Monday, March 14, 2011

Wanna Buy A Candy Bar??

We are hit up all the time for money at school.  Some days I feel  a little "nickle and dimed" to death. Don't get me wrong, fund raising is necessary especially now, and most of the opportunities offered in our district have been tasteful and reasonable and usually, I participate.  However, the other day I walked into PT's open house and the first thing we ran into was all of the kids' artwork framed...and on sale for a mere $30.53.  I felt ambushed but I bought it.  It was really cute although overpriced, and 20% went to the school after all.  I know that PT would have been disappointed but would have been fine if I declined. After all, I don't always say "Yes" but he knows that I also don't always have to say "No" like some families.  But what would that have been like for a mom who didn't have $30 and usually has to say "No"?

They also had CD's and DVD's of the performance on sale (still a fundraiser yet overpriced). Then we have school pictures.  Not one time per year but two times a year, which I only buy once a year.  Oh, and don't forget the whole class picture and the yearbook.  Also, the yearly book fairs (at each of their 3 schools) which my kids love, spirit wear sale, teacher gifts, and class party fees.  We also participate in the Art to Remember program where we can have a piece of our child's artwork transformed into a lot of cool products like notecards, bookmarks, coasters, etc.  We always choose a magnet.

My favorite fundraiser is called "Pass the Hat."  There is NO selling!  Essentially, it is a spirit week when families are encouraged to donate to their child's schools PTO.   You choose what you can give and it goes in a sealed envelope and that is that.  Done.  They also encourage those who are able to add to their donation (~$25) to "sponsor" other children who are not able to participate.  I like this one because it is more private and the child doesn't need to know what you could or couldn't give.  Plus, there is no overhead and no candy bars to sell at a $0.25/bar profit.  It all goes to programming. 

There are also a few ways that we donate that has more to do with reaching out which I really appreciate being incorporated into a public education.  I also enjoy that our schools have a backpack program where food is donated by students and is discreetly issued (via backpack) to the children in need to provide some nutrition over the weekend.  Some of the teachers also have a read-a-thon to raise money so that the class can adopt a family in need during the holiday season.  There have also been opportunities to donate items or write letters to encourage our troops overseas or others in need.  They even have a breakfast for senior citizens where the children serve and entertain the elderly.

So I guess, I am not sure where I am going with this.  I just know that we support the school whenever we can.  I actually don't disagree with most of their choices for fund raising.  I just feel badly when I know that the multiple requests must be difficult for the families in need.  Children usually know when money is tight but watching your friends walk out with their framed art might just be a little too "in your face" for me.

Has your kid's school been discreet or a little too "in your face?"


LPR said...

I've never heard of buying artwork. That's a little too much for me for the same reason as you...not everyone can shell out $30 on the spot. Love the secret backpack food concept.

We of course have fundraisers at our Catholic school, but I appreciate that many of them offer the option of bringing in a prayer in lieu of money to earn things like an out of uniform day.

I thought you might touch on your feelings about going door to door for fundraisers. My feeling on that is that unless you are selling the universally beloved girls scout cookies or you are one of my neighbors who can name all five members of my family, please skip my house.

Krista said...

I'll have to keep your rule in mind the next time we have to go door to door for a fundraiser. I am a Girl Scout leader and we try to make it a learning opportunity for the girls (money mgmt, manners, dealing with rejection,goal setting, etc). However, we have decided that (as of right now) we are not selling whatever the "fall product" is too. We are in Girl Scouts and not Future Saleswoman of America, after all.

As for selling the artwork, it was a nice opportunity for some but I was a little put off by it's location.

Thanks for the feedback!

Clay Boggess said...

The less often you have to approach people the better. That’s why it’s important to put more effort into 1 or 2 select fundraisers to ensure that they are as successful as possible. Having a bunch of small fundraisers has proven to be less productive.

Krista said...

Thanks Clay. I won't feel bad if I only say "Yes" one or two times.

Tricia said...

LPR - I totally agree with you. We got hit up for a popcorn sale from a Boy Scout and I said yes because he really did a great job of explaining what his purpose was, etc. and then I asked what street in the neighborhood he lived on. I was FLOORED to learn he lived 20 minutes away and was only in my neighborhood because there was a "prize mystery house". WHAT? It really annoyed me. I'm going with your rule from now on.