The joys of school fundraising

Posted on October 18th, 2011

It’s fall. The air is crisp. Scarecrows and pumpkins decorate doorsteps. And all over the planet small children are going door-to-door. But wait! It isn’t Halloween. No, it’s something worse. Something far more sinister than trick or treaters. It’s something you can’t resist—yet you must.

It’s time for door-to-door fundraising.

Yes, it’s that happy time where every school, athletic club and musical group raises needed funds. One morning your child waves goodbye and boards the bus for school, backpack and lunch in hand. That afternoon, you are greeted by a cookie dough brochure wielding maniac who has to sell approximately $493.00 worth of dough so he can earn a forty-cent alien key chain as his “incentive.”

And it just gets worse.

Right before dinner, the same maniac goes to soccer practice and comes home bearing a box of fifty-two enormous candy bars. If that weren’t bad enough, hidden deep inside the awful box, way below the Kit Kats and the Hershey’s that are larger than most doublewide mobile homes, is a brochure for magazine subscriptions. Heaven help you if your child is in science club, too.

Now in general, there are two different ways to handle this situation. Well, three if you count running around the house screaming and then putting all the brochures and candy bars into the fireplace and having a really chocolatety marshmallow roasting. But I usually don’t count that, because even if you burn the candy, you still have to pay for it. Yes, I speak from experience here.

The first way to handle this situation is to sell the stuff to your neighbors. Yeah, this does sound like the most obvious solution. You dress your kid up in his soccer uniform and coach him thoroughly on how to smile that crooked little smile with the front teeth missing. I once made Junior walk in full pads and football uniform, complete with cleats, to sell some discount card thing that I didn’t even buy from him. Some moms even teach their children the fine art of crying on cue. This comes in handy with neighbors who are dieting and therefore reluctant to purchase mutant peanut butter cups the size of footballs.

The problem with this method is that it only works once. So if your kid isn’t the first in line at the neighborhood doors, you can forget it. By the time a neighbor is juiced up on giant Kit Kat bars, they don’t care how cute your little rugrat is in his uniform—they just want someplace to lie down and wait until the sugar high goes away.

You can try to use this plan on coworkers—but it’s a dangerous gamble. Not only do you have the risks mentioned above, I’ve heard rumors of many promotions that have been denied to moms and dads who sold one too many Hershey bars in their cubicles.

The second method is just to freeze the candy and the dough and recycle the magazines. It’s simple—assuming you are superhuman.  I mean, really, what normal person can walk past a freezer overflowing with Hershey bars and chocolate-chip macadamia nut cookie dough? It’s not possible. Do you know how big a butt I would have if I froze fifty-two Hershey bars? Oh sure, maybe once or twice I could walk past the freezer without surrendering to the siren call of raw cookie dough.  And maybe I wouldn’t eat the entire tub at once. But sooner or later, my freezer would be empty. And my butt would be swathed in quadruple Queen-sized underwear for the rest of my life.

As you can see, neither of those approaches will work for me.

But I think I have a solution. Next year, I propose that all fundraisers stop selling sweets and start selling something useful. Like door-to-door toilet paper sales. Or even door-to-door sales of pet food. Or the really big fundraiser, door-to-door cleaning services. You could purchase, say, an hour of kitchen cleaning or maybe ten minutes of trash emptying.  You could get gift certificates for lawn mowing or weed pulling.

I think it’s brilliant, if I do say so myself.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite solve my dilemma this year. And I need to figure out what to do soon. I’ve heard a nasty rumor that wrapping sales will start in early November. I guess I’d better stock up on quadruple Queen-sized panties. It looks like I’m going to need them. Hershey bar, anyone?

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5 Responses to “The joys of school fundraising”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    I HATE FUNDRAISERS! My daughter brought home the cookie dough & wrapping paper two weeks ago.

    I told her I would take it to work. It sat in the house until the deadline.

    I told her I would give her $5.00 and she can buy the stupid stuffed animal she wanted to win and have money left over.

  2. Laurie Says:

    @Jennifer, LOL. I think we need a fundraiser revolution. But secretly, I do so love the cookie dough.

  3. Gina Says:

    Fundraisers- more like homework/ torture for parents. So far, my kindergartner has sold, cookie dough, raffle tickets, had a school bake sale (8 dozen cupcakes made by mio thank you very much) and an Autum Festival. It is ONLY OCTOBER! I know there are at least 2 more in the works from the school itself. I also get hit up by my neighbors, which yes, they all sell the same stuff, with little variation from sports teams, music programs ,JR ROTC, middle school and a few private school students. I really think these fundraisers should come with a permission slip home first and a waiver. Also, Boy Scout and Girl Scout need to have disclaimer attached to the scouts. I am supportive and do buy items, and yes, i am now known as the neighborhood softie. They literally line up on my steps and drive way with order forms in hand. Good thing it is all tax deductable !

  4. Laurie Says:

    @Gina, Omigod. I cannot believe that they expect all of that. So far, I’ve sponsored a walkathon or two, and had the cookie and wrapping paper kids come by (honestly, I wanted to turn around, stick out my butt and say, “look! I can barely fit through doors as it is, who thinks I NEED more cookie dough?”). Fortunately, Junior’s main fundraiser for his sport won’t be until spring. God help us when the girl scouts start their cookie sales, tho, because Harry is a sucker for them and I end up with ten boxes of thin mints in the freezer :) I am not the neighborhood softie, Harry is.

  5. Marianna Pfarr Says:

    I really love gathering the members of my group and inquiring each a person of them to come back up which has a bunch of new fundraising ideas. Teamwork is basically crucial in the fundraising campaign.

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