When I served as president of a direct selling company, my first introduction to the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) was at a DSA Annual Meeting. Doris Christopher, founder of The Pampered Chef, unveiled the Ethics videos they’d just produced, and asked us to support the DSEF. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what the DSEF did, but, heck, Doris Christopher is kind of an icon for me, and I wrote my check.
And I really didn’t think about the DSEF much beyond that. I wrote my check each year at the DSA Annual Meeting after a moving presentation, and that was it.
And then this year, the DSEF approached me about helping with their social media strategy. And I got a chance to participate in some of their events with outside stakeholders, meet the passionate staff, interview some of their partners at colleges, the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Women’s Business Centers, and more.
The stories I heard were remarkable. Stories about giving women a chance to make it because they learned about direct selling through DSEF’s partnerships with Women’s Business Centers. About students who never understood direct selling before, but after attending a Girl’s Night Out or Campus Days event realized that they might one day want to own their own business. About women who got free financial information as a result of the programs that the DSEF supported, which helped them make wiser decisions about their money. And it made me even more passionate about telling the DSEF story through social media.
Because you see, the DSEF has quietly, behind the scenes, been serving the public for nearly 40 years. They’ve been advocates for women’s empowerment. They’ve defended the rights of consumers. They’ve helped college students learn about why direct selling is a great entrepreneurial option. And throughout this work, they’ve also produced some remarkable resources that direct sellers can use to build their businesses in an ethical way.
Here are just some of the resources they’ve shared to date:
- What is Direct Selling? video
- Videos that explain the DSA Code of Ethics (and explain them in real life terms for both direct sellers AND consumers)
- Direct Selling Fair Kit, including an organizing plan, sample timelines, forms, etc.
- Moneywise Women Get Smart free financial education teleseminar series
- A brochure produced with the National Consumers League on What a Pyramid Scheme is
- National Consumer Protection Week Resources
Pretty remarkable, right? The work they’ve done on behalf of the industry is enormous. And they’re not even CLOSE to done.
So this year, I encourage every direct selling company to be generous in their support of the DSEF. Tell your salesforce to go get the amazing resources they’re sharing through their Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. They need your support to continue showing the world that direct selling is an ethical, legitimate option. They need your support to stand up for consumer protection, ethics education, women’s empowerment, and more.
They make you look good. They help the public understand that you’re NOT a pyramid scheme, but instead a legitimate business opportunity. They provide 3rd party resources that help your salespeople show how ethical you really are.
Companies can support the DSEF. And so can individuals. I encourage you to support the DSEF right now. Click here to donate.
Jennifer Fong is a corporate consultant and speaker who teaches direct selling companies and individual direct sellers how to use social media effectively as a business building tool. She is also the author of the blog, Direct Sales and Social Media, which is read by thousands of people in direct sales from around the world.