The Hateful World of Fundraisers

School has finally gotten underway for everyone, so we should all be in the same boat: fundraisers! I have yet to find a fundraiser that appeals to me. Some are dumber than others (a discount card for 10% off oil changes? Thanks but no). In our elementary school we get the usual fundraiser with a catalog of miscellaneous crap: awful chocolates, hideously expensive wrapping paper (who cares if it’s reversible! Only one side shows!), odd jewelry and various kitchen doo-dads (a special tupperware for half an onion! Because a ziploc isn’t fancy enough for my fridge).

Last year the fundraising people got down and dirty. They decided to give the kids dorky little rubber duck keychains–one for every $10 of products sold. Here’s the catch: there were about a dozen different styles of ducks given away each day, and each day the duck assortment changed. AND the kids were allowed to wear their duck keychains to school on a lanyard during the entire two week period of the fundraiser.

Suddenly my kids were pestering relentlessly: “Today was the cupcake rubber duck and they only have ten of those! Tomorrow they’ll have the vampire rubber duck! I really want the camo rubber duck most of all and maybe they’ll have that on Thursday! Pleeeease mom, can’t we go selling around the neighborhood?”

No. No you may not. Because I don’t think I’m too good to do any job except one: door-to-door peddler. It is not happening. And I sure as heck am not about to buy the stupid junk in that catalog. No way will I write a check for a tacky resin plaque that says “Dance like no one is watching”,  or a polarfleece throw with my dog’s breed embroidered on it.  And this means that my children will be the only ones with no rubber ducks hanging from their little necks, it appears.

So that was last year. This year I thought I would outsmart the school and buy my own assortment of rubber ducks and beat them at their own game. I found them for less than 25¢ a piece online! Oooh, I was so excited for this.

The kids came home last week waving their fundraising packets. “Mom, mom, this is so great!” they exclaimed as they dumped their backpacks in the entry hall. “This year they have rubber frog keychains instead!”

Curses! Foiled again!

| Filed under Bad Things, Kids, School

24 thoughts on “The Hateful World of Fundraisers

  1. I always wish that these fundraisers gave the option of giving a straight out gift. I would much rather give a child $10 to go towards band instruments or whatever it is than buy $10 of crap that is overpriced and have only the smallest portion of that go to the cause. Why hasn’t anyone figured this out?

  2. I’m sick of the brainwashing they do to the kids…If you don’t buy, we can’t get X!! It takes until 5th grade before my kids quit asking me to buy!! Good job on buying the ducks ahead…sucks they changed it!

  3. Look at those fabulous finger nails! Love that polish!

    More to the point – I’m with you on the fundraisers. I swear, they hammer the details of those into the mind of my “scholar” more than his math problems!

  4. Also, can I just say that I hate almost everything I’ve ever bought for one of those fundraisers? The nasty, chemical cookie dough, the awful chocolates, the nasty breakfast breads…no thanks! The only ones I’ve ever liked where when they sold Papa Johns pizza for a frundraiser (delivered hot for dinner a week later!) and this week when they sold sacks of potatoes. Finally, something I’ll actually use!

  5. Who says you can’t simply donate? I’ve been doing that forever. “Sorry, my dear, but I’m on a diet. Will you accept $5 to give to your band (football team, science club, etc) instead? Here, I’ll just seal it in an envelope with your teacher’s name on it, OK? I’m sure you are honest, and won’t steal it from your club, will you? Thanks!”

    I like Arianne’s idea better of a delivered Pizza or a bag of potatoes! Maybe you should write a letter to the principal.

  6. Our daughter’s school fundraisers are pretty good actually. They coordinate with a restaurant and on a specific day and between the hours of such and such, you go and eat and a percentage of it goes to the school. They also do this with grocery stores. However, you could imagine how busy the places can get. Luckily they just did one at Pei Wei and you could order your food to go and eat in the quiet of your own home. Just send your husband to get the food. Of course, your kids will miss out on eating with their teachers and friends but its better than ridiculous stuff from a catalog.

    1. Some of the other schools in the district do this but our doesn’t. I don’t know if we could afford it anyway; taking our kids out to eat is muy expensive. I’d rather just give the school $20 and call it good.

  7. Again, you’ve written exactly what I was thinking. My oldest kids are only in preschool and tomorrow night is intro to fundraising. I’m not going.
    I’ve gotta start me a fundraising business. There’s money in that! Get a bunch of eager, bright eyed kids to do your selling. You don’t have to pay them, only cents on the dollar to their overly grateful little club, and you get to push cheap foreign made crap and take home the real $$.

  8. last year, our school’s incentive was that everyone who sold X amount of stuff got to be picked up from school in a limo and taken out to eat at nasty Cici’s Pizza. it was quite the prize for elementary students, but thankfully my kids weren’t upset when i told them that once again we would not be selling.

    this year, after enough complaints from parents about how annoying it is to sell, they decided to do away with it completely and tell everyone that in exchange, please write a check to the school for a recommended amount per child. it’s so much better because 100% of the money goes to the school vs. a fundraiser where a LOT of it has to go to the company! i was happy to write that check knowing there was no selling!

  9. Uh-huh. My middle schoolers (Leah and Peter) had those same ducks (Peter had an Usher duck, Leah John Lennon) that they wore around their necks on a ribbon and teachers would throw random things at them (some $1 bills for example) if they wore them to school. Leah was bitterly, bitterly disappointed that she did not sell 10 magazines which would get her a limo ride to a pizza place and a pillow pet. Poor dear. (can you hear my sarcasm?). The kids begged me to drag me around the neighborhood but it is just SO NOT on my priority list! I so get a little jealous (on my kids behalf) of the kids whose parents send them around work and family with no effort whatsoever from the kids and they get 50 orders. Just doesn’t happen around here!

  10. Okay I am in the same boat. Where can I buy the ducky key chains for 25cents. My kids are crazy about them. Our school is charging 10.00 per duck and you have to buy four of the ducks to get a ducky key chain!!! I looked on the internet but I am not finding them. Thanks so much!!!

  11. Sorry for the late comment but after attending a fundraising meeting at my child’s school, I preformed a Google search to see if anyone else was frustrated about this issue.

    My school’s parent committee recently sent out an email asking all of the parents to come to a special “brainstorming” meeting. I assumed this meant that they wanted open discussion, new ideas. Nope. What I found is this group had already decided to carry on with the same past fundraising activities but wanted all of the parents to be more involved in the footwork.

    I suggested that they could additionally send out a memo to families stating how much money is needed (the amount for expenses that the school’s general fund does not cover). I said it would be good to state 1) the total amount needed, as well as 2) the amount broken down per child . If parents feel so compelled, they can give directly to the school (the amount of their child’s expense, perhaps the expense for a few children if a family has the funds, a few bucks if that’s all they can give). Knowing exactly how much is needed gives parents a framework for deciding how much they should give. I think there are a quite a few of us out there that want to help but don’t want a large portion of our donated money wasted on senseless overhead and/or don’t want to waste our time on fundraising activities that teach little or no values to our children.

    Btw, I was told that this memo idea would come across as insulting. Really? Apparently masking your true goal (acquiring extra funds) is more dignified than saying the truth. Honesty is indeed refreshing. I like your school’s $20 per family idea.

    1. Renee,
      Thanks for the comment!
      I talked to my friend who was the PTA president last year and she said that as hateful as those dumb fundraising gimmicks are (like the ducks or the stupid prizes) they get waaaay more money than when they request cash donations. Like five times more. So she said that while she agrees that they are awful and obnoxious, they get the job done.

      So it looks like you and I are stuck with these horrid fundraisers. Boo.

  12. Where can I buy the ducks that cheap? I am using them as a reading incentive for my third graders… and want them cheap so I’m not out a lot of money. But the kids LOVE THEM!!!

    1. I can’t remember where I found them but I did see them at Oriental Trading and on ebay. The ones that are keychains are spender, so if the kids are happy with just the ducks themselves you’ll be able to save money. I think I found some on Amazon too. Good luck!

  13. I am a Montessori teacher and a mom. I never liked those fundraisers where my daughter begged me to sell to the neighbors…. I always felt like we were bothering people! And the way they get the kids to compete for prizes is horrible. I actually started my own fundraising project for schools centered around the children’s artwork. I have the children draw their self portraits and I engrave them onto colorful glass tiles that sparkle in the window. I am just getting started, but if anyone here wants to check it out, please visit my site tilereflection.com.
    I am donating money from each tile sold to the International Child Art Foundation. Let me know what you think…..

  14. I know I already said this but what website did you get it on? I am really desperate we have a fundraiser to and everybody gets ducks. AND I REALLY WANT THE CUPCAKE !!!!!! 🙂 🙁 🙂 🙂

    1. Sarah, I hate to tell you this but I CANNOT remember where I got the ducks. I kind of think I might have gotten them through Amazon. Wish I could be of more help!

  15. That’s okay Hildie. Actually I got the CUPCAKE DUCK!!!!!!:) 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks for helping Hildie!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  16. Yes. I soooo feel your pain. My kids must go to the same school district as yours, because my little six year old brought home that overpriced list of goods they want him to sell, and he is just quivering with anticipation over getting a frog keychain. “But Mom, I only have to sell ONE,” he says with those big brown puppy dog eyes. And I have to explain to him the difficulty of imposing this overpriced junk on our dear friends and neighbors (grandma lives two states away, or I’m sure she would save the day, but I will NOT have her paying shipping costs on top of the ridiculous price.) So, I’ve been up all night googling “frog keychains” and can’t find anything close to the frogs they have pictured on the flyer. I can’t believe it. You can find any piece of crap kitsch in the world on the internet…except for frog keychains like these. Surely, we are dealing with a conspiracy here. Apparently all of China is afraid to make these frog keychains for anyone but The Man. The Mafia has to be behind it. Where did you find the ducks? Maybe I can find frogs there too? If not, I will be headed out to our local dollar and grocery stores to hit up their vending machine toys. One of those machines will have a series of kitschy keychains that kids adore. And my kid can earn them from ME by doing things of real value, like homework and chores. And maybe we all need to be writing our congresspeople, asking “Why do child labor laws not apply to schools pimping out our kids to raise money? Huh? Whyeeee?”

  17. Did you repost this? I was going to comment and then I saw someone with almost exactly the same comment as me. And it WAS me! From 3 years ago! LOL. So I guess what I’ll say now is that at my kids’ school this year, they only request each kid collect $40. PER kid. That means they still have to go door to door asking for money, or I have to shell out $80! I put it off every year, until my kids beg me because their class can’t have a pizza party until they all get $40. I swear, I’d rather buy $40 in reversible wrapping paper!

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