Wednesday, September 28, 2011

fundraisers suck (guest blogger: ginger from counting caballeros

today’s guest post is from ginger caballero, author of counting caballeros.  ginger is a stay-at-home-mom and has 4 kids ages 9, 7, 4, and 3.  she has aspirations of being a *paid* author, but for now, she writes for her own enjoyment (and ours). we love her and know that you will too. 



fundraisers *suck*

it is fundraising time at my kids' school again.  crap.  so my kids came in all hyped up from the fundraising kick-off pep rally at school this afternoon ready to take on the world with their little selling kits and product flyers.  I really hated to do it, but i had to crush their little fundraising spirits.  i sat them both down and i taught them something.  the way that the school has represented this fundraiser to my kids, they believe that the world will end if they don't sell at least 10 items and that the prizes are priceless artifacts obtainable only through this contest (when you can buy them by the gross from oriental trading company).  i let them know that at the absolute most, that $12.00 item will earn the school $9.00, that the "rewards" could mostly be bought at the dollar store, and that selling things is *very* hard. (i know, i did it for a living before i had kids.)

fundraising is absolutely one of the most asinine practices in public schools today in my opinion.  there are 2 flyers -- the first one has food items ranging from the $11.00 funnel cake mix to the $18.00 for 5 frozen mini pizzas.  then they have plastic cups.  yes, plastic "tumblers" with regional sports teams on them for $15.00 each.  then on the front of the fundraising packet is a list, complete with enticing photos, of all of the "rewards" given for selling the items.  if you sell one item you get a plastic lei.  yep, ONE plastic lei.  if you sell 5 items you get a pair of neon sunglasses AND a plastic lei.  10 items will get you that lei, the sunglasses, AND a plastic LED flying toy.  20 items gets you all of that AND a light-up rubber ring and a rubber digital watch.  it goes on and on like that until you get to the 80 item level where you can get a remote control helicopter (in addition to all of the cheapo plastic crap from the previous levels).  but if you sell 100 items, you get all that AND an electric drum set.  it keeps going up to an iPad.  you have to sell 500 items to get that though.  so just out of curiosity, i did a little research and came up with the following chart and shared it with my kids to get the point across:

if you sell          worth a minimum of           we'll give you a reward worth a maximum of

     1 item                           $11.00                                                                 $0.15
     5 items                         $55.00                                                                 $0.98
   10 items                       $110.00                                                                 $1.46
   20 items                       $220.00                                                                 $2.78
   30 items                       $330.00                                                                 $4.26
   40 items                       $440.00                                                                 $8.97
   50 items                       $550.00                                                                $13.57
   60 items                       $660.00                                                                $19.96
   70 items                       $770.00                                                                $26.33
   80 items                       $880.00                                                                $58.64
  100 items                   $1,100.00                                                               $93.78
  150 items                   $1,650.00                                                               $263.77
  200 items                   $2,200.00                                                               $317.89
  500 items                   $5,500.00                                                               $816.88

does anyone else see how ridiculous this is??  even if the cost of the items that they're selling have a profit margin that makes selling them in the first place worth the effort, most people do not want the stuff your kids are selling and will gladly give you a fraction of that cost just to get you to leave them alone. i know i would.  my kids are not going to do it.  i am going to tell them that if they want to raise money for the school, they can collect money and turn it in.  i will call their relatives and say "hey, it's fundraising time.  do you want to buy some over-priced crappy food items that you don't really want or give me a $5.00 or $10.00 check per kid made out to the school?"  as far as their "incentive" program, i am going to give my kids $0.15 on the dollar that they raise, and they'll STILL come out better.  and so will the school. 

i get that offering the kids incentives gets them to sell more and that it teaches them that hard work is rewarded, but why don't we give them REAL rewards?  why don't we sell stuff that people want at prices that make sense AND make money for the school?  i think that teaching the kids the value of a dollar (yes, even at the tender age of 5 or 6), AND letting them raise money for their school would be awesome.  but for now, does anyone want some funnel cake mix for $11.00?