Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

Parents Fund Raising is Like Doing Child’s Homework

When I was a child and participated in fund raising and Girl Scout cookie-selling, my parents had a firm rule. They believed and insisted that if I wanted to participate, then it was my responsibility to do the selling. I remember calling relatives, walking my little fanny from door-to-door and asking neighbors to participate. I’d visit and attempt to charm bank tellers, grocery store clerks, retail customers…where ever there was a potential “giver”, I was there learning how to explain to someone why they should spare some of their hard-earned money. It was incredibly difficult for me, the introvert that I am, but I chalk it up to those childhood experiences that helped me to build self confidence and real-life skills. My parents were always supportive and their responsibility was to keep me safe, help with accounting, act as chauffeur, and most important, to help me learn how to sell an idea.

Back-to-school brings the onslaught of mini-people fund raising campaigns. I’ve already received several emails from parents encouraging me to make a purchase to help their son or daughter raise money for his or her school. I know the parents are well intentioned, but I delete every single email without responding.

Want to know why I delete the messages? I think because of my parents insistence with my own activities as a child, and how much I learned from those times, I liken parents making the “ASK” to parents doing their child’s homework. If little Johnny or Susie called me or knocked on the door, I’d have a hard time saying no to those adorable cherib cheeks and child-sweet voices, but when mom or dad send a mass email, I’m unmoved.

Email is too easy, especially because it removes the child from the process. I really will buy their over priced popcorn, chocolate bars or Christmas wreathes, but they have to ask me themselves.

Like many things, if we take the responsibility away from the child, we eliminate an opportunity for them to learn and to develop their own sense of achievement, and we don’t reinforce the concept that when we need or want something, there’s a certain amount of work that must take place.

What do you think?

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19 comments to Parents Fund Raising is Like Doing Child’s Homework

  • donna

    I still belive this. I also do not buy over the phone I belive that they should come in and see me. I will tell them this on the phone, some come in and see me most do not. It is easier to ask when you can’t see them and phone lets them do that. If they come in to see me I will reward them with a healthy purchase. Most fo the time if I am buying cookies or good eats we share them with all of our customers in the store that we run. And I never run out of wrapping paper.

  • Amy

    I agree and as someone who has been involved with Girl Scouting since I was a child, I know that is what is expected!!!! And really what better marketing tool then a cute child who knows why they are fund raising!!!!

    Amys last blog post..Running Scared

  • I agree with you. If the parents are selling for their kid, I always say no. When a kid asks, I almost always buy. I think that it is an important part of growing up, doing the fund raising and learning how to deal with people.

    WickedStepMoms last blog post..Keeping Your Children Safe Online: Part I

  • Shiela

    My Boy Scout is on his way over to ask you to buy his popcorn :) He LOVES going door-to-door and our neighborhood is tapped out from him and the other Boy Scout. He is going to go around my parents neighborhood today after school. The other fundraiser we do is for the school and is online and a HUGE bargin, and so easy and low-key. Whar we have been doing is having him call some of the people on the list of emails I sent out and “sell” them on the phone. Partly to give him the experience of working for it – and then sparing the rest of the list so they don’t feel pressured. Fine line to walk! Thank God the school and Boy Scouts only have one each for the year.

  • I totally agree. I also don’t like the ones where you have to pay for bits of junk ahead of time and just hope the kid brings your order when it comes in. My favorite ones are World’s Finest Chocolate and the cookie dough ones.

  • I hate our school fundraisers. I don’t even have my kids try to sell to friends and family because I feel it is an imposition on them (the friends and family, not the kids).

    But for the boy scout who calls me to see if I want the same Christmas wreath as last year, or the girl scouts who are set up outside of the market, I will always buy. They’re working hard for it.

    Smalltown Moms last blog post..300 300 300 300 300 300

  • Tricia

    Shiela: I’m a sucker for a kid with a mission. I confess though that I wish the Boy Scouts would sell something other than popcorn.

    SmalltownMom: my husband is afraid of the kids in front of the grocery store. It’s the funniest thing. He just wants to throw dollars at them and run past as quickly as possible.

  • I’m so torn on this. I hate those fundraisers. I think it is a bad idea in this day and age to put kids in a situation where they are going door to door. I also hate parents doing it for them. I can’t see myself letting my kids participate in these fundraisers when they get to that age.

  • You know what? I am happy to contribute, but I don’t really want the popcorn or candles or cookies or………….any of it, really. Can’t I just write a check?

    garys last blog post..It’s a duck thing: you just wouldn’t understand

  • Shiela

    They have chocolate covered pop corn Tricia! And trail mix – that;s what we bought from him while he was “practicing” on us ;) You can also make a dontation towards purchasing products to be sent to the troops overseas – perfect for those who do not want to have stuff in their house tempting them to snack (like me).

  • Tricia

    Chocolate…ohhh. I’ll take the share that Gary wants to pay for but not eat.

  • I’m willing to take my kids somewhere to sell (like the front door of Walmart), but I TOTALLY AGREE: it’s not my job to move the product. My oldest daughter is motivated by the prize the kids get for fundraisers, but I don’t get a prize :p. And, she won’t learn anything if I do the work. Great post!

    goodfathers last blog post..Top party themes for the weekend

  • Man, I’m about put out with the kids right now!! The last two times I have bought from door-to-door kids in my neighborhood, they have demanded the money on the spot (which I always write a check for, to the organization) but then I never get my stuff!! So I don’t know what gives.

    I will buy from my girlfriends here at work IF it’s something I want anyway. At least I can trust that I will see them again, and I can bug them if I don’t get my stuff!! ha!

    HeatherPrides last blog post..Keep Off Grass

  • I never thought of it that way and I’m embarrassed to admit Mark takes stuff into work and sells stuff that way.
    SHAME on me!!! No wonder they expect us to do everything for them!

    Sammanthias last blog post..Harlot’s Web

  • I agree. My kidlets used to wander the familiar (deemed safe by us) section of the neighbourhood and then called it a day.

    If the school fundraiser was one that I had no interest in, I’d write that cheque, and call it a donation.

    More often than not, I was organizing the school fundraiser myself though, so in that case, I’d just call the shots.

    I do a lot of calling, eh?

    Hilarys last blog post..September Stroll

  • I hate these fundraisers. I would rather write a check directly to the school, for the full amount, then buy some horribly expensive wrapping paper that I don’t need, with about 1/18th of the proceeds going back to the school.

    manager moms last blog post..Manager Mom’s Gallery Of Shame, Part 2

  • on fundraising, I was discussing this with a fellow mom the other day as we get bombarded with this stupid wrapping paper and cheap gifts catalog through our PTO. I realized that the school only gets a percentage of the profit from the sales…I’d rather just wait til the end of the year and write the pto a check instead of buying crap I dont want or care about and having part of the money going to the company. A great opportunity is that a Boston base theatre gives a percentage of ticket sales to the school for live shows…high school musical 2 is going to be on stage in dec and so they sent out an ad for ticket sales and announcing the percentage of sales go to the school. I love that. I also am not comfortabkle with my kids asking people for money or to purchase stuff. I just dont like it. I grew up doing it and hated it. It makes people feel obligated. And I hate that. (I am in a lousy rainy day mood right now, sorry(

    stepping over the junks last blog post..Oh Lordy

  • oh, funny, I just read the comment above mine about the wrapping paper!!!

    stepping over the junks last blog post..Oh Lordy

  • I’m happy to have my junior girl scout sell her cookies to neighbors. I’m happy to stand with her outside the grocery store at the “booth.” I’m happy to help come up with ways for her fellow fifth graders to make money to pay for their outdoor education romp next spring. (Frozen fruit bars for sale every Wednesday after school. Whoo-hoo.) I’ll even point out the Box Tops on the cereal for them to clip and take with them. But I will not, would not, could not, do not sell their crap. (And, frankly, I refuse to let any of the kids do the giftwrap sales our school pushes. Hello, we use Sunday comics for wrapping paper. More economical. More environmentally friendly.) Boy, what a long, rambling comment. Your post itself was way, way, way more fabulous.

    patoiss last blog post..Haiku: Fleeting

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