Security and the non-profit world

An industry defines itself by its willingness to do more than just business
Wednesday, March 1, 2006

I was looking forward to going to Las Vegas for the Honeywell First Alert Dealers conference late last year. One of my beats for Security Systems News is the residential market, and 185 First Alert dealers would be there, learning right along beside me in educational sessions on sales strategies, and some hot residential market topics, such as home automation and VoIP.
As it turned out, though, the most thought-provoking session for me was one I hadn't anticipated, about dealers working with non-profit groups.
I was favorably impressed that First Alert would include this session, and I didn't realize the scope of the relationships between child advocacy non-profits and security systems dealers.
For example, First Alert's association with non-profits dates back to its inception 15 years ago, and this year it invited Klaaskids, the National Crime Prevention Council and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to talk in Las Vegas.
I and a roomful of other attendees, learned that hundreds of First Alert dealers across the county have held McGruff the Crime Dog events, become Certified NCMEC Ambassadors or offered Klaaskids Print-A-Thons.
Mark Klaas is the father of Polly Klaas, a young girl who was kidnapped and murdered. In 1994, he founded Klaaskids, a foundation dedicated to child safety.
Klaas gave a powerful presentation, where he noted a number of statistics, including the 468-percent increase in the number of people reported missing from 1982 to 2000, from 154,341 to 876,213. While kidnappings make up a small percentage of people reported missing (less than two percent), and child abduction is a smaller percentage, the facts he shared were chilling and clearly demonstrated that more should be done to safeguard children.
What can we do about this? The simple answer is this: Talk. Spread information about how to keep kids safe. Talk to your kids, your community and your government officials. And security systems dealers, he said, are uniquely positioned to talk about these issues.
Because of your business expertise, you're already knowledgeable about life safety issues. You can offer advice on the best security products and services, and you can play an important role as a community resource on security issues in general.
This isn't to say that Honeywell First Alert dealers are alone in their dedication to work with non-profit organizations. Other independent and affiliated dealers give back to their communities in numerous ways; that's clear and you all deserve kudos. But to see the subject broached at a conference dedicated to business practices was a heartening.
There are many eminently worthy non-profit groups and the ones collected for the information session I attended are just three that dealers may like to learn more about. Here's how: For more information about the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, see; for the National Crime Prevention Council, see; for Klaaskids, see