August 17, 2020

Dear AFRDS members,
We have heard from many of you over the past few weeks – and we want you to know that we are all worried, too.  Worried about our businesses and our employees.  Worried about the fundraising market, especially that critical question of whether schools can stay open with students on campus.  The uncertainty of it all is difficult.  It keeps us up at night.  You won’t hear about it on CNBC or Fox Business, but the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted our industry every bit as much as air travel, movie theaters and restaurants. 
In times like these, it’s easy to feel like you’re on an island.  But none of us is alone.
AFRDS has always been a strong community, particularly during challenging times.  Our mission is to unify, promote, educate and safeguard the fundraising industry – and it’s no coincidence that “unify” is the objective listed first.  Your support of AFRDS is critical, and we thank all of you who have renewed your membership for 2020-21.  Regardless of whether you’re a distributor or supplier, the size of your company or what you sell, we are all in this together. 
Practically speaking, our industry needs some things to go our way over the next few weeks and months.  First, there must be some stability at schools.  The rollercoaster of campuses opening and closing must be minimal.  Whether they convene in-person or online, schools settling on a model for a period of time will provide helpful stability. That stability should allow principals, coaches, parent groups, etc. to focus some of their attention back to fundraising.  Of course, the preference is for schools to reopen with students on campus.  But it looks like schools in many areas will be doing online instruction for a while, so we must be ready to adapt to meet the needs of our customers.  All of us must think creatively this fall, with new or improved ideas like online sales, home delivery, curbside pickup, improved social media presence and more.
Another issue is if and when Congress will pass a new round of economic stimulus, including a continuation of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP).  For now, lawmakers have adjourned until after Labor Day.  There are some reports that Congress may return earlier, but either way with an election coming up in November, it’s hard to believe another stimulus package won’t become a reality later this fall.  
In the meantime, we all need to ensure that we update and ready our technology platforms, stay in touch with customers and continue implementing the business strategies that got us this far.  It will probably be a late fall season.
As always, please feel free to contact any of us if you have ideas or concerns, or if you just want to talk.  We encourage you to join the AFRDS Facebook group to connect with colleagues. To access the group, go to https://bit.ly/JoinAFRDSGroup.

Sincerely,
The AFRDS Executive Committee of the Board of Directors

Russ Colombo, President
Southwestern Fundraising
 
Nick Kukta, Vice President, Distributor Affairs
Great Western Reserve Corp.
 
Mark Van Wyk, Vice President, Supplier Affairs
Van Wyk Confections
 
Jim Messina, Treasurer
Ashley Farms
 
Jill Stevens, Secretary
Little Caesars Pizza Kit Fundraising






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