All The World's A Fundraiser!

How do families decide who to contribute to?

As parents it seems we are constantly asked to donate or raise money for everything under the sun -- school, scouts, athletics, theater, and numerous other activities. 

These days it is difficult as a parent to decide what to buy, and from whom.  What do you say when the doorbell keeps ringing and it is another cute child asking you for something. What type of fundraising do parents prefer? What types of things would you be more likely to give to? For most of us the fundraising is a huge help to the bottom line for our children’s extra-curricular activities.

I asked several parents how they feel about the subject and this is what they had to say. One mom, “Renee” told me she understands the need for most of these organizations to need some form of fundraising. She prefers to purchase food items since she knows her family will typically eat those items and they won’t go to waste. She especially enjoys the restaurant nights as she sees it as a win for everyone. She does not have to cook and the organization gets a donation.  Restaurant nights here in Glen Ellyn are done by many of our schools. Families can dine somewhere and it might have a “kids eat free” deal and then a percentage of sales go back to the school. She also prefers to buy from those she knows, but has ended up buying things from kids she likes but not because she supports the organization.

Another mom, “Susan”, feels fundraising is a necessity and is happy to help.  However, the product she is getting in return for her donation is important and has changed over the years. She used to contribute because she felt she needed to help anyone no matter what the product. She realized she was wasting her money on things that were overpriced and useless. She was happy that her elementary school fundraiser offered a straight donation option for those who had no interest in buying from the items offered.

Now she tries to buy things they will use and have some value. She loves the Groupon coupons, the chamber checkbook, the Glenbard West Booster card and baseball coupons. They actually save people money. She feels that the door-to-door thing has fallen off in past years and that it is often now the parent’s job to email people all around for donations. She mentioned that nobody came to her door for Girl Scout cookies this year. She bought some from friends outside Glen Ellyn and one from someone at a baseball game.

“Julie” told me that fundraising has helped her family tremendously. It is a lot of work but every little bit helps when you have only one income which has been the case in her house for almost a year. Fundraising has allowed her kids to go to scout camp, band camp, and play on sports teams. Her kids would not have been able to participate without it. Her kids usually go door to door just in her neighborhood and when they have exhausted their area she may send an eblast out to friends and family in case someone is interested that her kids can’t reach door to door. She always tries to buy from kids that come to her door, but is hesitant when it is an adult or teenager she does not know. She feels she has very generous neighbors and friends who are always very supportive.

The last mom I talked to explained that she chooses her fundraiser participation based on her family’s likes and their budget. She also enjoys the restaurant nights as well, but with busy kid’s schedules, has not been to one lately. She also likes Market Day but feels she can get better deals at Costco for the things in which she is interested. She is not a fan of door-to-door selling.

I agree with most of these moms, that fundraising helps so much with how difficult things are these days, but quality is important.  I never like to ask people to buy things, but I know sometimes it is necessary. I am not a door-to-door person either and often feel trapped into saying yes sometimes. I wish I could help everyone but it is difficult. That is why I think, as the others have said, items like food, restaurant visits, discount cards, and Groupon type fundraisers are much easier to get donations. These are things we can all use and that make us feel we are getting something of value and helping out someone else.

What types of fundraising do you like? Tell us about it!

Julie Farrell April 19, 2011 at 02:48 PM
When I was a kid, we used to go door-to-door selling everything for fundraisers. I remember Girl Scout cookies, Fannie Mae chocolates, Mint Meltaways, candy bars, chatchkies, & even flower bulbs for band one year! We sold for Girl Scouts, band, cheerleading, softball, soccer, & choirs for trips/uniforms/etc. Nowadays, most groups tell the kids to NOT sell door-to-door, which I understand the safety issue, but feel it's safe if the parent is with them as they should be. My mom always followed along the street in her car as my sister and I raced from one door to the next, taking turns and seeing who could outsell the other. My mom, as crazily supportive as she was, even took us to Jewels all over Chicagoland to stand out front and sell our candy bars. As far as what I prefer, however....I wouldn't mind little kids coming to my door if I was home, but I'm often not. It seems more efficient to do what my mom did and set up shop in front of a store that will allow it. Both of my daughters are Girl Scouts and much of their sales have come from booth cookie sales. Anyway, something like cookies or well-known chocolates are always a good buy in my eyes. While I adore Boy Scouts of America, I'm not a big fan of spending $9 for a box of microwave popcorn, though (cheapest thing on their list). I too prefer the restaurant nights. My kids' schools have been doing those for a while & I bought a restaurant coupon from a GW pom member last fall, which worked out really nice.


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