Feb 4, 2011

Put that Kool Aid Down

She came home excited about selling magazine for the school and was distressed when I told her we wouldn't be selling anything. She pleaded "What about the GIFT CARD! We could get a gift card if we sell enough?!" I stood my ground explaining if the school needs something I am more than happy to provide a donation for the thing they need, but I wasn't sure where the money was going or what the school was raising the funds for and the whole things seemed too convoluted to be useful. She pleaded while kicking her feet that she needed that prize. I asked what it was she wanted to buy with the gift card, was there something she needed or wanted that she didn't have? The answer was no, and so I stood my ground, "We do not sell tchotchkes to make money for the school to buy more tchotchkes for a classroom just dying to win the tchotchkes."

We are a country of consumers surrounded by stuff with the driving need to consume more stuff. When the kid's teacher sends home a note asking for parents to send dry erase markers or books or paper towels, I am all for sending these things, and I would even donate directly to a fund sending the teachers to conferences and classes that will extend their educations, but ask me to sell something so that part of the proceeds can go towards who knows and I'll be giving you a firm "no." It really pisses me off that the school takes away learning time to let a high pressure inspirational speaker try to transform our kids into little peddlers of crap*.

First and foremost any time someone is trying to raise money it helps to say why. I can get behind a campaign for more library books or better food in the cafeteria but I'm afraid sometimes the goal is unknown because just like my child, they're sure they want something they just don't know what it is yet. Consume, consume, consume! Once the school figures out what they need I propose some better fund raising ideas.

Here are some that are far more sincere and I think would be way more fun:

-Let the kids do a victory garden and sell the produce in the fall at a farmers market. Advertise that it's premium, gourmet, student grown produce - charge a premium.

-Art auction/sale. Invite parents and grandparents, put lots of art in. After all, who leaves their child's art un-bought. (I still invite my mom to any art auction my work is in - thanks mom.)

-Just write a letter and ask for money for the several things needed. Give people the opportunity to buy a floor buffer, flower pots, chalk board... Maybe you don't even know that one of the parents owns a floor buffer company and will just donate the thing.

- A giant fancy dress up dinner prepared by the lunch ladies. I'm talking about really just regular cafeteria food, but you ask parents to pay $10.00 to come in dressed up nice and eat it with their kids in the cafeteria. A family date nite, maybe even dancing at the end?

-Suggest a small donation at every evening school program. Some may not donate, but you'd be surprised how many people might drop a $20 in there knowing they wont have to buy a roll of $15.00 Christmas wrapping paper later.

*Girl scout cookies are the only exception. Those cookies rule!


Anonymous said...

good ideas, you should forward them to the school

Stephen Smith said...

You are so awesome!
"We do not sell tchotchkes to make money for the school to buy more tchotchkes for a classroom just dying to win the tchotchkes."