9.11.2013

DEAR TEACHER PARENT GROUP OF MY CHILD'S SCHOOL

Dear TPG,

I'm just going to cut right to it:  I. Hate. Fundraisers.

You and I.  We are on the same team.  Maybe I haven't officially joined your group, but that wasn't because I don't like you.  You do some great stuff for the school.  We both want what is best for the students.

However, pulling the kids out of class to attend a sales presentation about cookie dough is just poor form. These are vulnerable children who are being manipulated by a fundraising company that YOU hired.  It kinda makes me sick.  Are brainwashing and shallow incentives really the correct way to be going about earning money for our precious school?  I should be able to opt my kids out of this type of collusion.

As a result of your "awesome" assembly, my kids are obsessed with selling cookie dough.  (What kind of brainwashing did they do at this assembly?  Teach me your techniques!) My son who can't recite his math facts yet, has memorized all the fundraiser safety rules and accompanying prize packet. Although he's pretty sure that the first rule, don't go door to door, is intended to be a joke.  No, I assure him, it's not a joke.  And no, I tell him, I will not help you sell this stuff.  I want nothing to do with this thing.  Luke didn't like that response and threw a fit.  Charlie said he didn't need my support and decided to set up a lemonade type stand in front of our house to advertise his cookie dough.  Surprise, surprise, no one came to buy his cookies.

Charlie's version of School Fundraising

Luke sleeps with the prize packet glued to his face. Thanks to the generosity of his Uncle Larry, he currently has enough for the "wacky clacker ball."  He told me that this Saturday is his most important day because that is when he intends to earn enough for the Wii U.  "Uh-huh," I say, disinterested.

Let's get this straight, PTG. I'm not anti-school fundraising, I'm anti-dumb school fundraising.

Besides being incredibly manipulative, I find this type of fundraising to be highly deceptive.  After the fundraising company is paid, how much can the school actually earn?  50 cents on the dollar?  I hate paying $15.00 for a tub of cookie dough because a) that is outrageous and b) the school is probably only receiving half of that, if even that much. 

There has to be a better use of time and resources.  I realize that fundraising is a necessary evil.  Evidently our tax dollars aren't even enough to provide the teachers with an adequate amount of copy paper, so the PTG fundraisers really do add a lot to the school.  Why not do a walkathon? Or a silent auction? Or a raffle of items donated by local companies? Limited overhead means more money will go to the school than the fundraising company.  Or what happened to just asking for donations?

Would I be a bad mom if I threw away all that fundraising stuff while my kids are sleeping tonight?  Oh wait, it wouldn't matter because that fundraising company you hired is jamming it down my children's throats every single day at school.

TPG, I truly do appreciate all the hard work and effort you put into helping the students, but when it comes to this kind of fundraising, I just say NO.

Sincerely,

A Tired Parent

8 comments:

  1. I don't think "Tired" is really the best adjective to describe your feelings, but I admire your restraint.

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  2. So, did you really let TPG know how you feel? I mean, do you expect them to read this? Just wondering.

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  3. I write a $200 check for the Jog-a-Thon. I throw out all other fundraisers. I figure $200 is more than what most kids "make" selling all of the other junk so I've done my part. Who says money can't buy happiness?

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  4. Jonah and Emma are each doing a cookie dough fundraiser at each school, each different cookie dough brand. Jonah was so excited because they said he would win a Peter piper pizza party if his class sold the most. It's a joke I agree, but Charlie sure looks cute out there!

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  5. Well written Kristin! You are totally right. While my daughter and I enjoyed girl scouts for two years, I despised the cookie fundraiser. It's a business based on the backs of willing moms and girls doing ALL the work. I diminish those types of fundraisers as much as possible in our home, and actively support the good ones, like upcoming jog-a-thon. It's hard to avoid those fundraisers and hard to participate in them too.

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  6. I absolutely, completely, 100% agree with what you have said here. I remember going to those exact same meetings when I was in my elementary/intermediate schools, and feeling heartbroken because I knew I would sell a few pieces of crap (back then we sold from catalogs that sold crummy jewelry, sweaters, and Christmas fudge in overpriced tins) to one or two sympathetic neighbors, and the rest of my class' parents would take their catalogs to work with them and sell for them, so they would win awesome prizes and I would win....a bouncy ball. Or something equally lame.
    There are so SO many other much more productive ways to teach children to raise money without continuing to fund these ridiculously corrupt businesses that brainwash kids into doing all their legwork for them.
    Hate it.
    And, as a consumer who gets a LOT of kids (and adults) coming to her house trying to sell crap, I would much rather go to a car wash, a jog-a-thon, or even a Navajo Taco dinner than buy a carton of cookie dough for 15 bucks that I could make better on my own.
    Yeesh. Obviously, this topic hit a nerve with me. But I really hate these types of fundraisers. You should definitely send this letter to TPG for real, if you haven't already.

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  7. Oh my gosh, I TOTALLY agree! I hate the food and catalog fundraisers. Our school did a silent auction recently and I scored Disneyland tickets and an American Girl doll! That sort of stuff, I'm happy to pay good money for.

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  8. AMEN! My kids' school does a 2-3 WEEK long "pep rally" for their fun run fundraiser. I sat my kids down and tried to explain to them that I would buy them those prizes for a fraction of the cost of the fundraiser if they earned them, but the hype is so ridiculous they can't quite wrap their little heads around it. I get the schools need funds but they are milking it from the parents all year long. And you're right, it's the brainwashing of the kids that's the real problem. For myself, I have no problem saying NO.

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