Re-thinking Those School Fundraisers

Posted September 21st, 2010 by Jill Addeo | No Comments »

Before I was married or had children, I lived in an apartment building in Manhattan and the building was chock full of families with school age children. One of the most memorable benefits I reaped from being around all of these kids was the ability to stock up on cookies when Girl Scout Season rolled around. I stocked up like no body’s business, for purely selfish reasons, and as a result became popular with the kids. However, as the old saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

The problem was that as these young girls and boys went through grade school, they were asked to participate in more and more school fundraisers which entailed going door to door in our building and getting the tenants to order things we did not want or need. The pressure and incentives for these kids to sell and sell hard was such that they were even hitting up the doormen and elevator men.  Shameless, right?  Candy, nuts, magazines, candles, popcorn tins and the dreaded wrapping paper. At first, the door to door visits were cute and you couldn’t help but feel like you must order something. After all, school programs are genuinely in need of funding. Year after year, I flipped through cheesy catalogs filled with junk that either never showed up or showed up months later bearing no resemblance to the picture in the catalog. I don’t mean to give these companies a bad name but I rarely received a magazine for which I had bought a subscription. The last time I gave in to a school fundraiser of this kind was about 10 years ago. I ordered tons of wrapping paper and ribbon from the lovely girl next door in the hope that I could make use of it that coming Christmas. That wrapping paper never came and when I tried to ask the girl’s parents to intervene and follow up with the school, I realized how emotionally fraught these things can get. After all, my check had been cashed and their daughter had been one of the top sellers in her class so they washed their hands of the matter.

It was then that I vowed to no longer participate in this type of school fundraiser, no matter how cute the child and how persuasive their sales pitch. Fortunately, the school that my own children now attend, does not raise funds in this way. But, for those of you who have had similar traumatic experiences, I have come across some sage advice . Read on and spare yourself the buyer’s remorse while still making a valuable and much needed contribution to the schools in your community.

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Posted in Jill's Thoughts, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized

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