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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Art of Fund-raising

I'm a teacher.

I'm a few credits short of my Masters degree in Education. I believe in education, and I love it.

What I am quickly learning is how much I despise education-related fund-raising.

Seriously, folks. This is ridiculous. I am spinning in a fund-raising tornado and I can't stop long enough to put my feet on the ground. I am the owner of "packets" galore and could at this very moment in time sell you just about anything from holiday cards, tacky gifts, a subscription to just about any magazine of your choosing, pre-made and frozen cookie and muffin dough, pies, cakes, and pizzas, to any type of gift you might ever fathom buying for . . . anyone.

I understand that education is under-funded. I watch the news and I see what is happening with the economy. Times are tough. We, too, in our little family of Things are trying to budget and do what is best for the family in the big picture.

But this is becoming ridiculous.

Thing 1 is only FOUR. He just started his first year of junior kindergarten in a public school system. I am aware via my tax bill just how much of my annual earnings go to support the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board. And I am still inundated with piles of packets of stuff I am supposed to sell to earn money for the school which my son attends. And living in modern times like we do, a request was sent home to make sure it is known that the school does not support door-to-door solicitation.

Oh. Even better. I get to hassle my close personal friends and family members in person or on the phone and guilt them into buying things they don't need.

In Thing 2's case, he attends a preschool for which we pay a monthly fee. It is a cooperative preschool, which means I volunteer one day a month in the classroom and also serve on the school's board of directors as the vice president. Again, times are tough. Enrollment is down. Funds are low . . . which means the school needs to raise more money.

Which leads us to more fund-raising. So I am getting up before dawn tomorrow morning to head to a garage-sale type event where we have rented a table to sell baby and children's items to earn money for the school. I'm also required to sell a certain dollar amount worth of frozen food from a catalog that was sent home with each student. And next month we're having a pizza party, and then a silent auction.

And I really don't mind doing things like the garage sale. I'm up early anyway, and I'm not trying to complain about it. I love to support my Things' schools and their activities in any way I can. I think the preschool is amazing - that is why I choose to send my son there two mornings a week even though I am not working and it is tight for us to fit it in our budget - and I'll do anything I can to ensure it's success.

But I really, really, really cannot stand soliciting people I care about to support my children when most of them have children of their own needing to be supported for one cause or another. It completely and utterly stresses me out . . . although probably not as much as sending the forms back to school with all the columns bare and empty.

Back to school ain't what it used to be.


dougnlarry said...

Yuck! I'm sorry. If I lived closer, I'd buy some stuff to help support the boys.

Donna M said...

I remember it well. I can't tell you the number of tickets, bars, etc. we bought because I couldn't face family and friends with any more fund raising requests!
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I remember it well also! I had three Things. By the time the 3rd Thing was in school, I started to make donations instead. I hated to ask my friends, and anyway, most of them were selling too. As a teacher now, I made sure our 7th grade class holds only 1 fundraiser a year and we tell parents that is our vow! only one.

Good Luck to you....the problem is when they offer "prizes" to the kids to sell. The prizes are junk but the kids don't know that.....

Phyllis said...

Here, here!! We've got the SAME thing going on too, and I just *hate* it. I especially LOVE how all the different organizations/schools/clubs tend to do their fundraising at the SAME time!

Jen said...

You are not alone in your loathing of the fundraisers. The thing is that I can't hit up my family/friends because they have the same crap to try to sell. So, I just try to buy something from each one that comes home so I feel like I did something. The easiest fundraiser we have done so far has been girl scout cookies. Those darn things sell themselves. I like Market Day too. I think food is the easiest thing to sell because everybody eats.

Kristen said...

UGH! Now I am officially dreading the school days.

Seriously they are working you parents to the bone. Can't they spread those 40% taxes around better??

Sorry Shanon. Hang in there. I know it must be hard. :)

Anonymous said...

I hear you on this one. In the case of preschool, I would prefer if they just raised everyone's tuition by a few dollars and quit pushing us to buy over priced stuff where the school only gets a fraction of the money.

Anonymous said...

It's really gotten out of control, hasn't it? I remember pestering my single and very busy mom to participate in a drill team garage sale once. Her biggest gripe was the other moms. But now it would be unheard of to NOT participate. I'm a little scared for my future!!

Andrea@Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

Eve came home with two fundraisers last week.

I'm not doing it. And they can't make me.

I know, bad attitude. But, I just don't do fundraisers. I don't solicit people for anything and especially not their money. We'll give our money to the school directly.

Sorry for the sass!

I hope the garage sale went well! Now THAT is a good idea for raising money :)


Unknown said...

Oh, sweetie, that doesn't sound fun at all....I am really not looking forward to Isabella being in school!

4funboys said...

multiply that frustration by 400 and that will tell you how much I'm feeling your post!!!

It kills me!

Anonymous said...

Have you considered putting your children in private schools and just paying the price they ask? That would put an end to your fundraising stress.

No? Because it costs too much? That's how it appears most people seem to act when it comes to public schools and co-ops vs. private school. Everyone wants all the good stuff, and they want it without exerting any effort or paying up. Nothing new here.

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