ONLINE FUNDRAISING AND SOLICIATIONS - CROWDFUNDING
School District employees shall comply with all of the following provisions relating to online solicitations and the use of crowdfunding services for school-related purposes as well as all applicable laws, regulations and district policies. No online fundraising may occur except as provided below.
The Superintendent shall have final authority to approve any online fundraising activities by school district employees and shall determine and communicate to Principals the circumstances under which online fundraising proposals shall require Superintendent or School Committee approval in accordance with law and school district policy (KCD). The Principal of each school shall approve all online fundraising activities within their buildings prior to any employee posting any such fundraising solicitation.
Any solicitation shall be for educational purposes only (field trips, supplies, supplemental materials, books, etc.). The solicitation of personal items (coats, nutritional snacks, etc.) shall only be to benefit students directly. To the extent an employee solicits any technology or software, the employee shall secure the prior written approval of the Director of Technology or designee prior to any such solicitation. Any employee seeking to display or post a photograph of a student in conjunction with a fundraising solicitation must first secure the written consent of the student’s parent or guardian.
Employees shall not use a crowdfunding source, or set up their appeal in such a way, that they are asking for donations directly from people over whom the employee making the request has authority, or with whom the public employee is having official dealings (such as parents of student’s in a teacher’s classroom - the solicitation can say “Classroom X needs tissues and crayons,” but it shouldn’t be directed to parents who have shared email addresses with the teacher for purposes of communicating about their student).
Employees using crowdfunding services shall periodically disclose in writing to the Superintendent the names of all individuals whom the employee has directly solicited in any manner including but not limited to oral, written, or electronic solicitation. The Superintendent shall maintain these disclosures as public records available for public review.
Employees may only use crowdfunding services that send the items or proceeds solicited by the employee directly to the employee’s school or to the school district. Employees must verify under the crowdfunding service’s terms and conditions that they meet all requirements for such solicitation. Items or proceeds directly sent to employees are considered gifts to the employee and may result in violation of state ethics laws.
If an employee’s proposal is approved by the crowdfunding service, the employee agrees to use the donated materials solely as stated in the employee’s proposal.
If a solicitation is not fully funded within the time period required by the crowdfunding service, or the solicitation cannot be concluded for any reason, every attempt will be made to return donations to the donors. Donations unable to be returned shall only be used as account credits for future solicitations.
Unless otherwise approved by the Superintendent in writing, all goods and/or proceeds solicited and received through any online solicitation shall become the property of the School Committee, and not of the individual employee who solicited the item(s) or funds. The employee is prohibited from taking any such item(s) or funds to another school or location, without the Superintendent’s written approval.
LEGAL REFS: MGL 44:53A; 71:37A; 268A:3; 268A:23; Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion EC-COI-12-1;
CROSS REFS: GBEA, Staff Ethics/Conflict of Interest;
GBEBC, Gifts To and Solicitations by Staff;
KCD, Public Gifts to Schools
SOURCE: MASC February 2018
NOTE: Crowdfunding services are defined as any online service used for the solicitation of goods, services, or money from a large number of people via the internet or other electronic network. Examples include GoFundme, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, YouCaring, and DonorsChoose.
Approved by SC: 6/17/21