The "do's" and "don'ts" of solicitation can often be confusing, especially with companies and organizations focusing on the military and wanting to be supportive.

Units, Family Readiness Groups, and private organizations are always looking for ways to increase their financial reserves in an effort to host events with as little expenses as possible.

What units, Family Readiness Group's and commercial entities need to know first:

-- A donation is a gift, something freely given with no strings attached. A gift may be cash, services, or any item having monetary value (the Standards of Conduct and Joint Ethics Regulation discuss gifts in great detail, but generally speaking, if it's valuable, it's a gift.)

-- The Joint Ethics Regulation and AR 1-100 prohibit military members and civilian employees from asking for gifts, either directly or indirectly. If a business, on its own initiative, chooses to donate a gift to a unit welfare fund, contact Army Community Service at 573.596.0131, ext. 60212.

-- Fundraisers are special functions intended to raise money for an organization or project and must be approved prior to hosting on the installation, contact Family and MWR at 573.596.0131, ext. 65367.

-- Sponsorship is an exchange of values. It is a monetary and or in-kind (products or services) fee to you in return for advertising or promotional opportunities, such as public recognition or signage, within the Army community. Commercial Sponsorship, as outlined in AR 215-1, Morale Welfare, and Recreation Activities and Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities, does not apply to Army units, nor can an Army unit solicit for sponsorship on their own.

-- Soliciting is requesting that support. If you solicit assistance from a company or organization, you are asking them to support your event, whether by cash contribution or product support.

Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program, under FMWR, is the central point of contact for all installation sponsorship conducted by the installation FMWR. All funds and goods are utilized toward FMWR programs and events to keep them at low or no cost to authorized patrons, to include Soldiers, retirees and their Families.

Commercial entities should also understand their role in this process. AR 210-7, Personal Commercial Solicitation on Army Installations, is the Army's guidance on solicitors and their access to military installations.

Before soliciting or advertising on the installation, a person or business must obtain written permission from the garrison commander in accordance with AR 210-7. Companies allowed on installations must provide personnel a written description for each product or service they intend to market to personnel on Army installations. These descriptions must be written in a manner that personnel can easily understand and must fully disclose the fundamental nature of the policy.

Some businesses outside of the installation may not be aware of this regulation in its entirety.

Some practices that are forbidden under AR 210-7 include:

-- Solicitation is not permitted without a permit issued by the garrison commander's office.

-- Solicitation of "mass," "group," or "captive" audiences. -- Soliciting without an appointment in areas used for housing or processing transient personnel, or soliciting in barracks areas used as quarters. -- Use of official military identification cards or vehicle decals by active-duty, retired, or reserve members of the military services to gain access to Army installations for the purpose of soliciting. When entering the installation for the purpose of solicitation, solicitors with military identification cards and/or installation vehicle decals must present documentation issued by the installation authorizing solicitations.

If a solicitor is granted access to Fort Leonard Wood, they must follow a strict set of rules, to include, but not limited to:

-- Must have a prearranged appointment with the client, the solicitor cannot conduct "cold calls" (knocking door to door at barracks, government quarters or housing without appointments). The appointment cannot be during the service members's duty hours. -- Must have a solicitation permit issued by the garrison commander's office. -- Cannot possess or process allotment forms. -- Cannot make courtesy visits to the chain of command. -- Cannot leave business cards or advertising material for display or distribution.

-- Cannot address mass, group, or captive audience.

-- Cannot process allotment, direct deposit, or any other form or device used by the Army to direct personnel pay to a third party, including using or assisting in using a service member's "MyPay" account for the purpose of establishing a direct deposit for the purchase of insurance or investment products.

Food vendors, laundry services and other businesses and private organizations are authorized to make deliveries only in response to orders. Delivery personnel are not authorized to loiter in the parking lots and sell from their vehicles, carry extra items (other than the delivery order) or distribute advertising materials to the barracks or housing areas for a chance or opportunistic sales. To begin the process of obtaining a commercial solicitation permit, contact the garrison commander's office at 573.563.5788.

For information on how your business can start connecting with the Fort Leonard Wood community through sponsorship and/or advertising, call the Fort Leonard Wood DMWR, Marketing or Sponsorship and Advertising office at 573.596.0131 ext. 60117 or 60147.