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How do schools like Head Royce, Redwood, Bentley and the like run their
fundraisers that are parent run?. Are they actually run solely by the parents
or are these events driven by the development staff? How much leeway do the
parents have? ANy information that you can supply as to the mechanics of
these events is appreciated.
At Redwood, our big fundraising event is an auction that is run by a
committee of parents under the umbrella of the PGA (Parent and Guardians
association). Parents run the auction the way they want to. The PGA is
a separate entity from the school. The development office, to my
knowledge, has nothing to do with the auction, and the money raised goes
to the PGA, not the school (although the PGA then donates the money to
I have been very involved with the auction for the last several years at
Redwood (even co-chaired it). Our PGA (parent and guardian association)
is a legally separate entity from our school, so this may be a difference
for us. Our auction is solely run by the parents, while coordinating
with the school. The school helps by allowing us to email parents, post
signs/posters/banners, include write-ups in the ''Friday Folder'' and
such. They also help by accepting and watching over the donations until
we can pick them up, printing up labels, stuffing the catalogs in the
backpacks and the like. We do try to coordinate a bit with the
Development staff so as not to send requests for donations the same time
they are sending requests for the Annual fund. There has been some back
and forth about this in the past, but currently the parents really run
I'd be happy to answer specific questions if you'd like to get my email
from the moderators.
An Auction Hack
As the budget crisis in California gets worse, the job
market continues to show no signs of improvement, and
education becomes the next item on the chopping block for
additional cuts- I continue to be baffled by the process of
fund raising in public schools. People don't want their kids
to grow up to pan handlers or buskers, yet it's suddenly
acceptable to sell chocolate door to door? Where is the
outrage? Where is the commitment to furthering education?
It's not enough that I explain to my child that the school
will get more money if I write a check than if she sells
candy. She goes to sales rallies in the auditorium. There
are big posters on the windows. Kids compare sales. They win
prizes. She is not and feels extremely left out.
I am an unemployed graduate student. It is BECAUSE I have
less money that I despise waste. The school will get 50% of
the sales- pretty high by some standards. In addition,
parents are encouraged to purchase items requested by
teachers at retail prices. When I made the point in a PTA
meeting that parents were paying too much (1.29 for 8
crayons vs. .05 wholesale), the response was that parents
don't like to just write a check. I want ALL of my money to
go to the school. I feel cheated when it is not- I'm not
even sure the other parents are aware.
Candy sales promote poor eating habits- the "do as I say
not as I do" approach to a problem. Imagine a school
fundraiser with cigarettes, or alcohol? It is abhorrent
because we agree on the harm these things do- not just
because it's illegal. Physicians have proven that sugar is
just as harmful- isn't this sufficient? Or do we need a law
I welcome any information on the best practices for
school fund raising. If everyone is doing it there must be
discussion panels somewhere. Isn't there a larger entity in
the administration that promotes gifts to schools and
educating parents on the best use of funds? Any research to
show the economic benefits that the business community reaps
as a consequence of reduced school funding?
Ready to raise a fuss...
This is my pet peeve too! Trying to be a better steward of
our earth, I too deplore the sale of gift wrap paper,
junky accessories, candy, in a word, junk - all in the
name of raising money for the school. I do think that
people are more motivated when they feel that they are
part of something bigger and so you may want to explore
alternative ways of raising money and engaging the school
community. We started an online auction for our school
and raised a LOT of money this way - we found a website
called biddingforgood.com, that charges a percentage of
the sale amount and it's very easy to post items and
manage the entire sale.
Many families cleaned out their closets to donate items,
teacher donations were also popular (go to the movies with
Ms. So and So) and if you have any connections to showbiz,
those items (backstage passes, set visits) are popular
with people outside of the community.
It does take a committee to run the thing but it can be
I should have started with this advice though - if you
want to change things at your school, you must get
involved with the PTA or Booster Club. Be the change you
want to see. Good luck!
I don't have any advice, but I am eager to read any
responses you get and I am in TOTAL agreement. As an
elementary school teacher, I am OUTRAGED and DISGUSTED by
these fundraisers. There is so much waste, as you note, and
we are basically asking the students to pressure their
parents to buy crap (in our case it's not only candy but
loads of other terrible stuff) which they don't need in
order that the school can get some money, while the company
organizing the fundraiser gets the majority. The assemblies
at which the fundraisers are kicked off are almost parodic
in the way the facilitator whips the kids up into hysteria
over the awful junk they can win if they only sell enough
As a teacher I tell my kids that I do not agree with this
way of raising money but they may participate if they wish;
I have expressed my opinion to the principal and to the fund
raiser liaison as well.
As a parent, I will NEVER support my children's schools
through this means.
I'm happy to give to the schools and would support more
grass roots, possibly less lucrative efforts such as bake
sales. But the idea that our students/children should sell
junk in order to have adequate supplies is indeed abhorrent.
In my case, at a school which receives a lot of title 1
funds, we seem to be reluctant to ask the families to
contribute, but we don't mind asking their kids to be
excited about junk. I feel that families want to invest in
the school, and were we to ask for a small donation at the
beginning of the year a great number would be happy to give,
and would feel more involved in the school as a result.
Sigh... I have very mixed feelings on this subject. On the
one hand, of course selling candy bars sends a bad message
to our kids. Of course foisting more sugary junk on people
who are trying their hardest to watch their diets is awful.
On the other hand, the reality, at least at our school, is
that our candy-bar sales make the school A LOT of money that
we desperately need. And that is because the $1 price-point
makes them very easy to sell. Families that aren't involved
in the PTA and don't really understand how desperately this
money is needed will nonetheless go out and earn the school
$25 by selling 50 candy bars to their friends, neighbors and
coworkers. I loathe and detest selling things and yet I find
I can unload a lot of bars just by placing them in the
breakroom at my job with an honors-system envelope.
Our school has an annual Spelling Bee that is also a
fundraiser--students get pledges and people donate according
to how many words that child spelled correctly. 100 percent
of the proceeds go to the school. Fantastic, right? It's a
great event... but the reality is that many fewer students
participate, so less money is raised. Almost anyone will
fork over a dollar for a candy bar, but not as many will
pledge $5 or more without getting anything in return.
I suggest that instead of going to your PTA and saying
''candy bar sales suck!'', you should say ''I have great ideas
for other, healthier ways to raise money... here they are.''
Hopefully you will get some great ideas in response to this
post. Auctions and ''direct response'' can be a challenging
fit for a school with a working/middle class demographic.
I will be very interested to read others' ideas.
I'm with you 80% of the way. As a former econ major, I
think it makes NO sense to talk parents into buying crap
they don't need so that the school can get 10 or 20 or
even 50 percent of the proceeds, rather than having
parents just write a check that will go 100% to the
school. I also hate hate hate having my child solicit
from friends and neighbors (especially since many of our
neighbors are seniors less affluent than I am and I'm sure
get hit up by their own grandkids and don't need my kid
knocking on their door). But, that said, based on my
years as the parent of a school-age child, I think you may
be setting yourself up for failure, dear Ready to Raise a
Fuss, if you want to convince everyone that what they are
doing is wrong wrong wrong. (Especially if you are
militantly anti-chocolate: even I part company with you
there.) Instead I would offer better ideas for fundraisers
that have higher profit margins, such as a carwash, dog
walking, or a movie night, or a babysitting event for
parents staffed by other parents and older kids (you can
drop off your kid for 3 hours for $20 and go out to dinner
or a movie). And, if all else fails, if you don't want to
participate, don't. Face it, sometimes one cannot change
the will of the majority (and there are greater injustices
to fight in this world, too). Simply say ''I don't want to
buy candy but I am happy to give you $10.'' It is not the
worst thing in the world for your daughter to learn to
swim against the tide in this one area, too -- how to come
in last in the candy contest and bear it with grace and
dignity is a great skill.
I totally know what you mean about school fundraisers. I have been so
with my daughter's school because every year they have a gift wrap fundraiser.
is so wasteful!
I am pushing to have my school do a fundraiser with zero-waste lunch boxes.
That at least is for a good cause. There is one company that I heard gives
to 50% back to the school. So that is almost as good as the candy. I think the
company is called Brightbin.
But I do agree.... fundraising in schools is a big challenge at times. I am in
of fundraising that won't make out kids fat and that actually do something
for the world. Good luck to you!
I think you have hit on a significant practice that people
are just not questioning. Bake sales are in the same
category. Sounds like it is time to come up with a different
fundraising strategy that is more direct. Short of one of
those fundraisers that work through texting, I don't know
what is the answer.
I am sorry I can't be of any help, but I really applaud your
effort. I think the parents and kids hate being asked to
sell stuff. Neighbors and relatives hate being asked to buy
stuff. The only ones that benefit are the candy and gift
My friend works for a local solar installer, Sungevity.org,
that helps schools raise money by sending solar lease
customers their way. The whole idea is to get ''beyond the bake
sale'' so that parents don't have to push sugar. Sungevity
makes a $1000 per customer donation to the school so it's a
lot more profitable than selling cupcakes. Doesn't get around
the issue of business involvement in the schools but at least
it's a healthy and environmentally beneficial product.
Schools need money, not all fundraisers are well thought out. I
generally sidestep the fundraiser and write a check(100% tax
deductible) to the school for the amount of money they hoped to raise
if I sold my allotment of junk. Some parents WILL not GIVE a penny
unless they get a ''return'' on their money(cookies, candy, wrapping
paper) and these fundraisers solve that problem. Write the check, skip
the sell.One of our teams asked us to sell $180 worth of cookie dough
to raise $60 bucks. I sent a check for $60, they sent me a receipt and
their tax id number-I will deduct it on 2011's income taxes.
Each year my children's school raises money to buy things
for families in need. The families provide a wish-list, and
students donate money to buy the items. This year the list
for one family was for 3 ipods. Another family asked for a
computer & a digital camera. Some families asked for things
like toys, clothes and blankets. I feel like the school
should have a clearer criteria for what constitutes ''need''
and that some of the requests are overly expensive and not
really ''needs'' but just ''wants''. The idea of giving to help
those in need is great, but ipods, cameras, etc. seem way
beyond the scope. Am I just being too critical, so I should
just keep quiet and give what what I'm comfortable giving?
Or, should I speak-up about this?
I sort of agree with you. Though I imagine that even needy families are
susceptible to the desire for cool electronic gadgets-- especially if they
teens in the household. I get what your saying about ''need'' vs. ''want''
struggle with that in my own life. I wonder if gently used Ipods would be an
ho ho hum
I think you should give whatever you would be comfortable giving your own
child, or comparable item. Just because the less-fortunate kids don't
Ipod, doesn't mean they don't want them just as much as a more fortunate
think the idea of the giving (which our school does also) is to bring a
Christmas to a family in unhappy circumstances, not necessarily to just
them with basic needs.
Now I wouldn't give my own kid an ipod. That's something they'd have to
up their own money to buy. But I have and do give them toys and games that
they don't ''need''. And I would try to do the same for a less fortunate
Or, the alternative is easy: don't contribute. Donate the money you would
at the school to a charity that you feel better reflects your values.
Your mileage may vary
I don't think you should say anything to the school about
the people asking for iPods or laptops. If you don't want
to buy them, then don't. But remember, low-income
families aren't always families with small kids.
Sometimes they have teenagers, who don't want toys, but
really want to be like the other kids at their school and
have an iPod. Or maybe they could really use a computer
to get their school work done. Or maybe the family has a
new baby on the way and really want to have a digital
camera to take photos of the baby that they can share with
others, just the way you or I did. Why shouldn't they be
able to do that? They're not asking for the latest and
greatest digital camera or the fanciest new Mac laptop.
In this age, I don't think a basic computer is a luxury
item. And I think a teenager in a low-income family
should get age-appropriate gifts. It's hard to ask for
charity; you definitely don't want anyone throwing it in
your face that you ''aimed too high.'' I know you're not
trying to be mean, but if you say something about it,
you'll risk coming off that way. I'd say, keep your
concerns to yourself and buy something you are comfortable
with for the gift drive.
Nope, you're not a scrooge. It's appalling that families
in ''need'' are asking for extravagant items like ipods,
etc. We are comfortable and my children wouldn't mind
having an ipod, but they're not getting one. It's a luxury
item that we definitely do not need. I would absolutely
speak up. You worded it really well in your post.
I imagine many will respond that your school isn't
identifying the right families to help - there's no shortage
of people in the area that could use a lot of help long
before they even thought of asking for cameras and ipods.
Among the important reasons to speak up about this is
consideration of the message the kids in your school are
getting: that material objects like cameras and ipods are
necessities of life, that all parents should provide them to
all children, and to the extent that less well-off families
are struggling, it's not about food, shelter, or clothing,
it's just about not having all the most popular toys.
a good concept that could be improved upon
I'm with you on this one, sister. NEED is one thing.
Blankets, food, gas for the car, paying the bills, etc. are
obviously important. I Pods?? Submit that to Santa. You are
not a Scrooge, you're just being practical.
I can understand how seeing the three ipods on the wish
list might seem a little excessive but having a computer
is crucial for anyone on the ''needy'' list to hopefully
become un-needy. In this day and age, computers are
necessary not just for homework for the kids but also for
looking for jobs. When I was unemployed and my PC was
stolen, I found out a few days later that I had missed out
on two lucrative gigs and also missed a query for a job
interview because I wasn't able to respond to my email in
time. Although they have PC's at the library, the wait to
use them is sometimes long and they usually just let you
use them for an hour--difficult if you have to write
several long cover letters. As for a digital camera, I use
mine to take pics of items that I sell on ebay--it turned
out to the greatest investment ever and has paid for
itself many times over. So although a PC and a camera
might at first glance seem extravagant, think of them as
tools for getting out of poverty. And the pc doesn't even
have to be new--just something that works is a godsend
when you don't have anything else.
I completely agree with you about the ''want'' items. I don't
have an iPod, but I did buy some stuff for an adopted family
last year-toys for the kids, clothes for the mom, but I
agree with you about those extra items. That's just too much
to ask for, unless everyone is going to go in on one big
thing like a computer for the family. Sheesh.
Not an ELF
You are certainly entitled to feel however you want about
the Christmas fund raising and I don't think it makes you a
scrooge if you're a little uncomfortable with it. But I
think it's important to remember that it is holiday fund
raising, not every-day-give-to-a-family-in-need giving. As
many of the other posters pointed out, what do families with
kids want at holidays? Blankets? Canned food? Practical
warm sweaters? Heck no! These families have kids who want
the same things all kids want, and that includes gadgets and
electronics and yes, iPods. How often do we say to friends
or family, ''Well, I wanted to get you something I knew you
wouldn't get for yourself.'' This fund raiser is the ''get
something you wouldn't get for yourself. . . .because you
can't afford it'' opportunity, so many people honestly asked
for what they wouldn't be able to get and now you know what
those things are. Happy Holidays!
I read through the responses you received and mostly agree -- buy what you are
However, I want to second one of the responders who said that just because a
family is low-income shouldn't preclude them from wanting something that
seems extravagant to you (or other readers). It's a Christmas list, not a basics
list, and it's supposed to be filled with wishes and desires. If something isn't
what you want to buy, don't.
I was amazed by some of the responses to the original post (which I had not
read). It reminds me of the time someone wrote into the Co-op newspaper
(when there was a Co-op) totally outraged that some indigent person was using
their food stamps to buy herbs and spices. The attitude of "how dare these
people try to enjoy life" leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. And I indeed
consider my iPod a necessity of life. It has helped me learn a language, I have
listened to many classic novels which I probably would not have read, and it
lightens incredibly boring tasks-I probably would not have stuck with strength-
training at the Y without it. These days a reconditioned iPod is not terribly
expensive. Give what you like to charity, but have a little compassion, people!
I'm on a non-profit board and like everyone else these days,
we're looking for new ways to fundraise. One way we've thought
of is by selling magazine subscriptions, probably just a soft
sell to encourage families to renew the magazines they already
get, so we get a cut of the fee. Does anyone have any good or
bad experiences with this kind of fundraising? Also, if I do a
little searching, I find about 20 different sites that sell
subscriptions as a fundraiser. Any advice on which one might
be best? or which ones to avoid? Thanks,
Just want to give feedback as somebody who bought a magazine
subscription through one of those fundraisers. This was the
sequence of events:
1) MANY months ago, a coworker circulated a magazine fundraiser
package for her child's school. I signed up for a subscription to
Wondertime Magazine. I wrote a check up front and filled out a
2) Something like three months later - possibly more - my
coworker showed up again with another packet. My subscription was
not yet on its way. No, what I got instead was a voucher and a
postcard form I had to fill out again with the code of the
magazine I wanted. Then I would have to mail that form in.
3) A few minutes after she left, I tried to fill out the form and
realized my magazine code wasn't listed. When I called her, it
turned out she'd given me the wrong set of materials.
4) A few hours later, she came back with the correct form. I
filled it out and mailed it off.
5) Six weeks after this, I still have no magazine, and probably
never will because - you guessed it! Wondertime is one of many
magazines which has gone out of business during this recession.
I will NEVER participate in one of those fundraisers again thanks
to this pain-in-the-butt experience. I would beg you to consider
some other fundraising methods instead. Entertainment books, for
example, where the purchaser gets coupons for restaurants, shops
and theaters around town. Auctions. Something with more immediate
gratification and less aggravation.
But if you do decide that magazine subs are the way to go, do
some research on any company you consider and make sure they have
a more streamlined process - and also ask them what they do if a
magazine shuts down.
Mad (about) Magazines
I'm looking into ordering a product from out-of-state for re-
sale as a PTSA fundraiser for our school as a change from the
candy, wrapping paper, and magazine sales that many groups use.
Because the product comes from out of state, I don't have to
pay sales tax on it at time of purchase. Since this is my first
time doing this kind of thing, I'd appreciate advice about
whether we have to collect California sales tax on products
sold for nonprofit fundraising, and if so, what we need to do
before and after the sales to set this up. Obviously, we'd
prefer to keep this as uncomplicated as we can.
I suggest you consult the handy-dandy California PTA Toolkit to
find out this answer; and pretty much any other question you have
about PTAs. http://www.capta.org/sections/resources/toolkit.cfm
My daughter attends a public school. Every year they have an
auction at the Claremont Hotel. This someone on the auction
committee decided to raffle off a two year lease on a Mini-
Cooper. The cost of each ticket is $100. Now with the auction
only a few weeks away the women running the raffle announced
that not enough tickets had been sold. (So far they have sold
160, bringing in $16,000 for the school.) They clain they
needed to sell 400 tickets or $40,000 dollars worth. (For the
number of students at our school that would mean each parent
would have to buy 3 or 4 tickets spending $300 to $400.
What they also announced was that the item was not donated,
they are purchasing it, and 10% of the proceedes goes toward
the lease of the car. (I'm more than a little miffed about
that.) If I purchased 4 tickets, $40 of the $400 I donated
would go to the leasing company. I would think ALL of the
money I donated would go directly to the school.
I'm wondering if this is a standard practice for school
auctions? At other schools do they take money from the
donations to buy a raffel or auction items?
My second question is a legal one. Some of the parents saying
this is bait and switch because the women running the raffel
never said a certain number of tickets had to be sold or a
percentage of the ticket sales/donations would not go to the
school. After selling 160 tickets and collecting $16K they
want to switch prizes. (The parent's club is a non-profit
Does anyone know if they can do this legally?
Any ideas on what to do?
our public school (madera) had a very strict policy that all
items were to be donated. period. i was on the committee for a
couple of years and i remember this issue coming up around
someone wanting to be paid a set amount for paul mcCartney
concert tix and even tho it would have been a potential money
maker we said no.
of course this was about five years ago and i'm
hoping that nothing has changed.
there is so much pressure around these fundraisers
and i really don't think that parents should feel pushed into
buying this stuff, espically when the item is not really
donated. the committee needs to set a firm policy.
a former pta fundrasing maniac
This raffle plan is at best unethical, it seems to me, and
quite possibly illegal. I have participated in auction
planning at two different private schools, and each school has
managed at least once to get a car DONATED to the auction --
the car is given away regardless of the number of tickets sold.
hoping you get your money back
First, I think it's helpful to get some perspective here before
geting ''mad'' or being critical of those organizing the event.
These parents are volunteers working hard to make money for
your child's school so he/she can have programs the district
won't fund, like art & music. It's a really hard job, involving
literally thousands of decisions. The people running this event
agonize over every decision (believe me, I've run one) & do
their utmost to make the best ones possible for the school.
Keep this in mind, particularly if you're not chairing a
committee or volunteering, before you feel free to criticize.
As to the car lease, school auctions sometimes do this. My
school did not due to uncertainty re ticket sales. Still, it
was not an unreasonable decision for them to make & their
hearts were clearly in the right place. You are right that
they should have disclosed the need to sell a certain number of
tickets in the literature. They made a mistake but didn't
commit a mortal sin. Give them a break. Now, they can either
refund the ticket prices & tell the dealership they could not
sell enough or try to sell more. They seem to be trying the
second option. It's hard to say what the right answer is.
The important thing is that this glitch not drag down the whole
event. After all, the point is to help the kids & everyone
shares that goal. If someone starts to be very critical of the
organizers due to one mistake, it distracts them from making
the event a success and fixing this problem.
Your expectation that the auction committee get everything for
free & every dollar you give go to programs is unrealistic &
unreasonable. Sometimes businesses have a fixed cost but will
give a substantial discount on an item. It's very difficult to
get donations. Try it sometime before you criticize them. The
committee might make a choice to pay a fixed cost because there
is a big upside for the school. Also, there are costs of the
event, food, rentals, decorations, mailings, printing. The
money you spend on items is partially used to pay those
expenses. This is no different.
Running an event like this is a full time job & full of
headaches. Insted of being irate and hurting the event, try to
create positive energy around the event. Accept people's good
efforts & intentions even if they made a decision that turned
out not to be best, knowing they made 1000 right decisions
along the way.
Take a walk in their shoes
I think the parents running the raffle (raffles sell tickets as chances to
have bidding) are taking a very creative approach to fundraising. From
wrote, it sounds like the lease will cost them $4000. (10% of their
$36,000 profit is terrific! I don't think you can expect a car dealership
to donate a 2
year lease, and 90% profit is very high. Even at the $16,000 they have
sold so far,
they'll have a $12,000 profit (75%), also not bad, but obviously not the
have in mind. ALL fundraisers cost money to put on- 100% never goes to
If you have a different idea, join the committee next year, and give your
suggestions. Meanwhile, it is your choice to buy the raffle tickets or
you feel guilty not contributing more, but can't be the concern of the
My child's school does an auction, I imagine they all so some
form of fundraising. I really don't understand why you are so
upset? The money goes indirectly to YOUR child. ''Legally'',
come on, do you really think they were trying to rip you off.
I agree it was unrealistic to expect that many people to buy a
raffle ticket and if this was a company that hired people with
experience and was to make a profit, I think you have a point
but really, I doubt this was a malicious act to bait and switch
you. Next year, join the auction committee at the school to
come up with some better ideas.
I work in the Development department of a local private school, so perhaps
give some perspective here.
Your post seems to ask two questions: 1) Is it ethical to purchase items
raffle rather than rely on donations? 2) Can the raffle organizers legally
1) In a perfect world, businesses would be lining up to donate to
fundraisers, but $4,000 donations from businesses are certainly few and
between where I work. It's a common practice, and entirely legal, for a
purchase an item (often at a discount) and then offer it as an auction or
For instance, many travel agencies or outfitters will agree to donate one
ticket if the
organization purchases a second; the organization can then offer a ''trip
You get the idea.
As a previous poster pointed out, all of these fundraisers have a certain
overhead (for site rental, food, bidding software if it's an online
auction, etc); this is
no different. That said, most raffles and auctions NET enough money to
make a real
difference for students. $12,000 will go a long way.
The only to make sure that 100% of your donation goes into the school's
budget is to write a check directly to the school. (Do they have some kind
fund?) I guarantee you they will be very happy. You'll get a tax
2) As to your question about whether it is legal to switch prizes, I
checked the web
site of the National Association of Independent Schools, which has some
thorough information about auctions and raffles, and they did not address
specific issue. However, I do know that the IRS considers raffles to be
chance, even when the proceeds are used for charity, and assumes that
purchasing the tickets with the expectation that they might win something,
The regulations that govern games of chance govern school raffles as well
is why schools can't sell tickets online or even send them through US
why raffle ticket purchases are not tax-deductible), so my educated guess
they can't legally switch prizes. I would strongly recommend that they
talk to a
lawyer before making this change - or, if they can't find a lawyer willing
their services ; ) to call the development departments of a couple of
Please remember that these volunteers are well-meaning, and they are
come up with strategies that will raise a maximum amount of money for your
school. People's good intentions can go awry, but I'm absolutely sure
there are good
intentions at work here. So gentle reminders and kind advice for the
in order here, not harsh criticisms.
I wrote an earlier post about regulations concerning raffles. Since then,
preparing for my own school's raffle and came across the state Attorney
regulations for charitable raffles:
One of the stipulations is that 90% of the money raised in a raffle must
go directly to
the charity (i.e., overhead must be 10% or less). So my guess is that the
of your raffle set the minimum ticket sales level in order to respect this
I hope this all gets sorted out to everyone's satisfaction, and that
nobody loses sight
of the good will behind this effort to raise money for programs that
benefit the kids.
Best of luck to you all.
We are trying to come up with an idea for a class auction
project with little success. While kids' art is a big seller
in Kindergarten, by 8th grade...So we are looking for a project
others might be interested in that would still involve the
students. Any good ideas?
How about an Earthquake kit. Most people don't have one.
Besides the food and water, you need first aid stuff,
flashlights, crank radio, etc. (there's a website with a full
list). Also, one of those special wrenches to turn off your
natural gas is a good addition as well - I don't know anyone
who has one of those.
At our school, the older kids host a babysitting night. It is held at the
school and slots
are sold at the auction for $25 each.
What about auctioning services? 8th graders are old enough and
big enough to be really useful - and families with younger kids
might love to bid for the services of an 8th grader.
Mother's helper, filing help, household help (nothing too
hard), cleaning out a garage, yardwork, a specific project like
sorting out photos and getting them into an album, a kid-
prepared Saturday lunch, loading music on an iPod,
demonstrating how to play a video game (!) - I can think of
lots of things.
(I have a 7th grader who won't willingly help with much, but
he's VERY helpful to other families or at school - he would
probably jump at this kind of thing.)
Set a boundary on the amount of time that is expected, so the
kids are not worked too hard, and have them juice up the
descriptions - they would certainly be involved in all angles
Kind of a more sophisticated school car wash, I guess.
hope that helps.
Hi folks, I'd like to hear from people who have been involved with
fundraisers at their childrens' schools. I am looking for ideas to raise
funds for my son's coop. I'm only aware of the rummage sales and
school fairs that I see advertised a lot. Anything else?
We are going to copy another preschool's idea that they have
been doing for about 5 years. Last year they made $7,000 with
just this fundraiser. They get together with a local nursery
and pre-order hanging flower baskets for Mother's Day. They
buy them for $15-$20 and sell for $35-$40. A large percentage
of people buy flowers for Mom so this works out. After such a
successful fundraiser, they don't have to do anymore during the
Idea #2: All parents of the preschool are required to go around
town and get 2-3 items donated to the preschool. (Bottle of
wine, gift certifcate, bed and breakfast, etc.) Sell raffle
tickets for $5.00 each. All items are free and you can make
$500 just selling 100 tickets.
Advice: Don't do the wrapping paper thing. We tried and it was
so embarrasing to sell. Also try and stay away from food items
(pizza discount cards, Krispy Kreme). Seems people don't
really buy very many of them because they are such a good
deal. What are you going to do with 20 dozen Krispy Kremes???
trying to make moolah for the kids
Some ways to help raise money is to consider hosting an evening party
that has some food (appetizers and beverages) and have a silent
auction. People and families may donate items or activities that can be
auctioned off. Beyond those connected directly to the preschool who
can make the connections to donate something are groups and
organizations who would be more than willing to donate things. Have
parents go to the zoo, bowling alley, ice skating rink, restaurants, beauty
salons (Mom's pampering time), wine seller, gift certificates at a book
store or a music/video store, you name it. Go to these groups and
organizations and ask for a donation. The preschool may need to give
some paperwork (not for profit or for profit status.) Plan for a social
evening. Make sure that the invitations go beyond just the families. To
help make the silent auction go well. Make sure that the starting bids
begin below market price because the emphasis is to get donations.
Also have a variety of items or offers with a price range available for
everyone (a few items starting at $5 or $10 and move right on up the
scale). Be careful not to overprice and be careful not to underprice.
Include in the evening some type of entertainment-- musicians, DJ and
dance space, a dance lesson...something. Enough to keep people
around and not enough to keep people away from the auction.
Another idea that can be used with the silent auction and separate from
is some artwork by the kids that can be put on a card and sold as a pack
for X amount. This is great if you can get the word out. Maybe a coffee
place or some store can help get the cards out there.
Thinks about Fundraisers
My daughter attends a co-op preschool and we are always
searching for new ideas for fund raising. We are already using
Schoolpop and eScrip. Last year our school also held a Holiday
gift-wrap sale and sold wine with the labels decorated by the
kids. In the spring, the school held an auction with the items
donated by the co-op families. I would appreciate any other
ideas that have proven helpful in raising funds for schools.
Big money earners for our co-operative pre-school have been a
silent auction. Businesses and families donated items and we
raised approx $10,000.00 with approx 35 families attending.
Our rummgae sale also raises approx $3000.00
Spirit wear clothing with the school logo on tee shirts,
sweatshirts, fleece sleeveless jackets also raises approx
We also do the art plates, cups, bags etc and child art cards
which raises about $500.00
Hope this helps.
Our preschool is constantly running fundrasers and I would
like to hear about your favorite fundraiser that brought in a lot
of money, was fun and easy to organize. So far we have
done a movie night, t-shirts for the school, trike-a-thon,
candy sales, bake sales, painting tiles etc. Thanks in
Our best fund raisers have been a rummage sale (we do this
every 2 years so thats there's masses of stuff) and our silent
auction. For the auction we write to all the local businesses
and ask for donations as well as encourage families to
contribute anything from a babysitting night, gift baskets
(this year I am putting together a Trader Joes romance basket)
to vacation rentals in Tahoe. The evening of the auction is
very social - potluck at someones home (could be at your
My children's montessori school is a privately-owned corporation.
They have two campuses and
several hundred children. We love the school and our kids really
enjoy it there. The problem is that they spend an inordinant
amount of time pressuring parents to engage in volunteer work and
fundraising activities for the school. They send home multiple
reminders EVERY WEEK about the need for parents to engage in
fundraising. Parents are expected to provide 20 hours of work per
year or be charged a $200 fee. Parents are expected to sell
raffle tickets, collect soup labels, and contribute work hours to
fundraising events. There are many other demands and fees as well.
They conduct their fundraising activities thru their PTA but the
funds are earmarked for new playground equipment and emergency
supplies (despite the fact that they've already charged us a fee
for an ''emergency kit''). The PTA meetings are run and controlled
by the school management. After looking into ''normal'' PTA
activities, I've learned that PTAs are supposed to be separate
entities from the school and their finances must be kept separate
from the school and the school employees. They're tracked by the
IRS and if the PTA doesn't qualify as a non-profit, then the
money raised is taxable.
Our previous daycare had a once-a-year fundraiser that we
enthusiastically participated in and donated money to but they
were a non-profit and the money went to things that were above
and beyond the call of duty, rather than normal capital
expenditures. This school appears to be very successful and
lucrative for its owners, who contribute little or no time to the
running of the school. Is it common for for-profit schools to
expect this of parents or is this school just scamming us for
free money? I like the school but I hate feeling like I'm being
''played.'' Do I have a right to refuse to participate?
I was similarly annoyed with my kids montessori pre-school. My wife and
I both work full-time, so we simply paid the extra $200 and then ignored
most of the rest of the fund-raising pleas. Now that we're in a great
Oakland public elementary school, we're very supportive of all
fund-raising activitied, but I agree that a private school should just
up their fees by $500 / year or whatever if they feel they need the
money. I hated writing them a big check every month and then feeling
like they were always wanting more and more.
Also annoyed, but put up with it.
Our daughter attends a Montessori preschool in Alameda. I was
asked to chair the fundraising committee and agreed to because I
had a feeling if I didn't no one would (this actually happened
last year). I have no experience fundraising and generally don't
like it.. but I am trying. The school has a set of fundraising
traditions and I have implemented the fall ''traditions'' but want
to encourage the administration and school community to think
outside the box for spring. Our two main fundraisers are 2
carnival-type events (food prepared by families, sold along with
entertainment) and they are an incredible about of work to pull
off for what feels to me like modest return. We just made $3,500
or our fall event but if I calculate how much time it took to
organize and how much families spent preparing food, donating
other items, I just don't think it's the most efficient
fundraiser. And the same event last year made only $400 (even
though I wasn't involved in organizing that event last year I
almost cried when I found out how little was earned). We have
about 70 families--- a small subset that are
probably quite comfortable economically, some in the middle who
have professional salaries but still struggling in the Bay Area,
and that a good proportion who are renters (which I have to admit
makes me assume money is tighter). So expecting a lot of families
to donate more than about $50 at a time feels uncomfortable to
me. I read some posts about fundraising in elementary schools,
but only saw public schools discussed. Since families are already
paying what probably feels like a lot for tuition, and many are
of modest means to moderate means, I worry about innundating them
with too many requests. Thanks for any suggestions.
First of all, thank you for heading up the fundraising. As a parent and board
member on our daycare's board I really applaud you. I know it's not easy.
Last year we did a raffle and made $2,000. We are a 24-family center. It was hard to
ask the community to donate prizes, but we did it. We are in gourmet ghetto so we
had some really wonderful prizes and that helped a lot. I also donated a lot of gift
certificates I had lying around, to Rivoli and to the Claremont, etc.
Asking the parents to sell the tickets was hard, but some parents sold them, some
parents bought their own tickets.
We also did some grant writing and a couple of years got money from every child
Hope that helps.
It seems to me that you need to first identify the purpose of
the fundraising -- is it to augment the school? Buy new
equipment? Fund scholarships? Once you do that, it is easier to
enlist people's support and interest, if they know what the
money is going to.
I think a good school fundraiser has to hit several marks --
not only should it make money, it should do so without being
overly stressful and time intensive for the volunteers, it
should support either the goal of the school or the building of
community, and it should offer people something they want, or
make their life more convenient in some way.
A Holiday Book Fair is a good example -- supports learning,
allows people to do holiday shopping and benefit their school.
Working on it with other parents is a great way to get to know
each other and build community.
Google ''preschool fundraising'' and you'll get a ton of ideas.
There are also websites where you can order t-shirts and logo
items to benefit the school without requiring a lot of effort
on your part -- cafepress.com is one. There are also sites that
will put children's artwork on note cards and calendars for
gift giving (don't know the names of any offhand -- try Google.)
a fundraising vet
I absolutely feel that you are on the right path. I see it over and over again - schools
plan MORE fundraisers instead of strategically focusing on the bottom line with ONE
successful fundraiser. I feel, as parents we have to just say no - especially to those
candy and wrapping paper sales in which the fundraising companies make all of the
money. The first question is to ask - what is the goal? If your fundraisers make just
about $4,000 per year, why don't they just charge $4.76 per month per family
instead of having the parents spend their precious time on fundraisers. If you would
like more training on STRATEGIC fundraising events, I would like to suggestion a
class that I am teaching again this spring at Chabot Community College in Hayward
called ''How to Plan Wildly Successful Events.'' The catalog isn't out yet, but look for
the class online next month at http://www.chabotcollege.edu/ComEd/. It will most
likely be three, Wednesday nights in February.
I'm wondering what other folks' opinions are about Silent Auctions
as school fundraisers. The subject has come up several times at my
daughter's school, and it is regularly dismissed because of the
fear of alienating parents who can't afford to compete
(financially) in the auction process. What do you think of them as
fundraisers? And do they really alienate folks who don't have the
money to compete, or are we being too oversensitive? (We also do a
raffle, and I've been thinking that it could be fun if done in
conjunction with the raffle, and as long as the most coveted
raffle prizes remain raffle prizes.)
I read your post and that is a perspective that I never looked
at but find interesting. My child's school also has a major
fundraiser evening that is to benefit those who receive
financial aid from the school. Since I am one of those who
receives aid I think it is fabulous. Although I can't afford to
buy a ticket, or pay to find childcare for the evening and
certainly can't afford to participate in the auction-(which is
the main focus of the evening) I think I indeed do feel
alienated. It is weird though since it benefits a cause that I
directly benefit from (I'd never complain). It would be nice to
feel a part of this event though--but thinking now I could
probably get someone to take care of my kids but nevertheless I
would absolutely NOT be able to bid on anything. Don't get me
wrong even though I can't afford a ticket I send a $20
contribution to say that I appreciate the efforts and support
them too. That's cool that your school is thinking of all people
and how they may have something that ALL people can particpate
We have attended silent auctions a different schools we have
been affiliated with. My husband and I earn far less than many
of the other families in attendance, but have not felt
allienated. I think that there are some reasons why:
1) There were many auction items at all different financial
levels. Everything from trips to exotic locations to prepaid
2) We went in knowing that we wouldn't be able to compete for
some of the big items (especially the ''class items'' since the
rich parent's go crazy bidding for the memorabilia) and so we
didn't have our hearts set on them, and frequently didn't bother
to bid on them.
I think it is a good way to raise money for a school...
personally I have never paid more than the market value of the
items I purchased so I didn't feel ripped off and the school
made money since the item was donated. I guess the most
important thing for the auction commitee to keep in mind is to
solicit donations for things people would really want, and to
have lots of tille items, not just the big ticket ones.
lower middle income family with upper income school connections
Our daughter attends a private school and they have auctions
that cost $40 or more per person to attend. We receive
financial aid and are definitely on the poorer side in this
school, although we are middle class. I have to say that even
though we can't afford to attend these auctions and
celebrations, and I sometimes wish we could go, on the whole I
am glad that they are raising their money from the richer folks
who can afford it and not raising tuition any higher!
If I were in public school, I think I would feel the same way.
Even though we couldn't afford to go to the fancy fundraising
events, I would be glad to have them if they funded activities
that my child could participate in.
Perhaps if you made it very clear where the money was going,
say to an after-school sports or music program where there
would be no cost to the child, people would understand the
benefits and be willing to miss the event without feeling bad.
in favor of fundraising
Our preschool has fundraisers like this -- the stuff isn't too
expensive in general -- it's the children's art
work/projects ... but I don't believe this alienates parents.
Obviously the parents who can afford it, will participate, and
those who can't or even parents who don't want won't. This types
of events are probably becoming more essential to schools since
there isn't much funding for schools these days. If parents feel
alienated perhaps they need to examine why they feel this way
without blaming the school for ''making'' them feel this way.
My children's pre-school holds a raffle/silent auction every
year - and we raise close to $30,000. Many of the parents are
hard-pressed to pay the tuition to the school, but we've never
had complaints about the auction. We are sure to let parents
know that the money is going to provide more/better materials
and services to their children.
The auction itself is a low-key afternoon family event, so
everyone is included and there's no need for parents to hire
babysitters. Auction items range from extravagent to
practical. You can bid thousands of dollars on a time share in
Maui or spend far less on something you need or would use anyway
(local family-friendly restaurants for example). Also, many
parents participate by donating goods and services to the
auction (babysitting services; soup of the month delivered to
your door, etc.)
Yes, I do get a sense of ''sticker shock'' when I see the
suggested bid prices for auction items at Silent Auction
fundraisers (our child's preschool, our other child's Berkeley
public school, plus the church we attend). I'd like to
participate in supporting our schools' (and church)
fundraisers, but our family budget is tight so we can't really
afford ''extras'' like bidding on auction items thrice in one
However, we still feel we can participate in the fundraising
process...there are some families (with time or skill) who are
able to show their support by contributing or soliciting
goods/services for the auction, and there are some families
(with cash) who are able to show their support by bidding on
auction items. We are a family who is able to contribute a
professional service as an auction item to these fundraiser
events. Next year, if I plan ahead, I can make a craft item
for auction at one or more of these fundraisers.
I think it is important for a school silent auction committee
to stress that families are contributors when they can donate
an item or service, or are able to solicit goods/services from
a local business--it's not just the families who spend money at
the auction who are valued. Our son's preschool auction
committee encourages creativity, so handmade items or personal
services such as hand-knitted sweaters, beaded jewelry,
homemade jam, hosted ethnic food dinners or consulting services
become coveted silent auction items.
The only downside is that by late May, our family suffers from
post-fundraiser fatigue from participating in these annual
A contributing family
I think it all depends on the way it's presented. If it's
really fancy, with a high ''cover'' charge, it can seem to be
just for the wealthier folks. However, most of the silent
auctions I've attended have a wide variety of offerings,
including small gift certificates for local merchants, etc. I
think people - even those with relatively little money - might
not mind spending money they would have spent anyway (for video
rental, bagels, pizza, etc.). If there is a silent auction, I
would suggest having it a part of a larger (free or inexpensive)
gathering a brunch, school concert, etc.). Nobody is required
to bid, but everyone can mill around looking at the offerings.
Be sure to encourage your own community (parents, etc.) to
contribute items or services to be auctioned. Someone with
little money might offer a few hours of babysitting, or a batch
of home-baked cookies. Be inclusive!
Our school does a silent auction as a fundraiser. It's
incorporated into a party every year. I think it's a great
idea. I know there are people who spend a lot more at the
auction than I do, and I'm sure there are lots of people who
just attend the party, ''window shop'' to see what's available
and don't end up bidding on anything, but who would know? Of
course, the school administration could pay close attention to
who's contributing what, if that matters to them, but I've
never felt any pressure to contribute past my comfort level.
As far as I'm concerned, the school makes money and we all
contribute at the level we're comfortable with.
An Auction Fan
My daughter's preschool has a silent auction each year (this
year they combined a silent and live auction into a single
event). There are items that we absolutely cannot afford to
bid on, but we still enjoy the event. They auction off very
inexpensive items ($20 gift certificate to a local merchant, for
example) as well as expensive items (jewelry, art work, and
so on) that are absolutely out of our league. There is
something for everyone, and part of the fun is watching
people go crazy and try to outbid each other. I have never felt
''left out'' or that I could not participate, simply because we
do not have the money to bid on the expensive items. I find
the whole event a blast, and enjoy spending an evening with
other parents, looking at all of the beautiful items being
My son's public school has a silent auction every year and it brings in
tens of thousands of dollars. It is a lot of work on the part of volunteers,
but totally worth it monetarily. As to the issue of exclusivity, that is a
touchy subject. Our auction happens at the same time as our all day
walkathon, so we do not charge an admission fee, parents don't have to
worry about babysitting (because it isn't adults only), and we have tons
of lower priced items, including restaurant gift certificates, handmade
items from the parents and so on. We also have many big-ticket items
that do well, but the breadth of items offered really helps everyone feel
like they can participate. We have discussed moving our auction to an
admission-based, evening, adult-only affair (because those tend to
bring in more money), but we are afraid of just what you said: alienating
the families that can't afford to participate. Our current method raises
decent money and gets everyone involved.
We've had both raffles and Silent Auctions at our elementary
school and preschool. I love the Silent Auction concept,
because it's not high pressure, and I think for that reason, it
doesn't matter if someone does not participate. We had great
items that were auctioned off too - a kindergarten teacher did
a night of board games & cookies & milk (so really like a night
of babysitting) - which went for a high amount as each student
wanted their teacher for some one on one time! And she also
had an item where six children came to her house all afternoon
and ''prepared'' a dinner for the parents. There was a
progressive dinner hosted by the principal and PTA, local
store/restaurant/spa/educational things, and also spots on a
school kickball team (played against the teachers at the end of
year picnic). So lots of fun things, as well as practical
items. Then at the end of the night, there was a live auction
for the ''class'' items for auction. Each class of students made
something for the auction (mostly beautiful personalized
quilts) and these items went for high prices, and were
extremely personal and touching. Each Room Parent coordinated
one donation to the auction as well from all the parents - like
a game basket, movie basket, etc... Good luck...with some
organization and effort, it can be very successful!
Silent Auction Buyer
Until last year, my children attended a public charter school
that used a silent auction as a big part of its extra curricular
fundraising. I was totally alienated by this event and felt that
it further polarized the parents' class differences. So I am
one of the parents who would indeed feel left out if my
children's current public school chose to institute a silent
auction. I am aware of how popular these events have
become, and how successful they are at raising money.But,
in my opinion (albeit a very sensitive opinion ), what it boils
down to is a competition over who
can donate the most money and then who ends up with the
most goodies. I guess I feel like this because I could never
bid on any of the more expensive items, and even on the
cheaper items the whole goal is to raise money for a worthy
cause, so why would one take delight in getting a bargain? I
would much rather that the more monetarily wealthy among
us would just make anonymous donations to such worthy
causes as our financially strapped public schools. In fact, in
an effort to encourage the participation of all people, my
chidren's previous school even included items for auction
that I found offensive --- like special time for some children
with the kindergarten teacher, doing something special. So
the children who had parents who were fortunate enough to
have more money to donate, could spend more quality time
with the teacher! How might other children, not included in
this feeI? I think that silent auctions run counter to the spirit
of public schools and I hope that my children's current
school will stick with their raffle as a major fundraising
Sensitive ( to class differences)
Hi - I see you already received a number of good posts in
response to your question, but I thought that I'd add a few
comments. My two sons attend public schools in Pleasanton. We
became acquainted with the ''annual auction'' as a fundraiser
since we've moved here from Berkeley a few years ago. Usually,
these events combine both a ''silent auction'' component
where ''class theme packages'' and donated goods (such as a cabin
stay, a massage at a local spa, a gift certificate to a local
specialty store) are displayed for folks to browse about and
sign up on sheets before the dinner portion of the evening. For
me, this was fine, since it allowed parents to wander about,
mingle as they browsed, and was very low pressure. Sure, if
someone decided to bid something up by going back to a table
repeatedly, this could happen, but it wasn't too noticeable and
it was all congenial. The part of these functions which turned
me off after attending only two ''auction nights'' was the live
auction portion of the evening, usually right after the dinner.
A professional auctioneer was hired, and this auctioneer was
generally given free reins by the event coordinators to ''bid
people up'' at any cost. I found that it became a very
competitive, rather show-off situation where people became
louder and more ridiculous, while the auctioneer trotted out the
most chauvinistic and demeaning remarks to goad people into
bidding higher. ''Ok, so the little lady holds the pursestring,
does she? And won't let you bid higher on this basketball signed
by Kobe Bryant? C'mon, men, show them who's boss!!'' Or, ''She
just dropped out of the bidding? Well, I know what neighborhood
she lives in, and she can certainly afford more than that bid
tonight. Give it up!'' My husband and I got up and left after
sticking it out for an hour of this, somehow. Clearly we could
not bid with these folks, we had done our duty, and it was far
from an enjoyable event for us. On top of that, as one other
person astutely pointed out, some of the items being raffled
were ''special time'' with teachers. And while that is VERY nice
of the teachers to donate their private time and resources, it
does imply that only those whose parents are well-endowed are
entitled to one-on-one time with a favorite teacher. The one
example of this which REALLY disappointed me was that the school
in question auctioned off ''Be a principal for the day'' to the
highest bidder. And when the bidding went high enough, the event
coordinators decide to cash in on the excitement and double the
offering to two families. So when the children were interviewed
later in the year for the school newspaper, both kids said they
liked their stint as principal ''because everyone noticed us and
I felt very powerful''. Needless to say, I wrote a letter to the
event coordinators and the principal suggesting that this was
not the best way to re-inforce the touted values of the school
district that year of ''character, caring, integrity''; that
perhaps a better way to choose who would be principal for a day
would be an act of kindness and caring, rather than $$$ tossed
out by parents. I suggested another format for fund-raising, but
apparently the ''auction night'' is so successful and so engrained
by now in some school districts that they don't dare drop it.
Excuse the rambling on, but wanted to share my experiences with
Looking for a better way
I would really appreciate feedback on the following issue. My senior son
has been on a Berkeley High School sports team throughout hs. This team relies for the
bulk of its $ from fundraising - it gets VERY little from the school district.
Once a year there is a major fundraiser, which includes our having to
come up with a list of at least 20 names to solicit. I am self-employed,
performing a service for a stable regular clientele in their homes, many of
whom have been my clients for years. These are really the only people I
know who have money to spare. However, for the past three years I have
never solicited from them because it just didn't seem right. I've never
really been clear about this though and if I get a response that most
people think it's ok to solicit from my clients (most of whom have met my
son but don't really know him) then I'll do so this year. What do folks
think? Especially those who have a service worker coming to their home
on a regular basis - would you be offended if that person solicited $ from
you for their child's sports team? Is it appropriate?
I think that it is a very bad idea. I certainly would not
appreciate being solicited in this way (I don't appreciate any
solicitations). Also, I don't think that it would be good for your
business relationship with your clients--personal stuff (like
your son's school activities) should be kept separate from
Finally, I don't think that it is a good idea for BHS to
encourage its students to use soliciation as a means to
obtain money for their athletics. I think that the kids should
be encouraged to EARN money and use their own money to
fund their extra-curricular athletics. And if the parents think it
is important, they should support the activities themselves.
And if you think that the activities should be part of the
curriculum (i.e. paid for by the school district) then you
should get together with like-minded parents, teachers,
students etc. and use political means (voting, lobbying, etc.)
to obtain what you want.
I think you may risk losing your clients. I find it very
uncomfortable when people solicit for their children's
fundraising either by selling things or just asking for money.
Other people may feel differently, but I don't like being
forced to buy candies that I never eat, or just plainly being
put in a situation where I feel I HAVE TO give money. I would
encourage your son to offer some type of services to people and
then get paid for it rather than just asking people for money.
It will make him even more appreciate what he gets to do with
his hard earned money. As a parent, I don't feel comfortable
asking other people to pay for my children's causes, especially
without offering anything in return. I think parents need to be
aware that others may not share the same interest in their own
children. Being solicited constantly by other people can be
pretty annoying. I would keep the professional relationships as
they are, professional.
Personally, I don't like soliciting my contacts this way, especially since
these fundraising outfits take such a big percentage. I figure out what the
bottom-line fundraising goal is and then write a check for what I think is
my fair share.
I personally would have no problem donating to a child's
fundraising, particularly if I had met the child and if I felt I
knew the parent fairly well (i.e., if the parent helped me at my
home on a regular basis).
No, I don;t think it's a good idea to ask your clients for donations
because it could put them in an uncomfortable position. However,
I did want to correct the perception other people had about how
and why kids on these teams raise money.
A popular way to raise money for high school sports is
to require everyone on the team to write 10 letters to family and
friends asking for outright donations of cash. I have seen this
in lacrosse and crew at Berkeley High, and also at a preschool
one child attended. I think the idea is that
every family has a few relatives or close friends who can afford
to donate something. This method is always used in
addition to other fundraising strategies such as car washes.
Typically, each kid is given 10 fill-in-the-blank letters and 10
envelopes and told to fill them out and bring them back in.
The first time I heard
about it was when my sister called me from out of state to ask me how
much she should send. My kid had collected addresses from my
address book without me knowing! I was embarassed! Since then,
we have received them on a regular basis from the children of
friends and business associates as far away as LA. The reason why
the teams do this is because sports like lacrosse and crew are
not supported by the schools, and the equipment is expensive.
For BHS lacrosse, the equipment for one kid was $600-$800. There
are trips every week all over the Bay Area for 40 or 50 kids, and
if they are any good, regional and state games that require plane
fare and food and accommodation for all the kids. The coaches
salaries are not always paid by the school and must come from
donations or fees that the students pay to play the sport.
If these teams don't
raise money to cover these costs, then only the rich kids can play. At
BHS there are a lot of poor kids, and no one is ever turned away
who wants to play. So the money has to come from somewhere. These
letters raised more money than any other method when my son was
playing lacrosse and that's why they send them out. So now, I send
money sometimes and sometimes I ignore. If I were you I would not
hand them out to clients. On the other hand, most parents of
school-aged kids have seen these letters or have been hit up for
other items, and they will not be offended, and will feel free to
hit *you* up when their kid starts fundraising.
this page was last updated: May 18, 2014
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