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I'm Fed Up with School Fundraisers

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And I'm not gonna take it anymore!

woman pulling her hair

Meanest Mom Jana Mathews: Generally, I support school fundraisers because they benefit kids. My investment in last month's various fundraising campaigns netted me a bag of chicken cutlets, 3 boxes of cookie dough, a glow-in-the-dark necklace, and a pack of pencils that smell like root beer.

I've been a little slow, however, in returning the order form for the current/300th fundraiser this year. The problem isn't that I can't find my checkbook, but rather, that I can't decide what to buy. All of the items in the fundraising brochure are must-have essentials sold at reasonable prices. I'm trying to decide between a hamburger press for $11.50 and a microwaveable bacon rack for $16.98.

When I told my kindergartner that I was thinking of sitting this fundraiser out, she threw herself off the sofa. "Now I'm not going to get that Wii!" she cried.

To thank our elementary school for letting them take 50% of the fundraiser's profits, the fundraising company is raffling off a Nintendo Wii. To be eligible for the drawing, you have to sell 5 or more items. I feel bad for my daughter, but not bad enough to buy five sets of potholders.

Once my daughter stopped hyperventilating, I explained to her the harsh realities of having a mother who is fed up with school fundraisers and all the pressure they put on the students to sell JUNK and the parents to buy it. And the 1 in 600 chance of winning the Wii? Don't even get me started.

"So what you're telling me is that I am never ever going to get that Wii?" she wanted to know.

"That is correct," I replied.

If my precious darling did not stomp her feet so hard that a knickknack fell off the mantle, I might have been moved to mercy ... and possibly been talked into buying a pair of aromatherapy candles and three hummingbird fan pulls.

Alas. It looks like we're just going to have to do without.

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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kelly July 6, 2009, 10:13 AM

What drives me crazy is when the fundraiser is selling junkfood. The school district has banned cupcakes for birthday parties and treats for holiday parties such as Halloween and Christmas, promoting healthy diet choices (this new policy was NOT for children with allergies). I am all for helathy eating but it seems a bit hypocriticl to then have a fundraiser pushing cookies and cookie dough, chocolate covered nuts and 20 different types of candy and rewarding the kids with prizes for the most sold.

Anonymous July 6, 2009, 10:23 AM

I throw 70% of those fundraiser flyers out. How I wish that in the beginning of the school year, the school would just ask each parent for $20 for the year for fundraising needs and just be done with it. Then we wouldn’t have to sell a thing and the school would probably make more money than they do with those junkie flyers.

Uly July 6, 2009, 11:28 AM

Hear, hear, Anon. Plus they wouldn’t be wasting class and family time with this nonsense.

Lindy July 6, 2009, 11:33 AM

I agree with Uly and Anonymous. When my DD was in school I would have glady donated money instead of wasting time on fundraising crap.

Rachel July 6, 2009, 3:08 PM

That’s all I do… Write a check. My house is free of crap, and the school gets more than they would’ve netted anyway. :)

Bobi July 7, 2009, 12:36 AM

The hCard fundraiser actually benefits the supporter as well as the school

Bobi July 7, 2009, 12:39 AM

The hCard fundraiser actually benefits the supporter as well as the school

Believe Jay July 8, 2009, 2:59 PM

I appreciate your frustration but the irony is that your school needs to hold even more fundraisers when there is a lack of parent support. Without the funds from the fundraisers, your school will lose quality offerings and programs and with state budget cuts being what they are this year, the schools really do need the help more than ever.

Visitor comments suggesting that parents will just write a check just are not accurate. Unfortunately, without an organized fundraiser, parents will not get around to actually writing any checks.

I know it’s hard folks, but please support your kids through the fundraisers until America can properly fund schools again or we come up with a better plan.

Fredric Williams July 10, 2009, 12:27 AM

Schools are run by bureaucrats who have no ability to manage money — but who believe the solution is more money and the only way they can think of getting more money is unpaid child labor and well-meaning parents and neighbors.

Those who think bad management can be cured with more money will never understand why governments can’t do a good job on an average of $45,000 per year per household.

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