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Individuals or organizations that stand to gain financially from soliciting OLLI members as clients

Posted on December 4th, 2012 by Anne Cardale, OLLI National Resource Center

Abbie Lawrence-Jacobson, OLLI at University of Michigan, Asks OLLI:

How have other OLLIs dealt with study group/course proposals from individuals or organizations that stand to gain financially from soliciting OLLI members as clients? (For example, an investment firm wanting to do a course on financial planning for older adults.) Have other OLLIs developed any guidelines/policies for instructors that include something along the lines of “do not solicit OLLI members for your business”?

4 Responses to “Individuals or organizations that stand to gain financially from soliciting OLLI members as clients”

  1. We have. We do have a “pro bono instructor” policy that clearly states the prohibition against selling. I will supply the policy via email and you’re welcome to call me if you’d like to know what we do if someone fails to fulfill their promise.

  2. OLLI at Southern Oregon University has a policy that business owners can let the class know about their business on the 1st class. After that, no solicitation. Just this last term, we turned down a class proposal because they did not follow this guideline. So far, there has not been any abuses of this because we tell all instructors right up front.

  3. Janet McLean,
    OLLI@StonyBrook only allows members to lead a workshop, or “teach a course”.
    In our Workshop Leader Guidebook and at leader orientation, we advise that it is permissible for the leader, to invite a guest/expert to speak on a relevant issue, with the understanding that only information is presented, and handouts may be made available. Any contact made is up to the individual member.
    Also, our Membership Roster, specifically states that the listing information is not to be used for solicitation of any kind. So, usually not a problem for our group.

  4. This statement is listed on our Instructor Handbook and verbally relayed to all “for-profit” instructors. Since we make it very clear before an instructor begins teaching, we have not had a problem with the isntructors soliciting from the OLLI members. “It is inappropriate to use the OLLI classroom setting for promotion of a personally marketed product or one available from a for-profit company for whom the instructor is employed. It is, however, appropriate for an instructor to make known such an affiliation either in the biography listed in the OLLI brochure or during the first class as a way of introduction. Marketing one’s business or using member emails outside of the classroom parameters during an OLLI setting may result in removal from OLLI as an instructor.”

    We do offer to the instructor at the last class to pass a list around of class participants interested in learning more from the instructor and their business and instructors may only use those emails and contact information from people who sign up for additional contact. This seems to work well.

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