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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

How to combat school fundraiser fatigue



Just like we complain that the Christmas decorations come out earlier every year in stores, the same is true of the school fundraisers. The mom_schoolfundraiser.jpgminute that first bell rings, the race is on get your kid's coupon book or catalogue or chocolate bars on the market before your neighbors or co-workers flood the 'hood with fundraisers of their own. In my family, you can practically hear the tires squealing as we try to be the first to arrive at soft-touch Grandma's house. And it's not just school, it's soccer teams and preschools and the band boosters and Boy Scouts.

Even though we all know the schools or the sports clubs need the money, I can't help but sense we are also sick of it. Should we blame ourselves for not pressing our legislators to fully fund our schools? Should we blame the fundraising companies for filling the need that parents are too busy to do themselves?

I sent an email to our PTA prez to remind her that in the past, they have said if parents donate a certain amount (I think it was $35) they would still make their fundraising goal and their kid would get a small prize. I told her how a lot of the parents at our open house night loved that idea because A) the school gets all the money instead of splitting it with some company and B) we all have neighbors and co-workers trying to sell stuff too and C) this is a tough economy to sell stuff in.

I'm not sure if a minimum is even needed. You might find people are more generous if they don't have some bookmarked amount to reach.

Another strategy is setting up some challenges. Ask the principal if there's any incentive the school can offer. At my older son's school, the principal offered to let us skip a required meeting in December if we had 100 percent participation in PTA. So a $5 membership gets you out of a meeting during the busiest month of the year. A $20 donation to PTA gets you 4 memberships and might make up for any slackers who don't join. Some schools challenge it by grade, offering an ice cream party or a homework pass to the class with 100 percent participation.

Are there other ways to add a spoonful of sugar to this painful fundraising medicine?

~ Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Monday, September 6, 2010 11:26am]


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