Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rant: Fundraisers

I want to make a sign for my front door that says, “I have a baby and a budget, so please don’t ring my doorbell and I don’t want to buy what you are selling.”

How long do you will think it will be until my house is TP’ed? 

Please don’t hate me, but this has been on my mind a lot lately, and when something is on my mind I “write” about it.

Let me paint the picture of what has been happening almost daily at my house for the last few weeks. It is 5 PM, I am done with work and Ina is taking a nap. I have 15 minutes to do whatever I want before I need to start making dinner and/or Ina wakes up. I could watch TV! I could paint my nails! I could sit in silence and stare at the ceiling! Just when I grab my nail polish bag and sit down, the door bell rings. Our beagle starts howling, and won’t stop for at least 2 minutes after the doorbell ringer exits the area. Ina wakes up and yells, “Who’s here?!? Come in!” from bed. I sigh, put down the nail polish with one fingernail painted, and walk towards the door.

I somehow get the door open without letting our dog outside to find a kid from the band/baseball team/Girl Scouts/basket weaving club asking, “Do you want to buy a tub of chocolate/coupon book/box of cookies//trash bag/candle/something else useless that I most definitely do not want to buy.

We have lived in our house, which is in suburbia central, for 3.5 years, and for most of that time, I have been generously supporting all of these clubs. However, since we have started sticking to a strict budget, these types of things simply aren’t allowed. At first I felt bad, especially because it is really hard for me to say no, in particular to cute little kids. 

So, either I find some way to tell them no that I think won’t hurt their feelings like, “Sorry, I can’t eat gluten, but what instrument do you play?” or I do what any respectable adult would do and hide in my kitchen until they leave. Yesterday a group of teenage boys parked their car in my driveway and I had to “hide” for at least 10 minutes. 

I was a Girl Scout for 13 years and loved every single second of it except cookie selling time. I loathed ringing a doorbell and asking someone to buy cookies, because, even at a young age I knew that what I was really asking for was a donation, because no box of cookies is worth $4.

The more I think about it, I feel less bad and more mad. Mad at the parents, mad at the schools, mad at our society for forcing children to do this, to go door to door and ask people for money. Is it really teaching them anything? Also, how much of the money actually goes to the organization? How much of the money is going to the company making the product?

This is an entirely different post, but we as adults aren't doing much better and companies are profiting on the fact that we constantly use our relationships to sell products so they don’t have to. My Facebook newsfeed / inbox is FULL of invites to buy essential oils, make-up, some type of pill, life insurance, etc.

I actually like a lot of these products, but since when is it OK to use our relationships to make money off each other? If I want to buy something, I want to seek it out, not the other way around.

But back to the kids. There has to be a better way for these groups to raise funds. I know that I only plan to let my children participate in activities that we can afford them to without fundraisers. But I also understand that if all families stuck by this rule their children wouldn’t be participating in anything, which I also don’t want.

How about a car wash? Or mowing lawns? Or anything else that doesn’t force kids to use their neighbors, friends, and family members to give money to these organizations, which only actually benefit from a portion of their “donation."

OK, rant over. I actually feel much better. That is until my door bell rings again.

Parents of kids who fund raise - how do you feel about it? Is there a justification I am missing here? 


  1. AMEN!!! And believe me, nothing is worse than peddling stuff for my 5 yr old who wants to do dance class. We will have a fundraiser for each recital that she does. When I took her trash-bag order in a few weeks ago, we had $80 sold. I felt okay about that b/c we didn't have to pester too many about it, and I figured it would help at least 1 other little girl get her costume thingy. NOT!!! $3 out of the $10 was actually raised funding and the other $7 paid for the trash bags, so I STILL owed them $16 after I bought 2 rolls of bags for her outfit.

    I have to say that I LOVE your suggestion of lawn mowing, however, the kids who have "offered" to mow our lawn, have wanted $40-$50 for our quarter acre. At one point I was pretty desperate so I paid them and right as they were driving off, I realized they hadn't even weed-wacked.

    I have a mission to send my kids out when they are old enough of course, to mow our neighbor's yards as good Samaritans. If the neighbor offers to pay them, then they know they have done a good job and may accept, but may not go to the door expecting payment... When our Owen & Ina are old enough, we should start a club, Racheal! :)

    Totally feel your annoyance. Rant on, sister!

    1. Oh my, a fund raiser for every recital? That is exhausting! I think would probably just pay for the outfit and ask them to re-use it. Ha! No? Does that not work?

      Thanks for the support girl! :)

  2. I agree 100%! I'm terrible at saying no mostly because I remember how much I dreaded fundraisers as a kid and I don't want to be just one more person who turns them down, especially when the kids seem shy. Also, I do appreciate and support programs such as band, etc. However, after this week between Alex's birthday party and the fundraisers who've come to our door, I have no more cash in our "extra/entertainment" jar (yes, I actually have a jar I put money in and Mark makes fun of me for it, but its the most consistent/accountable way I've found to budget for the random 'extras' that come up). We've lived in this neighborhood for 8+ years and it's been a constant issue... I really am considering getting a 'no solicitation' sign, especially now that one of my own children is old enough to be involved in activities that potentially require fundraising. because I might just do what my mom always did, which was just contribute whatever dollar amount we were supposed to raise through fundraising. She just did not like the whole thing for the exact reasons you describe!

    My niece and nephew attend a private school that has many, many fundraisers throughout the year (OK, maybe it's only 3 or 4 but it seems like I'm constantly being asked to buy trash bags, or raffle tickets, or magazines, or whatever).... Last time I just wrote a check to the school and sent it to their office with a note saying that I didn't need any of the products but I wanted my full donation to go toward supporting school programs.

    As for justification -- some will say it teaches certain life skills ... I think there are probably better/other ways to accomplish that. Also that sort of goes out the window when it's the parent who is doing the selling, which I also encounter a lot with family and coworkers. I'm interested to hear what others think about this topic. Thanks for the rant, neighbor, and letting me add my own little rant too ;)

    1. Mallory, that is exactly why I am bad at saying no too! The check thing is a really good idea for kids that you know and love and want to support.

      Yes, I agree that it could teach kids life skills - communication, accepting the word "no", seeing that you need to work for money. However, I also think it teaches kids to ask for money from people they know, which doesn't work in the real world most of the time. Ha!

      Maybe I will completely change my attitude once my kids get to this stage in life - and like many times before, will look back at my younger self and laugh.

      Thanks for the extra thoughts! :)

  3. I am right there with you. I never had a problem telling our neighbor kids that we didn't have the money, but my husband made the mistake of saying yes once, so now they wait for him to get home before they come ask, and I send him to tell them no, now. I'm not working and we have a baby, as well. It is hard because kids don't understand that concept. Maybe this teaches them that much?

    1. Great point! :) Budgeting with only one income would be tough, but worth it I am sure. You enjoy that baby! :)

  4. Four sons...four gazillion fundraisers over the years. Feelin' your pain, sister! Feelin' your pain....


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...