Tuesday, September 21, 2010

of fundraising

Ever since Abigail started school, she's been coming home with an assortment of new "something to purchase" order forms tucked into her folder.  Scholastic book orders, school pictures, box top collection forms, wrapping paper fundraiser, etc.

Here's the thing:  I want to be an active contributor and volunteer in her school.  I've attended the PTO meetings.  I'm on the volunteer mailing lists.  I'm emailing back and forth with her teacher right now about the days that I'll come in and volunteer in her classroom.

But I also have no desire to purchase things at the grocery store that our family doesn't eat (like Box Tops foods or Capri Sun drinks, which if we bring in the package thingy will net the school about 1 cent).  Or march Abigail around the neighborhood selling wrapping paper.  Or buy books from the book order that quite frankly, I don't want (what's up with this?  I remember those book orders being AWESOME--but hers was terrible!!)

Abigail's teacher called today to make sure we really meant to not order school pictures.  Were we sure, she said?  And yes, we said.  We'll take them ourselves, we said (seeing in our minds the years of really expensive and horrible school pictures stashed away somewhere in a box). 

So.  I want to support the school.  But I would much rather just write them a check where 100% of the check goes to the PTO.  And I'd rather take photos myself of Abigail in a lot of different outfits and backgrounds and print the ones we both love.  And I'd rather order books from Amazon every time the book order form comes so we get the ones we really love (they should arrive any day now!)

I don't want my kids to feel awkward about these kinds of things with their peers (we did ask Abigail about the book order and the school pictures, and went with her choice to do both ourselves).  Although her teacher already has her pegged as "the one who refuses cupcakes," so her chance at normal is probably gone right there. 

What do you think?


Aubrey said...

I agree with you 100%. I have felt the same way since Madison started school. I feel kind of bad about being a scrooge and not participating in fundraisers and Madison comes home so pumped about it. My mom always was against fundraisers when I was growing up, so I guess that's where I get it from. But I would like to contribute. I will be checking back on this post to see if there is a good solution to this issue.

Meghan said...

I used to love the book orders, until they morphed into trendy books and software instead of high-quality classics (and by classics I mean fun favorites that endure over the years, not the latest Goosebumps).
We also went with a contribution rather that hitting up friends and family to buy useless things. The tough part is when the highest-selling class gets a party or the rep gets the kids excited about their chance to win an ipod.
She might change her mind about school pictures when everybody else gets theirs and starts trading. Just make sure to have some ready for her to share with her friends before that starts.
Too bad schools have to try to make up for shortfalls in school funding by sending kids out to knock on doors with wrapping paper samples.

Mary Beth said...

I really hope Abigail doesn't get teased too much for being "different", but I applaud her for making good choices. School pictures were always awful, cupcakes aren't good for you (I wish I could convince myself of this!), and the fundraisers are a total gimmick. I always was a little wistful when I saw the prize lists, but I knew myself well enough to know I'd never sell that much anyway. >.>

Katrina said...

ugh, I hate school fundraisers! i hated them as a kid and hate them now. I agree that book orders used to be better. I went through Olivia's a couple weeks ago because she "really" wanted to get something and it was all crap. I will heart Amazon forever. And we don't do school pictures either. Having both a stepmom and mom who are photographers there is really no point.

And go Abigail for refusing the cupcake. My kids wouldn't do that I'm afraid. Maybe Asher. He'd just take one bite and then not eat anymore probably.

All this dumb school stuff and labeling and all that, plus the shear inefficiency of the school day is why I am definitely toying with the idea of homeschooling. We'll see. I have a few years to decide what to do with my littles.

Bloom said...

I am totally with you. Every time a boy scout, football player, etc. etc. comes to my door selling something I just hand him a five dollar bill and send him on his way. I don't want your gross popcorn or fancy wrapping paper and I don't want you to only get a small portion of my money! I hate fundraising like that.

And school pictures?!! Come on! They are awful! You know the best were the ones when we were kids with the neon lights in the background. Awesome.


Danielle said...

At our elementary school they got rid of all fund-raising and starting just doing direct donation instead. It was much better. No door to door sales, or collection boxtops like you said, where you get like one cent. You could suggest that?

I didn't eat the cupcakes in elementary school either. Crisco frosting...Gross!

Dani said...

I'm with you. I hate all of the fundraising stuff, but the sad reality is that selling stuff is the most effective way to get PTO contributions. I'm sure that the PTO (and the schools in general) would love to just have everyone write a check for the amount they would have spent on cookies, or wrapping paper, or whatever, but for whatever reason, people are less likely to contribute if they aren't getting something out of it. Sad, but true. I pick one thing to buy from my daughter's fundraiser and we write a check to the PTC for the rest. This satisfies her need to participate and my need to support the school without filling my house up with crap. As for school pictures, we order the smallest package because it saves me time and the grandparents get their yearly photo without me having to attempt to get three kids ready for a picture. I think part of this also comes from my mom never letting us order school pictures and I always felt so dumb when everyone else was getting and trading their pictures and I was just sitting there with nothing. I also have to admit that I love the class picture. It's so fun to see who was in Grace's class and she loves taking that little walk down memory lane.

Emily Anne said...

well said, rachael. loved reading these comments, too.

Kristyn said...

I have school fundraisers too. I just send it back in Travis' backpack. However, I do try to contribute my time to the school and make myself available to the teacher. I'm helping out a lot this year with the school's annual carnival and I can afford to give a few hours of time, versus spending $20 on coupon books I'll never use. And hopefully my time will help make the carnival better and therefore bring the school more money. It's a way to help in my own way.

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