School is in full swing, so it’s time for everybody’s favorite school activity. Hawking overpriced frozen food and trinkets to raise money for your kids’ school! But really. School fundraisers suck.
It always infuriates me when my kids bring home those huge envelopes of catalogs. It doesn’t matter what company they’ve gone with this year, the catalogs are always full of overpriced junk. And schools always put the pressure directly on the students to sell, sell, sell.
Why Do School Fundraisers Suck?
There are SO many reasons that placing the onus of raising money for school on kids is wrong. For starters, it is simply NOT their job. Kids, even kids who don’t go to public schools, do not pay for school or parties or field trips. They are kids. The fact that they have to award prizes shows that these kids really have no idea what they’re being asked to do or why.
And of course, they have had an assembly to SHOW them the cool great prizes they can “win”. Wow, sell only 150 items and you can get a Nintendo Switch?! Well, when the cheapest item is $8, that’s at least 1200 in junk sold to friends and family. You could get 4 new consoles with that. Or 3 consoles and a $300 donation to the school, which is probably all the school would make off those sales anyway.
And then you have to think about the kids whose parents don’t have friends and family who can cough up hundreds of dollars to buy overpriced shit from catalogs your kids have. Those kids have to sit and wait when the prizes are passed out during class at the end of the fundraiser. At least that is how it was done when I was in school. I have no clue if they still do this, but it was pretty atrocious when I was a kid.
Now, these companies have let people set up websites, so you can hound family all over the country by sending them links and sharing on Facebook. So those people across the country across who feel guilted into buying tchotchkies and stale popcorn tins can contribute to the worthy cause of your child’s education. Maybe those kids who would have no sales have like 2 sales now.
So how do we get money for the school?
What do we do? We have to get schools to change the way this whole thing operates. Hey, product sales fundraisers can actually raise a bunch of money. And I will not hesitate to tell you that public schools need the money. They are losing money hand over fist and can really only provide the bare minimum to teach our kids. This money helps the school fund programs, provide supplies, and even help pay for field trips so your kids can have better hands-on learning experiences.
But they need to remove the pressure from the kids. Schools need to recognize that the kids are not doing any selling. Parents are the ones actually passing out catalogs, collecting orders and payments, and delivering products (if the company doesn’t offer drop shipping. They didn’t when I was a kid). Where are the parents’ sales prizes? Why not a flyer full of freebies that the grown-ups want?
Volunteer on the PTO. Suggest different ideas for fundraising. Focus on ways parents can engage the community to raise the money the school needs. If your PTO doesn’t have any ongoing fundraisers suggest some. My kids’ school sells popcorn every Friday. The supplies and machine were donated, so they can sell small bags to kids for $.50 or bigger bags for $1.00. With everything donated, all of that is money straight into the PTO fund!
And never forget to save boxtops. There are hundreds of products that have Boxtops on them, so clip, clip, clip and turn them in!! When schools send them in, they get $.10 for each one!
When your kid comes home with an envelope full of catalogs and prize flyers, do what I do. Toss that shit in the recycling bin. Then take out your checkbook, write the highest amount you can afford and send it to school with a note that says “Fundraisers are dumb!”Okay, I don’t do the note thing. But if you do, PLEASE send me a photo and I will make you my bestest friend in the whole wide world!