Frustrated by fundraisers

Filed under: Preschoolers, Childcare, Day Care & Education

I had no sooner entered the preschool parents' orientation when I was hit with information about school fundraisers. There was a donut sale in the fall, artwork orders during the holiday season, and an auction in the spring. Oh, and the monthly pizza night at a local restaurant (10% of proceeds donated) and the Scholastic book sales that benefit the school. It's all for a good cause, for sure, but it also seems like a bit much.

Let me be clear that I have no problem supporting the school. It's a wonderful school, and I'm more than willing to invest in education for my daughter and her peers. It's the fundraising that doesn't make sense to me.

We opted out of the donut sales in the fall. Most of our friends are trying to eat more healthfully, and it didn't seem right to up their cholesterol tests just to make a small profit for the school. We made an equivalent donation instead and felt like it was the right call.

Now, the spring auction has come up, and I'm frankly perplexed by the whole idea. We've been asked to donate items for themed baskets -- gift certificates, sports tickets, and other goodies. Once the baskets are assembled, with gifts that parents have paid for, they'll be put up for auction at an event attending mostly by -- you guessed it -- parents.

So let me get this straight: I buy a $20 gift certificate to contribute to the basket, then I pay twice that at the auction. This doesn't seem like the best idea to maximize profits and participation. In fact, it seems a little stupid.

Parents are the people paying tuition AND the people targeted for fundraisers. I have a crazy idea: how about the school just charges a little more each month, and we skip all the fundraising nonsense? We're on a budget just like everyone else, but an extra $20 a month would be doable, especially since we're going to end up paying that much or more via fundraising participation anyway.

Do you fundraise for your children's school? Do you like it or dread it? Have you found any creative solutions to this conundrum?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.