Ask an Expert

Do kids' charity drives belong in the lobby?

By Teri Karush Rogers | March 9, 2010 - 5:35AM 
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Q.    A co-op board member authorized his children to place a huge charity collection can for Haiti on the doorman's desk in the lobby. I think it's a nice gesture but totally inappropriate especially in a family building--pretty soon we're going to end up with 25 collection cans on the front desk.

What policies do other buildings have on fundraising activities by residents in the lobby?  

A.  Not only are you correct about the slippery slope down which the charity can is sending your building, say our BrickTank experts, but the donation effort is most likely against your building’s rules.

Co-op house rules nearly universally forbid ‘soliciting’ in the lobby, says Thomas Usztoke, managing director at Douglas Elliman Property management.

In his experience, the most well-received workaround is for the board to give case-by-case approval for children to distribute charity flyers under doors, directing donations to be brought to the specific apartment, sometimes at set times and for a finite period of time.

Most buildings also have a bulletin board in the laundry room where unofficial notices (apartments for sale, nannies available etc) can be posted along with donation solicitations.

Deanna Kory, a real estate broker at The Corcoran Group, notes that she has never seen a charity can in any building she has worked in over the last 25 years.

But building-sponsored drives may be different.

“Our building does a toy collection at the holidays and collected food for Haiti for a short while,” she says.

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