Department. There were two of them, boys, dressed in hooded sweatshirts, jeans, sneakers, pretty typical teen wardrobe choices. I smiled at them as I entered, and as I exited, deposited some coffee change in one of the cans. After I got in my car, I sat watching them for a few seconds, ruminating on how I blindly dropped money in the can while I didn’t recognize either boy, how neither was wearing any sort of high school identifier, no chorus t-shirt or a pin or anything linking them to the organization they claimed to be fundraising for.
Just a couple of random kids. They could be anybody.
Last week I opened an email that stated it was from a local funeral home, alerting me that someone I knew had died. “That’s kind of weird,” I thought to myself as I opened the email, “It doesn’t name the person.” Within a second or two I realized it was some sort of scam or malware, which in an act of unquestioning trust, I opened, possibly putting my computer at risk.
There seems to be a rash of scam activity going on lately Local papers warn us about falling prey to IRS, Verizon, NStar and Bank of America scammers, and who even answers the phone during the day anymore? If you’re like me, your mail is full of sweepstakes announcements and free cruise giveaways, and your voicemail is loaded with messages that your car insurance about to expire.
Were these kids outside the Starbucks really RMHS students? Probably. But wouldn’t it be smart, in this day and age, to have them wear something to identify them as such? Local organizations need to brand themselves in the same way that companies and businesses do, with recognizable logos to set them apart from the scammers and each other. We live in an era when even school groups need to professionalize their approach to fundraising, and that starts with having both parents and students dress thoughtfully and recognizably when asking resident and businesspeople for donations. How about name tags or badges? It’s not much, but it’s a start.
At The Chocolate Truffle, we offer Fundraising Days as a way to help local organizations. You pick the week, publicize the event, and we’ll award 15% of the week’s receipts from any shopper who mentions your organization. It’s a little bit of work on your part, and you have the opportunity to bring in a good amount of money, depending on the week you choose. With teacher gift season, as well as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day rapidly approaching, we’d love to hear from many of you. Put down the shaker can, and give us a call. If you have a couple of your fundraising kids in the store, wearing your brand and directing customers to name their organization, you’ll do very well indeed!