I hate school fundraisers. Hate them. I hate the idea of sending little kids out to peddle crappy goods to raise money for their school. I hate trike-a-thons, dance-a-thons, and jump rope-a-thons. I hate seeing kids sitting outside the grocery store selling candy bars and popcorn. I hate that they even have to worry about raising money for their school.
It should not be the kids problem.
School fundraising is not new. As a kid, I remember lugging a white and red cardboard box filled with trinkets around my neighborhood. I went to Catholic school and wore my scratchy, plaid uniform around town, knocking on doors, hoping to sell enough to win a big prize.
Of course, I never won a big prize. Usually I won something small and cheap. A prize that broke within days of receiving it.
I hated school fundraisers then and I hate them now.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that schools need help. I’m happy to help in any way I can. But I have rules. I will only give one hour of my time for meetings and I will not sell things to my friends and family. With rare exceptions (like my friend Kay’s awesome Pink Papaya products) I hate when friends sell me stuff. So I don’t try to sell them stuff. Ever.
I’ll volunteer in the classroom. I’ll cook, bake, make anything they need. But I won’t sell stuff.
Even though the boys are only in kindergarten, they’ve already been asked to become little Willy Loman’s. The school fundraising industry is slick, they know how to get to kids. This week the boys brought home brightly colored catalogues and prize pages. The prizes range from a “mystery box” for selling up to four items to and iPad 2 for selling 200 items.
200 items. Seriously?
Not only did they have exciting catalogues, but they’d been shown a video.
A school fundraiser propaganda video.
The video instructed them to email their grandparents and aunts and uncles. To ask their neighbors what they wanted to buy. It also showed them the amazing prizes (A FRISBEE!) they could win.
But here’s the thing, they’re six – they don’t really get the whole fundraising thing. Jackson calls it “funraising.”
He also thinks you have to do the things on the prize page to win something. So to win a frisbee, he has to play frisbee. To win a ball, he has to play with a ball.
See, it’s “fun raising.” Get it?
He also thinks we can just pick out what we want everyone to buy and show it to them. No problem. He planned to sell one of the neighbors a “present” which was really just wrapping paper. I asked him, “what if the neighbor doesn’t have any money?” He replied, “it’s ok mom, all grown-ups have money.”
We told him that we would not be selling anything to our friends and family. Instead, I would call and see if I could make a donation to the cause. I think parents should have this option. Either sell the garbage or make a donation. I’ll make the donation every time. Seriously.
The boys seemed ok with that once we sweetened the deal by offering to buy them a prize too. I just hope they’ll settle for the frisbee instead of the iPad 2.