Saturday, August 28, 2010

First fundraisers of the year...

Greetings from Going Green Mama!

The pencils hadn't even been sharpened yet, and there it was: the first fundraising requests for the school.

Yes, it was plural. Requests.

Because as we learned at the school open house recently, it's all about raising dollars for programs. The cynic in me thought that was what tuition was for.

I don't have a problem with fundraisers per se. In some cases they are needed for special projects or endeavors. But I do have a problem with the message we send to our kids: Buy more crap.

And crap is what it often is. It's wrapping paper, or candy, or microwavable popcorn, or candles or buying frozen and prepackaged food that my waistline could do without (but if you buy three, you get a free pie!). Things we have way too much of. Or its coupon books promising discounts so we can buy more, more, more.

Worse, we push peddling these products. And it's not just for discounts to Scout camp like when we were kids. My coworker lamented that her middle school daughter felt pressured to sell tubs of cookie dough so she could earn a ride in a limo-and didn't want to be the only one not going!

And sadly, it's often not even an option to buy out. I asked a neighbor, who was selling coupon books, how much the group made off of the books, offering to make a donation. She appreciated the offer, but had to sell a certain number.

That all being said, I appreciate the ones that at least have put some thought into it. Like the primary fundraiser at the school is the kids making and selling pizzas - and they offer a "cash donation" option for those just wanting to help. Or the programs that offer environmentally friendly products. Or even simple things like can or paper recycling (doubly great in that it gets rid of all those school papers!)

So how does your school - and your children's activities - handle the fundraising component? And how do you address it within your home?


Anonymous said...

Mine are in highschool now and the volleyball team, in past years, would sell cookie dough. This year, when the question was asked, the players veto'd that idea 'cause family still had dough in the freezer. This year the coach set up a donate button via a website so friends, family, etc. could just donate instead of buying things they did not need/should not eat. It is the first item on my right bar (if you are curious). I was against peddling stuff for the longest time and only in the last few years allow my teens out to solicit $$. Times are tough right now and fundraising is less successful - out here anyway.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

My kids' school does a "phantom fundraiser" every year - they don't sell anything but simply ask parents to make donations directly to the PTA. The past several years that they've done this, they've always met their financial goal, and like you say, we don't end up with a bunch of crap we don't need.

Daisy said...

My school (I'm a teacher) has a knowledge-a-thon. Kids memorize answers to questions, solicit sponsors, and then get tested. They can get sponsors according to the number of correct answers or simply straight donations. No products involved, no minimum sponsorship. Kids who cannot recruit sponsors are sponsored by community members or teachers. Questions are adapted for kids with learning disabilies and limited English skills.

Angelina said...

This is a huge pet peeve of mine. My son's school does the "sell crap" option and I refuse to participate and my son has accepted it and now has taken the stance that we're better for not participating.

We've been really poor for the last two years and so I haven't even felt I could make any donations to the school at all, but this year isn't so slim and I don't mind giving some money to my kid's school when I have it but I wish they'd just ask for donations and skip peddling stuff that no one I know wants. We all make better cookie dough than we can buy through those programs!

Anonymous said...

I have a very unique way of dealing with fundraisers. Firstly, my children do not do door to door sales. It's not safe these days and it's annoying to people. So, we just don't do it. Second, my kids have never really wanted anything in those prize books they give out or even any of the things being sold, so we don't feel under any real obligation to sell any certain amounts of anything. Third, I will give a cash sum, in the sale envelope and return it to the person in charge of the fundraiser. If there is something worth selling involved, we will purchase some on top of the cash donation, but we do not solicit any other people to buy anything off of those.

I have never once been told that we HAD to sell a certain amount of anything. We wouldn't have even if we were told that, anyway.

knutty knitter said...

It's mostly raffles round here for things like quilts and jewellery (all hand made and donated for the purpose). Or the occasional hamper - also donated. The cost is something for the hamper and a few chances to win it via the ticket sales. That I can live with.

There are occasional sponsored events too and a sausage sizzle or two. The kids have even busked at the local farmers market. That was for an extra special event.

And of course the school fair.

At least these things give some choice. I can choose just to buy the whole set of tickets and not sell any if I want or sell them round. (we won a lampshade one year - very beautiful too - because we forgot to sell tickets and just bought the ones we had been given - about $20.)

viv in nz

Robbie said...

These are good ideas! I forgot to share one. One of the local school bands had a stand at the farmers market to raise funds for their trips! Of course we went there first. : )

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

A relative works in the school system + when her daughter was in school we would buy a box of juicing oranges from her for $10.00. Her daughter is out of college and she's still automatically ordering the box of oranges every year. Truthfully, the oranges are not very good (they tend to end up in the compost) + now it's $18.00 a box. I have yet to figure out how to tactfully tell her to stop ordering a box for us.

Daisy said...

I missed one necessary comment: your legislators need to see this post. When school funding is sufficient and consistent, fundraisers can be gone. For good. Write your state assembly and senate and governor.

Mindy said...

I got so tired of my kids schools selling crap that I started my own business - creating local coupon books for fundraisers. It's a win-win. The schools raise funds, the local merchants get more business, and the money stays in our community.

Average J said...

If any school is looking for an eco-friendly fundraising event does Amazing Fundraising. It is a program that teaches children what being eco-friendly is and they sell bamboo, one of the most eco-friendly products. Shirts, caps,and tote bags.

Anonymous said...

If any school is looking for an eco-friendly fundraising event does Amazing Fundraising. It is a program that teaches children what being eco-friendly is and they sell bamboo, one of the most eco-friendly products. Shirts, caps,and tote bags.


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