Thursday, August 29, 2013

Things That Annoy Me Thursday: School Fundraisers

“And the man at the assembly said we could win prizes if we sold stuff,” Natalie said when I picked her up from school.


I knew exactly what she was talking about: a school fundraiser.

I detest school fundraisers. Yes, I understand it helps schools raise money. But I would rather donate directly to them. And I do. We do NOT do fundraisers. Before you go, “But it could be a fantastic experience for your daughter!” because I just know some fundraiser enthusiasts are reading the post shaking their heads, know this: you cannot sell stuff on this military base. So if you wanted your little Betsy to sell her cookie dough, you’d have to take her off base OR a parent could take the order form to his or her work and he or she could guilt trip his or her colleagues into purchasing $15 cookie dough.

It seems a bit slimy for a guy to come into a school and tell kids to sell junk for his company. He got them all excited by saying they could ride a limo if they sold enough. Natalie was more interested in the cheap toys which I could just BUY HER.

Here’s Natalie flipping through the catalog:

As she did, she was like, “You have to sell this stuff to win this stuff!” as though she were selling Pampered Chef or something.

Thankfully, my daughter at times has the memory of a pea, so she promptly forgot and I promptly threw everything out.

Unfortunately, this didn’t mean I was done with the school fundraiser. No, I got knocks on the door from children who did not get the memo that selling was not allowed on base. Children who found it perfectly acceptable to pound on the door at 8 PM. Where were their parents? Why would they allow this? Did they sneak out?

You get the polite kids who kindly say thank you when you decline their pitch to buy their crap although most of the time, the kid just stands at the door blinking and mutters quietly, “Will you buy something?” Then you get the Donald Trump wannabees who are like, “I need you to buy something!” and when you say no thank you they’re like, “Well, I have to sell this stuff!”

No, Junior, you do not.

I seriously want to throw tomatoes at the kids who question an adult when they say no thank you. I’m polite; therefore you should be polite too. Go home.

So yes, I hate school fundraisers. Most of America hates school fundraisers.

I’ll donate directly to the school.

I’ll buy the popcorn and pickles they offer.

I’ll volunteer.

That’s how I’ll make my contribution.


  1. A school in our area has the parents all donate $50 at the beginning of the year in exchange for not doing fundraisers. GENIUS. I wish our school would do this. I hate fundraisers with the heat of 1,000 suns. GAH!!! HATE!!! --Lisa

  2. I completely agree. As a kid, I hated them too! The only acceptable "fundraiser" that I buy from are Girl Scouts...You just can't say no to thin mints...

  3. I hate them too. My daughters grade school does a computer for kids thing every year and you feel out 10 cards with your friends names and they get harassed to buy magazines or something. I rant about this every year. Its to the point that my kids just say you don't have to do it. I'm president of the middle school PTO and we struggle I think we have 200 in our account. (of course we just started last year) We are trying to get money to buy calculators for the math department. But we all hate fundraising. So we try to come up with things that don't involve begging people to buy junk. Pretty much our only fundraiser last year was school tee shirts.

  4. Some days you just want to answer the door with a Tazer Jr.


  5. My son's school does a million fundraisers. And, yes, you can ride in a limo to Peter Piper Pizza if you sell enough junk. He was able to do it last year, but this year the cookie dough is $16 dollars a tub! What? Anyway, we also have the option to just send the school money. The kids still get to do the fun stuff and get their prizes, but with no selling. We give our money for the tax credit, but I really don't want to give another $200. So, unless my son is a really good salesman, I think he's out of luck this year. Especially since the entire town sells cookie dough at the same time. . .seriously, we have 12 elementary schools and ALL of them are selling cookie dough.

  6. I think it should always be an option to donate money instead of selling the stuff. Many people would donate the money instead.

  7. I worked with the PTO at my kids' last school for years, and I ALWAYS hated those fundraisers. However, we always made a lot of money on them. In fact our Fall Catalog fundraiser was our 2nd biggest of the year so we kind of had to do it (since no better ideas were forthcoming). I will say, though, that I never participated in that fundraiser, ever. I held every office, showed up at every meeting and event, bought popcorn, raffle tickets, you name it! I absolutely did my part. I just chose not to do the catalog fundraiser. If everyone helped out in they ways they can (as you said you buy the popcorn and pickles) then PTO/PTA would have no funding problems.

    Stepping off my soapbox now. lol

  8. I wish someone would hit us up to buy cookie dough! I used to live off that stuff! Someday we'll have friends with kids, they'll realize we are easily tempted by food, and then we'll be broke.

  9. I had no idea you couldn't sell this stuff on base! I guess that makes sense though since there's a no solicitation policy. I never connected kids with solicitation. Hubs won't be able to take this stuff to work either, so the kids are SOL.

  10. I'm on my son's school PTO and hate fundraisers, too! But I can never get the others on PTO to agree with me to get rid of them.

  11. I remember trying to sell super expensive wrapping paper to my relatives. Children are not sales reps!

  12. I'm with you. HATE fundraisers. Would much rather just donate. And volunteer my time. And I do. Luckily, my kids school doesn't do fundraisers for the most part.

  13. I hate fundraisers, too.

    Though the Krispy Kreme fundraiser sheet came home today and I'm tempted to buy some of those...

    I want a sign for my door that says "My kids go to the same school as yours, so we're not buying anything from you."

    I like the Fun Run our school does at the end of the year- where all the money donated goes right to the school instead of selling crap where the school only gets a small percentage anyway.

  14. Yes, the school gets such a small percentage it's just supporting the company. Much rather give direct.

  15. Yes!

    I hate them too. I did however win a limo ride in junior high for selling magazines.

  16. HATE. HATE. HATE. HATE. And I hate the pep ralley that the company does for the kids that basically means they want me to buy $750 worth of crap to give them a $50 toy. No thank you. :D

  17. At our Cooperative preschool, we do wacky fundraising - but it seems to work!

  18. I agree. have four kids in elementary school and I will not allow them to go around selling stuff in the neighborhood. It's hard to believe that after so many years of fundraising the schools can't figure out a different way for the school to make money.

  19. Does anyone actually LIKE those stupid fundraisers? I hate them too.

  20. I do NOT like fundraisers. I think one of the benefits of homeschooling is not having to be tortured by that kind of stuff!

  21. Hmm..does anyone LOVE fundraisers? Maybe the fundraiser companies ;) They are kind of like an annoying necessary evil. I dislike the kids having to sell stuff though. Our local elementary does a walkathon for its big fundraiser which is nice because you can just donate however much you want and not worry about having to sell stuff. There are still junky prizes though.

  22. Maybe I'm the only one. But I like them! Mostly because I enjoy cookie dough in my freezer at all times. But still.

  23. anti fundraiser here too! One year our school voted to do no outside fundrasiers and it was fantastic! My kids learned early on "we aren't the kind of people who try to sell over priced stuff to our family & friends."

  24. I signed a sheet just the other day saying "I will not participate in fundraisers."

  25. Yes, I hate fundraisers too, and we do a BUNCH of them. People are starting to duck when they see my son coming. However, the side of it that I DO like is the fact that they are putting the burden on the kids to put in the effort rather than just expecting Mom and Dad to write a check. Not so much with school because kids HAVE to go to school and they shouldn't have to sell cookies for that priviledge. But my son wanted to go to Scout Jamboree - price tag three THOUSAND dollars. I said, if you are going to go, you are going to raise at least $500 of that fee. And he did and it wasn't easy - for either of us! But I think he got a lot more out of the experience for the work he put into it.

  26. I should admit right off that I own a fundraising company. The problem usually isn't with the company (although, I admit there are some sketchy ones out there.). I think that Adrian hit the nail on the head. It’s in the number of fundraisers a school runs, that don’t seem to make a difference.
    I get it though. I really do. There are some schools that seem to send out fundraising packets every month. Heaven help the family, if they have another child in a different school. Add to that, fundraisers for sports, music, etc… I’m the first to admit it’s too much. Most families are burned out by the end of October!
    Still, what is a school to do? They have to run multiple fundraisers because they don’t reach their goals, and parents don’t participate because they’re burned out.
    After 15 years in the industry, I’ve figured out that the way that fundraisers are approached makes all the difference.
    Instead of being run as a race for prizes, (usually, cheap junk that you’d pass over, if you saw it on a store shelf) the campaign should be embraced for the positive things it can do for the school as a whole, and the students in particular.
    The ability to set goals, handle money, present themselves in a professional manor, ask for the sale, etc... All of these skills are necessary in life, but there are few places in the classroom where students can learn them.
    It's possible that if the school focused on developing these skills, (and each fundraiser was a class project) that the school's financial needs would be met as an outgrowth of that.
    Is it difficult to to out and ask people to support the school? Sure. It’s also hard to go out and ask for a job. But it would probably be easier if a person already had a grounding in basic sales skills.
    You may think I'm reaching here, but look at the GirlScouts. If you google "girl scout cookie sale", you'll see that it isn't even referred to as a fundraiser. Instead, they call it "The number one entrepreneurial program for girls in the U.S."
    The system is far from perfect. Schools should be fully funded - I think we can all agree to that. But until that happens, maybe we should concentrate on making a school fundraiser as successful as possible, by focusing on just one, well-run program that benefits everyone.


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