Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Fundraiser" is my new F-word

Yes, I am here to complain. The subject of my ire at the moment is fundraisers. I can't get away from them. I am up to my eyeballs in fundraisers (and requests for donations).

I know that behind every fundraiser is a valid cause, I get that. But I am constantly inundated, and ohhhhh so weary of it.

Not a week goes by that each of my three grade-schoolers don't bring home a stack of fundraising requests - there are candy sales, and wrapping paper sales, and dining for dollars and Fun Runs, and even this:

What is this? As a Spring Fundraiser, the school decided to take a second crack at taking all the kids' pictures (they already did the usual school pictures back in October) - only this time, instead of ordering what you want beforehand, they sent the whole kit and kaboodle home, asking us, the parents, to pay for what we would like to keep and send back the rest so they can throw them away! What kind of racket is that?? Actually, isn't there a law in place prohibiting the requirement of a person to proactively reject goods they have not requested? I'll have to look into that. I know that if you receive something in the mail you didn't order, it's yours to keep nevertheless.

Anyway, so there are all the constant school fundraisers. And despite all the fundraisers, we, the parents, are still constantly being hit up for cold cash. Every field trip and special event costs money now - there was the $7 fee per child for Snow Day, the $5 fee per child for Farm Day, the $10 per child fee coming up for a field trip to the Ocean Institute. I get that the schools have been hit hard by state budget cuts - it's criminal, really - but let me tell you, I just wrote a check for an embarrassingly high amount to pay our property taxes - a portion of which is supposed to go to the public school system. With that and all the fundraisers and requests for money, it sometimes feels like we're just being chipped away at. At what point can we say, "Sorry, but no" and not feel guilty? Or at least not feel like we should feel guilty?

So the school is one thing. Frustrating, but clearly worthy.

Then there are the fundraisers for the extracurricular activities. Apparently it doesn't matter that we pay hundreds of dollars for the girls to be in ballet/tap class. You can hardly imagine my surprise the day we showed up for class a few weeks ago, resplendent in tutus (okay, the girls were in tutus, not me) and I was handed three (one for each girl) See's Candy fundraiser packets. Seriously?!? Those were quickly filed in the wastebasket.

Then there's baseball. We paid all the required fees to get Joey into Little League. We opted for the buyouts for snack bar duty and the requisite candy sale fundraiser. We paid into the pizza party fund. We bought the uniform and equipment Joey needs. And still there is more. At today's game, the team mom, who doesn't know my name, reached over my shoulder from behind me, grasping three coupon books. "Should I give these to you now?" She asked. I gave her a puzzled look (I actually knew they were for a fundraiser because I overheard her talking to another mom about it a few minutes earlier - but I wanted at least the consideration of an explanation). "They're for the fundraiser," she said. "Oh, well, we did the buyout for the fundraiser," I told her. "No, this is something different. This is separate from that, and it's mandatory." Okay, now I was irritated. So I passed the buck (har har). "Yeah, you should talk to my husband about it, then. He's the baseball guy."


Stephanie said...

Way to pass the buck! irritating. I'm the ultimate slacker at fundraisers..I'm irritated just reading your post!

Talley Images said...

Ugh... I am so with you on the fundraising (is that hypocritcal of me?) -especially the school kind.... cant stand it and we make no real effort to participate.

And the picture thing... this actually is how they make a good bit of money b/c they know parents cant stand the thought of pictures of THIER kids getting THROWN AWAY... oh the humanity.... Sears studios (and other big name brands) do this all the time... ugh

diane rene said...

I am so glad to know that I am not the only one who avoids fundraisers like the plague! the taunting with the awesome prizes that make the kids whine to participate - no!
the only thing we willingly participate in is the box tops fundraiser at school, and only because I have amazing family all over the US that shop for the end of the world and have no problems cutting off the box tops to send to my kids in california. if it weren't for them, we'd have no box tops either.

Kara said...

I hate, hate, hate the school fundraisers. I just write checks to the school directly (yay tax deduction!). When the kids complain about not getting any junky prizes, I buy them off with a trip to McDonalds. I also have no issue making frequent purchases for class room supplies. I'm happy to buy Dry Erase markers, Sharpies, or anything else. Especially if it directly benefits my child's classroom.

@diane rene- We also have a big family, and my kids are the only ones in elementary school, so we do get a ton of box tops. They don't bother me as much, since it's stuff I'd buy anyways. After all, the kids would freak if there weren't any Fruit Roll-Ups in the house.