Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just Write a Check

Within the first couple weeks of the new school year, the flyers and catalogs start coming home with my kids. It's Fundraising Season, and it lasts all school year long.

I detest school fundraisers. It's not the giving that I mind - I don't. I know full well that our schools have been sucker punched time and time again by budget cuts. I know that our schools are being forced to cut programs along with spending, and that they're operating with almost the bare minimum. Any extras, and indeed, even a lot of the necessaries, have to come straight out of the community's individual wallets at this point.

What I mind is the crap we are asked to sell, and the marketing to the kids themselves. Who needs more overpriced wrapping paper or cookie dough or See's Candy? I understand the concept of giving people something in return for their money, but the truth is, I'm not going to go forth in my neighborhood and try to sell the same stuff that all the other families in the neighborhood are also trying to sell, and had I an extended family to hit up, I'd like to think that they'd be willing to just give up some moolah for a good cause and not have a need for some candles or stationary to show for it.

As for marketing to the kids, I say leave the kids out of it. I don't like having to deal with my kids' emotions when I refuse to sell cookie dough or take the family to dinner at Islands on Tuesday night because they've been led to believe that the fundraisers are mandatory. It's almost like the kids are a tool in the whole marketing ploy, exploited to play on the parents' guilt. I think fundraising should be a matter strictly between the schools and the parents.

Someone else recently wrote about this topic here, much more eloquently than I have. It definitely struck a chord with me.

A long time ago, when Kevin was a mere tot and just embarking on his school career, an older, experienced mom told me, "Forget the fundraisers. Just write a check." Some of the best advice I ever got.


Alisa said...

Totally agree with you! Our previous district started an Invest in Our Children drive at the beginning of the year, where they asked each family to write a check. It stated that they would only do wrapping paper-type fundraisers if the budget was not covered by the fund drive. So many people were willing to write a check so they didn't have to be nickled and dimed all year that they have had some of the best fundraising years ever, even with the bad economy. My kids never missed the light up bouncy ball or whatever dumb prize they might have won if we had to sell wrapping paper, and I was much happier!

NorCalMom said...

I could not agree more! I am more than happy to help support the school, to donate items that teachers need for their classrooms and to write a check. I do not want my kids to be guilted into selling candy, cookie dough or gift wrap.

Snowflake said...

Yes, there's a right way and a wrong way to have kids learn marketing, etc, but I agree with you - tell me what you need and I'd much rather pull out my checkbook and contribute than the kids guilting me into enough crap so they can get their light up ball since I'm not about to schlep that stuff on my family and neighbors.

Lisa B said...

Yep write the check and be done with it. Plus I have a philosophical "ugh" reaction to asking other people to pay for my kids to do things..if I can't afford it, the kids aren't going to do it. Harsh but life. At least our school only does 2 fundraisers - one for the kids to run laps and get pledges so nothing to sell, and the other being an adult night out with silent auction and dinner. So in the scheme of things, not bad. L