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TOPIC: Accepting sponsorships & exhibits for money

Accepting sponsorships & exhibits for money 11 Jul 2008 08:04 #97

  • H. Bartnick
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Your FCA Board is discussing the issue of sponsorships, exhibits and advertising. My personal opinion is that we can learn a lot from having exhibitors at our conferences by being exposed to new products and services in the funeral industry.

I also think it is the responsible thing for FCA to allow ads from for-profit businesses such as Eternal Reefs and the Natural Burial Company since they are operating in new ways that are environmentally friendly.

This would be a way to enhance our income and sustainability. The opponents think this will "taint" us and hurt our credibility. What do you think?
Harriet Bartnick, FCA Board Member
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Re:Accepting sponsorships & exhibits for money 15 Jul 2008 06:16 #102

  • mver
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Sometimes this topic is couched in terms of 'conflict of interest.' So I took a trip to wikipedia.org as a starting point.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_of_interest

"A conflict of interest is a situation in which someone in a position of trust, such as a lawyer, insurance adjuster, a politician, executive or director of a corporation or a medical research scientist or physician, has competing professional or personal interests."

To me the essence of the conflict here is 'position of trust.' A position of trust might be a board member of a nonprofit organization. In the original post, IMO, a conflict would arise if that board member discussed and voted to approve commercial exhibits and then bought and paid for one. On the other hand, if that board member recused him/her-self from the discussion AND the vote, and the board without that participation opted for the exhibits, then the board member in question could honorably buy an exhibit.

Further afield, any business, seeing the option of buying a commercial exhibit, IMO, might buy that exhibit after agreeing to whatever terms apply to all exhibitors at the event in question.

In sum, a conflict only arises when the power to create is linked to the power to use for personal benefit, IMO
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Re:Accepting sponsorships & exhibits for money 20 Jul 2008 14:11 #104

  • HRK
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Recent article on public toilets in San Francisco said the city is paying millions to remove them. Because of city laws, they had to be maintained by city funds. Sanitary upkeep was inadequate because not enough city funds could be allocated. In contrast, cities with public toilets that have made maintenance agreements with outside vendors, have been successful. The vendors sell advertising for both the exterior and the interior walls and the cities get a generous addition to their coffers. The cities are not "approving" the products. An identical situation would be present if product displays and ads were permitted at FCA national and local chapter meetings and in publications. Our critical goals would get financial support.
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Re:Accepting sponsorships & exhibits for money 07 Aug 2008 08:08 #112

This fails to take into account that FCA is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, not a trade group. I'm sorry, but when you take ads, especially from industry for products, your image and credibility *are* compromised. We can't wish that way by saying "we don't endorse these products."

All nonprofits need money, but compromising our independence from the industry is a terrible idea. There are proven ways for nonprofits to raise funds - including direct mail - that are ethical and won't compromise a group's reputation. I've noticed that FCA affiliates who are thinking about taking ads are not pursuing these legitimate techniques. Yep, fundraising is hard work, and it takes a sustained commitment. But taking the easy way out with ads, especially from industry, is not OK. It goes right to the core of who we are and what we do. How would you feel about Consumer Reports if they began accepting paid ads?

Josh Slocum
Exec. Director
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Re:Accepting sponsorships & exhibits for money 07 Aug 2008 08:48 #113

  • mver
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The board already has a commercial 'ad' on it from a provider of goods and services --- although it was made as a post and was not categorized as an ad.
Last Edit: 07 Aug 2008 08:49 by mver. Reason: spelling correction
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