Wednesday, March 2, 2016

School Fundraisers -- hate 'em!

Several times a year my son's school sends home information on fundraisers either for the school or various charities.

I don't like it.

I remember those horrid door-to-door fundraisers I had to do for school back in the day. Sponsorships for Readathons. Walk-A-Thon donations. Huge cardboard suitcases filled with cheapo gift items. Wrapping paper. Overpriced candy and popcorn. Greeting cards. Magazines. All through school I was always being forced to sell something, or raise money for some organization.  I hated it. And my parents hated it.

I only allow my son to do one fundraiser during the year. For the rest, I send a polite note saying my son will not be participating.

For his one fundraiser this year,  my son is selling candy bars for the local PTO. I don't like it, but I know it helps him overcome his shyness. It helps him learn to talk to people and use good manners. Plus he has the responsibility to collect the money and turn it in. But....he is only doing it ONCE. Not ten times during the school year. One time. Period.

My son and I will spend the next two weeks walking around town in the evening selling candy bars. I don't allow him to go by himself, not even in our own quiet neighborhood. It's not safe. That's the main reason I don't like kids doing door-to-door fundraising. I know not every parent accompanies their child....and it just isn't safe for a grade school kid to walk around by themselves with a box full of candy or whatever and an envelope full of cash.  I follow my kid around like a pit bull...and I carry the money. Let's see somebody try to do anything to my son. I would fold them into a pretzel and kick them into outer space off the end of my boot. But, not every kid has a guard-mom walking with them. It just isn't safe to send kids out door-to-door.

I also don't like raising money for non-local charities. National organization have so many other ways to raise funds. They don't need to be sending school children out begging for donations. If they spent less money on printing full color fundraising catalogs for schools, buying merchandise for kids to sell, and providing the prizes they use to bribe the kids into going door-to-door selling & collecting, these charities would have a lot more cash to use for actual charity work, right? Seems to me they are spending millions of dollars to send school kids across the nation out fundraising that should actually be used to fund their charity work. And, who knows what percentage of donations are going to administration and what part actually goes into research or charity work?

I would much rather my son collect canned food for the local food bank, or donations for the county hospice program or local homeless shelters. That money would directly benefit people right here, instead of covering overhead for some huge national charity.

I don't like fundraising events that benefit the school either. How much of this money does the school actually get to keep? When you factor in the cost of the items they are selling, or the overhead for color catalogs, order forms, prizes and the percentage the fundraising company much is left? Wouldn't it be better to just ask for donations? Are cash donations to schools tax deductible? I'd donate a bit each year and add it to my charitable contributions for the year, if I could. I'd rather do that than have my son out selling wrapping paper for $12, with the school only getting a percentage of the profit.

Just a bit of a vent. I am not joyful about walking around town in February hocking candy.

I'm not even sure why the PTO is raising money. Sigh.

I can't have sugar, so I can't even drown my sorrows with chocolate by buying a candy bar from my son. I can't eat the damn things.

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