Wrapping paper, candles, chocolate, cookies—some parents may feel like their children are always being asked to sell something for yet another fundraiser. School and community fundraisers are a big part of the school year. And they are necessary to raise money for the school and/or organizations that help kids reach their full potential. But too many school fundraisers can become a burden on both parents and kids. So much so that parents may begin to dread seeing another notice about another fundraiser!
The Issues with Fundraisers
Parents with more than one school-aged child can find themselves juggling too many fundraisers, some at the same time. This can get chaotic and confusing, and dates can often overlap, especially if the kids are at different schools and there is no coordination between events. Fundraisers can also be a time burden for busy parents. For parents who have multiple kids, have a job, or just have a full schedule, finding time to fit in fundraising activities can be difficult.
Some fundraisers try to encourage kids to raise the most money in their class or group. This can work to motivate them, but it can also pit kids against each other and cause bad feelings. Kids then think they have to compete with their friends in order to win, which can cause some kids to shy away from raising money and others to try too hard to “win.” It may also not feel fair to some when some parents help their children get sales and other don’t.
And often, holding the fundraiser itself can be expensive. That means that not all the money raised goes directly to the school. A lot of it goes to overhead for the fundraiser or events surrounding it and products needed to promote it. This means that the overall amount of money raised isn’t nearly as much as is needed by the school.
So, What Can Parents Do?
Parents can work together to help address some of these concerns and make fundraising easier. Here are some of the ways:
Instead of participating in multiple fundraisers, you can cut down on your time involvement by donating money directly to the school instead. That way, you are participating without the time commitment for you and your kids. And by contributing directly to the school, you can ensure that your money won’t be going toward the overhead costs of a specific fundraiser.
Choose One Fundraiser
For parents who are too busy to get involved in multiple fundraisers, it helps to focus on just one. You can choose the one that sounds most appealing and make extra time to get involved with it instead of spreading yourself too thin around multiple events and projects.
Parents can have input into what types of fundraisers their children’s school will run, especially when they join together. Consider making suggestions to your child’s school principal or administrators. Partnering with a nearby grocery store, gas station, or other popular local business that will agree to donate a portion of their proceeds when customers mention their school can be a pain-free way to raise funds. Parents would likely shop there anyway, so the fundraiser would be more successful and take less time for parents. And there may be other types of fundraisers that work better for your community.
Use Other Tools
Sites like ClassWish.org let teachers create a digital wish list where parents can donate money for specific items without having to participate in events. EdRover, an iPhone app, also helps you contribute by alerting you when you are within 100 feet of a participating business. If you “check in,” the donation will be sent from that business to whatever school you choose.
Fundraisers are still an important way for schools to make money and they can provide a good experience for children. But if they are becoming a burden to parents, finding alternatives may be a good solution.
What ways have you found to cope with fundraising overload?