For schools, a fundraiser bedding sale comes with padded claims

Posted Friday, Aug. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Better Business Bureau guidelines • Advertisers who make claims that a portion of the proceeds of a sale will benefit a specific non-profit organization, should disclose the specific amount or percentage of the selling price that will benefit the charity. • For example: $50 for every test drive, 5 cents of every case sold, 10% of retail sale price, etc. • Phrases such as "a portion of the profits will be donated to charity" are misleading. SOURCE: BBB.org

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kennedy Godley High School is the latest to go into the mattress business.

Bright purple signs on Texas 171 announce a pop-up mattress store opening Saturday in the school band hall or cafeteria, with band members hoping to sell enough bedding to pay for a trip to Italy.

Giant sales banners read, “Save up to 60% — Proceeds benefit the students.”

That’s not exactly right.

First, proceeds benefit the mattress company and seller.

A portion of the proceeds goes to the school. After a recent mattress sale, Keller Central High came away with $10,650.

In Godley, band director Jeff Henry said he thought selling mattresses was “the goofiest thing I’d ever heard” until he found out how much money other schools were making.

Fort Worth-based Purple Frog Custom Fundraising has been taking orders for bedding each weekend at a different high school, according to the company’s Facebook page. Ads say, “Help The Kids.”

Henry said the band doesn’t like door-to-door fundraisers, “but this was something different.”

The signage and advertising are definitely different.

In Keller, parents were given flyers promising “Profits Go Directly to the Band.

That’s not exactly right either.

“I’m not going to divulge my business model,” said Mitzi Gray of Purple Frog, which promotes the mattress sales through San Antonio-based Custom Fundraising Solutions.

Sheri Almond of Keller, who arranged the Central fundraiser, said shoppers bought 55 mattresses.

That works out to about $200 per mattress. Almond said she paid $1,800 for one of the more expensive models.

“Parents didn’t want to sell popcorn, or chocolate, or candy, or Passbooks [coupon books] anymore,” she said.

“We jumped at this chance.”

Gray declined to say what percentage of proceeds or profits go to schools.

“This is really none of your business,” she said.

Sales tax is collected on each mattress order, she said. A check with the Texas comptroller’s office showed that the San Antonio company has an active tax permit.

I asked about the phrasing of the advertising and signs, particularly the Godley sign.

It easily could be misread as saying, “60% of proceeds benefit students.”

“Why is this something you’re worried about?” she asked.

“Have you had any complaints?”

Guess not.

Bud Kennedy’s column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @BudKennedy

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