I’m baaack! I’ll show you what I’ve been busy doing later but right now I feel ready to tackle this volatile subject.
I think I’ve mentioned before how much I don’t like school fundraisers.
Am I alone here?
I do understand that schools need money just as I understand that teachers are underpaid.
But under the tenet of providing a solid education for our children, please tell me the lessons a school fundraiser teaches.
Here is what we’ve learned at our house.
Competition is a normal part of life.
We get that. We embrace that.
But pitting students against each other when the playing field is not level really gets my goat.
Side note: What is the origin of the phrase “gets my goat”? Was this back in the day when everyone had a goat? We’ve never had a goat.
Back on topic…
The competition increases significantly when you may have more than one kid at the same school. Perhaps you even have THREE kids at the same school…due to your head injury, poor family planning and God’s will. Just sayin’
Do you send all THREE kids out in your neighborhood of 52 houses. Oh wait, I forgot to mention your next-door neighbor has two kids at the same school.
Is it now a race to beat your neighbor’s kids?
Is it a race against siblings?
Or do you send the whole group out together to knock on doors and let the neighbors decide which child they will buy from?
To think I haven’t even addressed WHAT they are challenged to sell. I may need to save that for part two of school fundraising madness.
Pit parents against parents.
Bobbysue’s dad took his form to work and because Bobbysue’s dad is the boss, everyone bought something and filled up Bobbysue’s order form.
Bubbajean’s dad is not allowed to solicit at work. In fact, this is in the employee handbook. Bubbajean and his two siblings (all at the same school) have an empty order form.
Guess who is going to win a ride THE HUMMER LIMO?
The mean girl in the neighborhood.
Bribe your kids to not participate in the fundraiser.
Now I can hear some of you thinking that’s not a very good lesson.
Yeah, I know. But neither is the lesson of your school bribing your kid to participate in the fundraiser.
So maybe the lesson should be “Creative problem-solving during school fundraisers”.
Fundraising reps who visit the school with promises of amazing prizes are not my favorite people. These flyers are the equivalent of taking a 3 year-old to Toys R Us after they’ve been up all night and you fed them a Coke and candy for breakfast and telling them they can pick ONE toy.
Note the amazing new sales tactic in lower right corner. Get those emails entered so we can contact your friends and family all year long and you get an amazing prize!
Don’t even get me started on “The Fur Bus” and the tears and yelling at my house.
Bribing Scary Baby with a Dollar Store trip worked for a few years but the enticement of hats and other cr*p proved to be too much.
Anyone else resort to bribery?
Life is not fair.
Yes, it is our family motto.
This seemingly conflicts with my attitude against school fundraisers. Let me attempt to defend my position on this.
- Kids have enough pressure in school without the addition of fundraising pressure.
- We all know a certain (high) percentage of parents can and do sell for their kids.
- We all know that many companies have strict policies about soliciting and forbid parents from bringing in little Jethro’s fundraising catalog.
- We all know it is no longer safe to send our kids out to conduct door-to-door sales. Especially if you have creepy neighbors. (We don’t.) And what about those kids who don’t live in a neighborhood?
- Fundraisers and lack of adequate funds put adult problems on our children’s backs.
Our Family Solution
I will tell you that after kindergarten and 1st grade with my first three darlings and shipping things to Illinois and Texas because they called the grandmas, I was done.
I called the school and asked what was the average amount the school made on fundraising per child. This seemed to be an odd question and required a few days for calculations since I guess they had never been asked.
It resulted in me writing a check to the school for that average amount times three and announcing that the Humpfreeze family would not be selling items, thank you very much. I did this for the next seven years until they entered public school.
Shoot me now but I then decided that we had paid taxes for the public school that we had chosen not to use so for the future years of fundraising we got a pass.
Until Scary Baby got sucked into the thrill of the fundraising frenzy.
She HAD TO do this.
She HAD TO have this hat.
In her defense, the hat was much better than the glasses that were also a drinking straw from the previous year.
The Fundraiser Victory Lap
Now your kid gets to sit in a room of 25-30 kids and watch the chosen few parade out for their fundraiser rewards which may include:
- homework passes
- ice cream sundae party
- money grab
- a LIMO ride (which also conveniently includes missing school for at least a half day).
These are the actual prizes from the fundraiser that Scary Baby just finished with last week.
Please tell me what a remote control cooler is and why a kid needs one?
These rewards are all in the name of your kid’s awesome sales skills.
Or daddy or mommy’s sales skills.
Imagine being the kid with lame sales skills or parents with lame sales skills or a lame mom like me who have to stay back in the classroom or worse yet, be sent to another classroom of misfits who aren’t invited to the fundraiser REWARD PARTY?!!
Breathe. Sherra. Breathe.
After receiving her purchases from Scary Baby…
Roger Leroy’s classic one-liner:
“World’s Finest Chocolate isn’t.”
There are just too many variables. There has to be a better solution.
What’s the worst fundraiser ever? Best fundraiser?
Any amazing PTA fundraiser-loving moms out there who can share some accurate statistics about the percentage of children who actually participate? I’m sure it varies and small schools have a higher guilt factor than large schools but I would really like to know!
Weigh in. Tell me why I should embrace school fundraisers.
Comment away while remembering our other family motto…
“Just Be Nice.” 😉