School Fundraising Etiquette

As we journey into the world of public education, I’ve been bracing myself for the near-constant fundraising.  Before school even started, we had received requests for direct donations of over $400 per child for the PTA and the school’s private Music and Technology Foundation.  Add to it a non-direct fundraiser for school supplies and a new notice for a Walk-a-Thon next month, I’m quickly realizing that fundraising at school is never ending.  I’m just waiting for the Wrapping Paper drive in November, the Cookie Dough drive in the Winter, and the Who Knows What Else They’ll Come Up With Drive in the Spring.

Coming from a private school, many would assume that we’ll just write another check.  But the reason we moved our son from private to public was mainly financial.  We simply could no longer afford it.  To shell out over $500 before school even started was not an option for us. And gauging from the weekly stalking reminders we get from the school about how they haven’t met their fundraising targets, I’m guessing it’s not an option for many of the families here.

Our school holds an annual Walk-a-Thon every Fall.  It’s a direct drive where 100% of the pledge money goes back to the school (with a small cut for prizes).  I like that more of my money is going to directly to the school rather than to a third party company who gives a minor cut back to the school in exchange for free, pint-sized salesmen.  My son is bound and determined to get $50 in pledges to get a free t-shirt.  But he has to work within my boundaries.

  • No selling to the neighbors (afterall, those kids go to the same school)
  • No asking mom or dad to post on Facebook
  • No asking coaches for pledges (those guys are volunteer coaches or get paid peanuts)
  • No standing in front of the grocery store

So basically that limits him to pitching for pledges to our family.  We’re going to a family barbeque next week where he can bring along his pledge form and a family birthday party (for an adult) where he can hit up a different group of adults.  I’ve told him that I expect him to be able to do all the selling on his own.  That means he has to be able to:

  • Initiate the conversation
  • Look the adult in the eye and explain what the Walk-A-Thon is, when it is, and what it benefits (in this case, the $$ goes to music and technology programs)
  • Ask nicely – with a please – if they would like to pledge
  • If they do, explain that they can sponsor you per lap or as a flat fee
  • Let them know when you’ll be collecting the money (ie AFTER the Walk-a-Thon is complete)
  • If they don’t, thank them for their time and put the form away.  No sad faces!

 I know my parents will donate, but I’m not sure if anyone else will.  And that’s okay.  I’m sure my son will get another opportunity to sell to his Aunts and Uncles for cash later in the year.

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