This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fundraisers SUCK

It is fundraising time at my kids' school again.  Crap.  So my kids came in all hyped up from the fundraising kick-off pep rally at school this afternoon ready to take on the world with their little selling kits and product flyers.  I really hated to do it, but I had to crush their little fundraising spirits.  I sat them both down and I taught them something.  The way that the school has represented this fundraiser to my kids, they believe that the world will end if they don't sell at least 10 items and that the prizes are priceless artifacts obtainable only through this contest (when you can buy them by the gross from Oriental Trading Company).  I let them know that at the absolute most, that $12.00 item will earn the school $9.00, that the "rewards" could mostly be bought at the dollar store, and that selling things is VERY hard. (I know, I did it for a living before I had kids.)

Fundraising is absolutely one of the most asinine practices in public schools today in my opinion.  There are 2 flyers -- the first one has food items ranging from the $11.00 Funnel Cake Mix to the $18.00 for 5 Frozen Mini Pizzas.  Then they have plastic cups.  Yes, plastic "tumblers" with regional sports teams on them for $15.00 each.  Then on the front of the fundraising packet is a list, complete with enticing photos, of all of the "rewards" given for selling the items.  If you sell one item you get a plastic lei.  Yep, ONE plastic lei.  If you sell 5 items you get a pair of neon sunglasses AND a plastic lei.  10 items will get you that lei, the sunglasses, AND a plastic LED flying toy.  20 items gets you all of that AND a light-up rubber ring and a rubber digital watch.  It goes on and on like that until you get to the 80 item level where you can get a remote control helicopter (in addition to all of the cheapo plastic crap from the previous levels).  But if you sell 100 items, you get all that AND an electric drum set.  It keeps going up to an iPad.  You have to sell 500 items to get that though.  So just out of curiosity, I did a little research and came up with the following chart and shared it with my kids to get the point across:

If You Sell          Worth A Minimum Of           We'll Give You A Reward Worth A Maximum Of

     1 item                           $11.00                                                                 $0.15
     5 items                         $55.00                                                                 $0.98
   10 items                       $110.00                                                                 $1.46
   20 items                       $220.00                                                                 $2.78
   30 items                       $330.00                                                                 $4.26
   40 items                       $440.00                                                                 $8.97
   50 items                       $550.00                                                                $13.57
   60 items                       $660.00                                                                $19.96
   70 items                       $770.00                                                                $26.33
   80 items                       $880.00                                                                $58.64
  100 items                   $1,100.00                                                               $93.78
  150 items                   $1,650.00                                                               $263.77
  200 items                   $2,200.00                                                               $317.89
  500 items                   $5,500.00                                                               $816.88

Does anyone else see how ridiculous this is??  Even if the cost of the items that they're selling have a profit margin that makes selling them in the first place worth the effort, most people do not want the stuff your kids are selling and will gladly give you a fraction of that cost just to get you to leave them alone. I know I would.  My kids are not going to do it.  I am going to tell them that if they want to raise money for the school, they can collect money and turn it in.  I will call their relatives and say "Hey, it's fundraising time.  Do you want to buy some over-priced crappy food items that you don't really want or give me a $5.00 or $10.00 check per kid made out to the school?"  As far as their "incentive" program, I am going to give my kids $0.15 on the dollar that they raise, and they'll STILL come out better.  And so will the school. 

I get that offering the kids incentives gets them to sell more and that it teaches them that hard work is rewarded, but why don't we give them REAL rewards?  Why don't we sell stuff that people want at prices that make sense AND make money for the school?  I think that teaching the kids the value of a dollar (yes, even at the tender age of 5 or 6), AND letting them raise money for their school would be awesome.  But for now, does anyone want some funnel cake mix for $11.00?


Anonymous said...

You have read my mind...and worded it wonderfully.

Maren said...

Thank you for voicing exactly how I feel! I've done the math also and last year offered to send in a $20 check. I was told that my child would not get to attend the "awesome reward party" if I did that. You had to sell to attend. What? Seriously? I am GIVING them money, no middle man required. They should put her at the front of the freakin' line for the bounce castle!However, I do let her sell the World's Finest Chocolate candy bars. $1 per bar and those things are delicious!:)

christy said...

We usually sell wrapping paper. Enough to wrap a pair of kids shoes for $18.95. A few years ago they changed up and did cookie dough..... REFRIGERATED cookie dough...... Because when my kid brings home 20 large tubs I have a place to put that..... Would have been easier to donate what I spent on gas trying to get it all delivered before it ruined. Oh yeah and EVERY school is doing it at the same time = no one wants ANYTHING


I have to admit, I cringed a little bit when I read the post Title! I too am not "that" mom. We do NOT do any type of fundraiser that is sent home from school. I think last year the best "prize" when selling under 50 or so items was a Disney ruler(6" mind you) and 1 glow stick(like you get at the dollar store containing 4 or 6/pk). I agree, write a check for X amount and be done with it.

Lisa said...

I always hate those darn huge entertainment books they sell around here. They make each kid take one home on the first day of school - whether you want to or not - and then you either sell it or return it to the school. And of course they weigh a ton. I hate those things & I refuse to sell them.

Ghetto Mamas Club said...

My kindergartner brought home one of those, but she does get a cool looking cheap helicopter for selling 3 items. I was thinking I'll just buy 3 items. I can't find 3 items in both catalogs that are worth buying. They had magazine subscriptions, and there's one magazine I've been meaning to subscribe to anyway, but I don't even know if that would count as an item. I'd rather just donate some cash. My fundraisers though usually included selling advertising for something on something school related, and that was always very successful. They need a new target market. Families with children usually don't have a lot of money to throw away. Businesses, however, have a budget for advertising and donations.

Stacey said...

Well, as fundraising chairperson for our PTA... I will say it is a necessary evil. If it weren't for a yearly Fundraiser our teachers would have zero to spend for classroom supplies (Lord knows our state has cut out the funding). Our PTA gives each teacher a $200 class fund.

My oldest child who attends a different school was asked to send in $75/child to support the school...yea right, I can't afford that. HOWEVER, I CAN afford to have my children ask neighbors, friends, family to buy to support the school. Honestly there is no good answer, but there IS a necessity to fundraise in our school system, otherwise our school wouldn't have ANYTHING!!!

Anonymous said...

BEST Fundraiser i have seen is to have the students participate in a 1 mile fun run and collect donations that go directly to that. Forget about raising money for american heart association right now through school with budgets being cut and raise the money in your school system. The kids get prizes but with the run being run by PTA - all money is staying internal. Do the math - each child is asked to try to collect $50 - family, friends, neighbors etc. Then there are 600 kids at school. Yes that is a whopping $30k that could be raised by running a mile! Forget selling stuff!!

Xinh said...

And do you remember what we had to sell? Magazine subscriptions!! At least food is easier to sell!

Is there a website we can go to in order to view what we can buy from you?

Bobby said...

I concur, after spending a night with my daughters booster club racking our brain on fundraisers. I came up with the best idea I could to at least make it easier for everyone. It's an idea that I'm surprised no has put together yet. I guess you have to be somewhat of a web programer but here is contribution the easiest, fastest, safest, surest way to raise money for schools, charities, churches, clubs, and organizations! How do we do it? By combining two of today's latest and most popular phenomena: social networking and "groupon" technology. Pass it on it will save you time and energy thx.