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#1 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am on a committee to raise money for a playground for our students. Right now we have NOTHING. Playgrounds are not cheap (start around 50K) We are presently half way to our goal. BUT 95% of the work is done by myself and another mom.

 

So my questions are: if you volunteer at your dc school, why do you do it?

 

IF you fundraise....why do you do it?

 

If you don't volunteer why don't you?

 

If you don't fundraise why don't you?

 

I hope to figure out how to encourage more parents to take an interest but it is really tough.

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#2 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 07:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by momtoS View Post

 

 

So my questions are: if you volunteer at your dc school, why do you do it?

 

IF you fundraise....why do you do it?

 

If you don't volunteer why don't you?

 

If you don't fundraise why don't you?

 

I hope to figure out how to encourage more parents to take an interest but it is really tough.



I do not fundraise, and I do volunteer.

 

I will start with the fundraising.

 

.I do not fund raise, because I:

-do not know where the money is going

-do not like where the money is going  (they want something I do not see as the best use of the money)

-feel they are wasteful  (they want something insanely expensive, when a more moderate model will do)

 

I generally feel like a human wallet in most fundraising scenarios... I have no say what the fundraising is for or how the money is to be spent, but I am expected to give, give, give.

 

I also hate asking kids/families to fundraise.  More selling of chocolate bars or overpriced wrapping paper to already highly tapped out friends and relatives???  Some years I am asked to buy something on a near monthly basis.  It gets really old.  Oh - and selling contests and prizes!!! Gah.  I hate them - they are no more than popularity contests  (who has the most family and friends with disposable income they can sell to) 

 

I am also aware of how little of the money fundraised goes to the organisation.   20$ of cookie dough I do not want for the school to get 5 bucks.  

 

I do, on occasion, write checks directly to the organisation if I think the cause is worthy.  It avoids all the messiness of the above scenarios.

 

I do volunteer.  I can choose where to put my volunteering effort (I have more control) whereas with fundraising I feel like part of a fundraising machine, and I feel like nothing more than a wallet.

 

I know all of the above is negative - but I really dislike most fundraising.  Hopefully you will be able to use some of the above to figure out how to be more effective in what you are doing.

 

I will say I prefer fundraising events (such as fairs, silent auctions) to fundraising sales.  I also vastly prefer one or two big fundraisers a year to many mini ones. I am more likely to fundraise if i know what the money is going to be spent on, and that it is being spent wisely.  I really like having a bit of a say in how it is spent.  I do not expect all the say, but I do expect parental voices to be heard in a real way. While I do not like fundraising, I am more inclined to support it if I know I will not have to do it again for 6 months!  And no overpriced chocolate, wrapping paper or popcorn!!!

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#3 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 07:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by momtoS View Post

I am on a committee to raise money for a playground for our students. Right now we have NOTHING. Playgrounds are not cheap (start around 50K) We are presently half way to our goal. BUT 95% of the work is done by myself and another mom.

 

So my questions are: if you volunteer at your dc school, why do you do it?

 

IF you fundraise....why do you do it?

 

If you don't volunteer why don't you?

 

If you don't fundraise why don't you?

 

I hope to figure out how to encourage more parents to take an interest but it is really tough.


Fundraising: I generally am not a huge fan of doing the fundraising for a school. Maybe it's being in Toronto but I prefer to put my effort into political lobbying to ensure our schools are funded adequately by the province and not into creating disparities between neighbourhoods by making the fundraising local. 

 

It also depends on the  goal. I remember when you were posting about this before and a playground wouldn't be my first choice for my money - for balls and skipping ropes and to volunteer teaching the kids great games they can play without a playground, sure. But not a playground itself. Just a personal preference.

 

Volunteering: I'm not opposed but again I have some mixed feelings about it. We already volunteer in our community outside the school and my time is limited...and I tend towards thinking that it's more important that we get the homeless & poor fed than that we have 24 bunny parts cut out for the kindergarten kids to glue together for Easter (I'm projecting here; my kid's current school doesn't do that)...in other words I find a lot of the volunteer roles at school are related to events/projects that I'm not really sure are that important to curriculum. I really don't like all the parties, for example, or emphasis on particular holidays that seem to go on in the public schools so I wouldn't volunteer for that.

 

However I have and will again volunteer for reading and writing and tutoring-type programmes...some of those are run outside the school though by the Boys & Girls Club. So it might not be visible at the school. 


~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#4 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 08:08 AM
 
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I volunteer because I want to support and participate in my children's school community. I like being connected with the people in their environment.

 

It's an opportunity to interact with the administration, support staff and teachers outside of parent-teacher conferences. It's a chance to become familiar with the other students, not just the small circle that my children may hang out with on playdates and birthday parties. I meet other parent volunteers and thus my own social circle widens. 

 

I burned out a little a couple of years ago after a pretty unhappy experience with bullying parents who wanted to control every aspect of the school. The school staff were pretty great but these parents were horrible. If you are having trouble attracting parent volunteers, I'd consider whether someone (could be staff, could be another parent) is discouraging people. Look for unwelcoming and rigid attitudes ("my way or the highway"), controlling and negative behaviour even after delegating tasks, belittling and patronizing comments, overwhelming newcomers by dumping projects on them and abandoning them and then freely criticizing the outcome... so many ways to discourage volunteers.

 

I've also done a fair amount of fundraising. I always looked for positive fundraising projects. Some ideas for this time of year:

 

selling poinsettias 

CD recordings of the school's holiday concerts,

Christmas cards produced from the students' art,

holiday fairs,

student art auction 

 

For a big project like a playground, I might look for a community partner - either non-profit groups, corporate donations, or untapped government funds. There are some environmental groups that are involved in greening school yards. They are often available for assistance with designs, labour, materials etc. There are sometimes government resources for healthy living initiatives or obesity reduction programs etc. that might contribute to playground-building. Local businesses are often a good source of money, labour or materials. 

 

Good luck with your playground. 

 

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#5 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 08:18 AM
 
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Well, I'll start by saying, if you want people to volunteer, it needs to be fun for then. I know I've always HATED volunteering with the PTA. I'm not saying this is YOU at all... just the 3 PTA's I've experienced are dominated by women who are bossy, over-dramatic, gossipy, uninterested in the ideas of others, could not keep their hands out of the projects the specifically gave to you, saved the fun work for themselves and gave the crap jobs to the newbies. Certainly, there were women I liked involved too but they weren't enough to counteract the negative experience on a whole. So, I went around them. I did my own volunteer work in the class, worked with the principal to run specialized programs for the kids, ect. I always give a lot to the schools, just not through the PTA.

 

I do volunteer heavily at my kids youth theatre and the VP of the parent volunteer group their so I have some experience getting people involved. I also take on several committees that require labor each show.  Like I said earlier, it needs to be fun! You have to be organized and people need to know exactly what they are signing up for and what it will accomplish for the kids (concrete results they can see even if it's a chart of past earnings and such.) Yes, when I run a lobby decorating committee, I have to sacrifice some of my own ideas to keep the interest of the kind souls that come to help and have ideas of their own. I deal with the trash, get the ladders, staple the background while I set them up with the paints, the display cases, the fun stuff. Refreshments is not nearly as fun but I take on the bulk of the grunt work involved, I take interest in their kids, try to foster a fun social environment, pay particular attention to the newbies and people start to know you and start making a point of signing up for your groups. Plus, they start chipping in more with the harder work. These days, I chair a committee and I have almost nothing to do lol.

 

I have some ideas about playground fundraising as I was involved in that but I must go at the moment.


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#6 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 08:38 AM
 
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My dd goes to a school that has high tuition and 98.9999% of the parents feel that the tuition they pay means that they don't need to be involved with volunteering or fundraising.  :( 

 

I am the fundraising chair this year and we've been slowly plugging along.  I've done one "micro-fundraiser" which was parents buying cut out paper stars to write a message to their child to be hung on the school walls.  That one raised $300.  We also did a restaurant night fundraiser with a raffle that raised around $300.  Both were super easy and didn't put the parents out at all.

 

We plan on doing a consignment sale later in the winter where parents can rent a table to sell their old children's and baby items.  We expect that one to bring in about $1500. 

 

In the past our fundraisers have made modest profit but have been big PITAs.  So, I think we're doing well this year doing more fundraisers and earning less per activity but not asking the parents to sell junk to their friends and family. 

 


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#7 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 08:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post

Fundraising: I generally am not a huge fan of doing the fundraising for a school. Maybe it's being in Toronto but I prefer to put my effort into political lobbying to ensure our schools are funded adequately by the province and not into creating disparities between neighbourhoods by making the fundraising local. 

 

 

This exactly.


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#8 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 08:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoS View Post

 

 

So my questions are: if you volunteer at your dc school, why do you do it?

 

IF you fundraise....why do you do it?

 

If you don't volunteer why don't you?

 

If you don't fundraise why don't you?

 

I hope to figure out how to encourage more parents to take an interest but it is really tough.



I do not fundraise, and I do volunteer.

 

I will start with the fundraising.

 

.I do not fund raise, because I:

-do not know where the money is going

-do not like where the money is going  (they want something I do not see as the best use of the money)

-feel they are wasteful  (they want something insanely expensive, when a more moderate model will do)

 

I generally feel like a human wallet in most fundraising scenarios... I have no say what the fundraising is for or how the money is to be spent, but I am expected to give, give, give.

 

I also hate asking kids/families to fundraise.  More selling of chocolate bars or overpriced wrapping paper to already highly tapped out friends and relatives???  Some years I am asked to buy something on a near monthly basis.  It gets really old.  Oh - and selling contests and prizes!!! Gah.  I hate them - they are no more than popularity contests  (who has the most family and friends with disposable income they can sell to) 

 

I am also aware of how little of the money fundraised goes to the organisation.   20$ of cookie dough I do not want for the school to get 5 bucks.  

 

I do, on occasion, write checks directly to the organisation if I think the cause is worthy.  It avoids all the messiness of the above scenarios.

 

I do volunteer.  I can choose where to put my volunteering effort (I have more control) whereas with fundraising I feel like part of a fundraising machine, and I feel like nothing more than a wallet.

 

I know all of the above is negative - but I really dislike most fundraising.  Hopefully you will be able to use some of the above to figure out how to be more effective in what you are doing.

 

I will say I prefer fundraising events (such as fairs, silent auctions) to fundraising sales.  I also vastly prefer one or two big fundraisers a year to many mini ones. I am more likely to fundraise if i know what the money is going to be spent on, and that it is being spent wisely.  I really like having a bit of a say in how it is spent.  I do not expect all the say, but I do expect parental voices to be heard in a real way. While I do not like fundraising, I am more inclined to support it if I know I will not have to do it again for 6 months!  And no overpriced chocolate, wrapping paper or popcorn!!!


This is pretty much me to a T.

My DS is now in his third elementary school and I've been active as a volunteer in all of them. I have helped with reading daily at one point, twice weekly at another point, driven and chaperoned countless field trips, brought in goodies for class parties, helped clean the classroom at the end of the year, helped out on arts & crafts day, field day, been the library mom, helped out at the year end summer party, helped out with the Fall party . .. .the list goes on. I volunteer because, at this stage in my life, I'm fortunate enough to have a very flexible work schedule. I may not always have the flexibility to start work when I want or take a break to help out at the school, so I'm optimizing my flexibility while I can. Also, my DS still enjoys me being around and is thrilled if I'm around at school.

I won't help out with organized fund-raising, however. I will gladly donate an appropriate amount if I think that it's a good cause but I won't hit up friends, co-workers, or neighbors for over-priced stuff they don't really want, nor will I allow DS to participate in these fund-raisers. As Katymuggle says, too little of a percentage goes to the cause itself and I generally don't like hitting people up for money. I really don't understand why more PTAs don't put together a "Sponsor a Piece of Playground Equipment" or whatever brochure and get people to pay $10 towards a new swing set or whatever, rather than selling wrapping paper that no one wants.

At any rate, i do feel sorry for the parents who get roped into fund-raising and feel alone, but I just prefer to spend my volunteering time and energy elsewhere.
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#9 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 08:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoS View Post

I am on a committee to raise money for a playground for our students. Right now we have NOTHING. Playgrounds are not cheap (start around 50K) We are presently half way to our goal. BUT 95% of the work is done by myself and another mom.

 

So my questions are: if you volunteer at your dc school, why do you do it? I do it for my child.  He likes to have me in classroom when I can do that but more importantly I like the example it sets even if it something he does not directly benefit from (ie the camp fair, the library, etc).  Which is why we often volunteer our time to other causes too.

 

IF you fundraise....why do you do it? I do it for the good of school but only for projects I believe in. A playground when there is none, yes.  A new "state of the art" playground to replace a perfectly good one, no. I also don't "sell" things like wrapping paper, candles, etc.  If the cause is something I believe I will donate money instead of selling over priced stuff no one needs.

 

If you don't volunteer why don't you?

 

If you don't fundraise why don't you?

 

I hope to figure out how to encourage more parents to take an interest but it is really tough.




Pardon me while I puke.gif

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#10 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 09:02 AM
 
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 I won't help out with organized fund-raising, however. I will gladly donate an appropriate amount if I think that it's a good cause but I won't hit up friends, co-workers, or neighbors for over-priced stuff they don't really want, nor will I allow DS to participate in these fund-raisers. As Katymuggle says, too little of a percentage goes to the cause itself and I generally don't like hitting people up for money. 

 

 

So much THIS. My son's daycare does some fundraising-I was totally shocked. I sort of feel like I am pimping out my kid for some nameless faceless corporation and I just won't do it. That said I am the Chairwoman of the Early Headstart program and am always willing to volunteer for stuff.

 

I do that because I believe it is vitally important for parents to be involved in their kid's school life. I think it is THE most important factor for ensuring my son is a happy and successful.

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#11 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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I will say the best fundraiser I ever been privvy to was to raffle off a car.

 

The cost of the car (sand taxes) came in at 15,000-18,000.  The school sold raffle tickets at 100$.  They needed to sell 180 tickets or the event was a no-go.  They set the cap at 400 tickets - so they could say people had a 1/400 chance of winning a car.  They sold around 320 tickets. 14,000 profit for a moderate amount of work.

 

They had also been tossing around the idea of doing the same thing - but with a vacation.  A $6,000  all inclusive family vacation  (and they actually had three vacation destinations you could choose from), 50$ a ticket - with a minimum and maximum number of tickets sold.  I would have bought a ticket for a vacation prize!

 

HTH

 

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#12 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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I think it's been said by PPs, but here's my 2 cents. During the time when my oldest was in school, I volunteered. I did so because we were in an inner city school with few resources, and I felt a) I was providing a needed service and b) it gave me a great way to connect with staff, students and other parents. The school had a fantastic volunteer spirit, and parents even volunteered for things they were allowed to do (ie run the library when they didn't have enough to hire a librarian. That worked for a couple of days until the union put the kibosh on it). When we moved to a different school district, I tried again to volunteer but was met with cliquiness, pettiness, cattiness. Not fun. I persevered for a while but eventually felt like the subtle bullying natures of the moms (and yes, they were moms, not dads) who "ran" the group was too high an emotional cost for me, and plus, in that atmosphere, I didn't feel like I was making a useful contribution (even though I might have been).

 

As for fundraising, it was not my favourite activity. To me, it felt like the school nickeled and dimed you all year, just to hand you a box of crappy chocolate covered almonds (that no one really wants) that you then had to either buy yourself or subject your friends and family to that same annoying nickel and diming. Plus, at the same time you were subjected to other schools fundraising activities. It just seemed to me like it was the parents who were constantly giving small amounts to a variety to schools (and, as PP pointed out, only a small amount of that money ever made it to the school coffers).

 

A good fundraiser might have changed my mind. A car raffle, that's pretty cool. Especially if the car is donated and all the funds go directly to the school project.

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#13 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 10:21 AM
 
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OK, I'm back... fundraising. Personally, I don't participate in any catalog sales at all. I think the pay back to the school is ridiculous. I always donate money to the school instead. Yes, smaller quantities because that is what I can spare but I figure my straight 30 bucks is better than buying 30 dollars of junk do the school can have 10.

 

My DS's school has completely ditched "sales." Instead, they offer fundraising events. One of the most successful is the school jog-a-thon. It's during school hours. Kids can get sponsors (not per lap, just flat donation.) There are some modest prizes... a t-shirt for those that raise 20 dollars, a school water bottle for those who raise 30, a raffle ticket for an ipod shuffle for those who get 50. Each room asks for oranges and water donations. Even kids who don't raise money participate and are considered to be helping their school. It's healthy and the school makes a good chunk of money with very little expenditure and it's something not all the parents have to BE at. They did a rumage sale one year and raised 5 grand. We also recycle which brings in money to the school and not hard to get kids to bring in their cans and plastic bottles. There are also events like the huge international fair which bring in the whole community and raise most of the funds for the year. It's all stuff people want or have fun doing and thus happy to give their money.

 

Has your school looked into Kaboom? They donate playground equipment and know how to schools who apply and are accepted. The school has to provide volunteers for installation but we did this with our school and got a free playground.

 

It's also great to foster a grant writing club within the parents. You can get all sorts of great things with grants... we got new computers, a new sidewalk in front of the school, smart boards, ect. You just need someone who can write them and then train others how to do it. I'm not on this committee but I can see it's made a huge difference.


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#14 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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So my questions are: if you volunteer at your dc school, why do you do it? 

I volunteer because I think it's important.  Our school has an 80 hour per family per year volunteer requirement and I think that's a good thing.  There are parents everywhere in the school.  They work in classrooms, the run scholastic book sales, they grade papers, do administrative stuff etc....  It frees up a tremendous amount of time for the teachers.  Our school is a charter school and parents understand the requirement when they choose to send their kids there.

 

I also volunteer because I want my children to know that I'm intimately involved in their schooling.  It helps me develop a deeper relationship with their teachers and with administration.  I get to see my kids teachers in action.  I am able to meet other parents and network.  And, I get to see my kids during the day.  Even if it's just for a brief time, they love, love, love seeing me at school and I love being there for them. 

 

IF you fundraise....why do you do it? 

I fundraise when I know where the money goes.  Every year we have a fall festival.  It's our school's major fundraiser.  Each class creates a class basket based on donations from the families in that class.  Then, raffle tickets are sold and the baskets are raffled off.  I coordinate our class basket every year.  I do it because, I see where the money goes - it all goes directly into the school.  Almost every class has a smart board, we have new playground equipment, we have new music equipment, we have computers and a full library. 

 

If you don't volunteer why don't you?

 

If you don't fundraise why don't you?

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#15 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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My school is trying to raise about 10K for a playground cover. So far this year they've had a book fair, sold cookie dough (yuck!!!), sold entertainment books, had a hot dog/pizza dinner night, and have had fundraisers at Chik Fil-A, Basket Robbins, and a pizza place where the school got a percentage of the proceeds. (I know, I know, real healthy, right?!?) Anyway, I'm ok with all of it b/c they really do need the cover, but it does chap me that so little actually gets to the PTA. I'd just rather give them a check for the $20 that actually cost me over a $100, y/k? But I'm sure if the PTA were to suggest that people would go ape. We buy the cr*p but don't hit up friends, and DH refuses to do it at work b/c he can't stand when people do it to him. Our main issue is that it's just junk that we'd never buy on our own.

 

I"m happy to volunteer but I always have my 2.5 y/o with me which makes it kind of tough. I've also run into the clique thing, but I don't think it's been mean-spirited, more just they all know each other b/c of older kids and I"m a newcomer with a kindergartener.  At the beginning of the year they did the BR fundraiser and called it an ice cream social, and that was cool because a lot of families showed up and we all got to meet each other and support the school. I noticed that after that PTA membership increased.

 

I don't know how to get more people to volunteer. My school actually ends up having more than they need. I will say that my pet peeve is that our wonderful hard-working PTA leader is too laid back--I don't want to hear "Oh, just show up anytime" and then find out I"m there w/ my 2.5 y/o and 4 other moms. I'd appreciate more structure--exactly what needed to be done, exactly how many people they needed, exact times, etc.

 

 

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#16 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 03:45 PM
 
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For those of you who would rather just cut a check, have you asked if you can? My mom asked when we were kids and they said, "Yes, of course!" and then the next time around added a note at the bottom that said something like, "Fundraising is optional, as is donating. If you would like to donate time or money instead of or in addition to fundraising efforts, we welcome it." I've also, as a teacher, noticed that fundraising events (carnivals, spaghetti feeds, leaf rakes, etc.) are MUCH better received than cookie dough/wrapping paper/other catalog crap. More work, yes, but all the money goes straight to the school and they also serve as community building events. I can make my own cookie dough and don't really wrap gifts (I'm HORRIBLE at it), but if I were to throw a Halloween carnival in my own home for just my family, it would be pretty boring. Anything that brings families together (I'm not talking about frou-frou adults-only fundraising events, I'm talking about goofy school events) is preferable to "take this form home and sell this," because in addition to earning money, the school earns: better community/parent relations, a happier student body and staff (provided you don't force teachers to work evening events and instead just let them participate in the fun like everyone else :D),  less wasteful money-spending, and LESS STRESS ON PARENTS.


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#17 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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I read recently that according to my state's PTA guidelines, the ratio of purely social/fun events to fundraising events should be 3:1. I've resisted the urge to make a tally, because it seems to me we're doing too much fundraising. That said:

Yes, I volunteer in the classroom. My husband and I split a 2 hour/week requirement. I also lead a parent committee with specific responsibilities/events. The former seems really important to my kid's education; the latter was thrust upon me. I most like the parts that seem directly related to my kid's education.

So fundraising: I don't like selling things; I'll only buy stuff if I feel I really want it. I respect my friends too much to ask them to buy overpriced stuff, so I only ask for things I feel are worth the price. I'm currently emmeshed in the artsy support end of a winter sing/craft fair. I'm helping coordinate some of the crafts kids will make (the fair will also have parent/vendor crafts), but I doubt I'll buy any. After all, I can *make* them, and I'm donating a hell of a lot of time.

Parents as this small school of mine were asked to make voluntary contribution at the beginning of the school year. We did so, gladly. In some ways, I wish they'd asked for more--enough to cancel out one or more of the tiny, annoying fundraisers.

So I guess that's my deal: I'd rather give upfront, as possible. I prefer fewer large fundraisers to a bunch of little ones. I'd like to see the teachers/ PTA investigate grant funding for specific projects - science camp, for example.


Mom of two girls.
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#18 of 41 Old 11-23-2010, 09:39 AM
 
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If you don't volunteer why don't you?

 

If you don't fundraise why don't you?

I work out of the home full time.  I don't have particularly flexible hours, and volunteer opportunities are largely during the work day.  I did make some effort to get involved in the PTA, but it was not a pleasant experience.  Our PTA is run by Ladies Who Lunch.  They were not welcoming, and had zero interest in scheduling anything for working parents.  I'ts perfectly understandable to me that if you are doing the work, you get to do the scheduling, but then let's not try to spritz everyone with Eau D' Guilt for not joining in.

 

I do not fundraise in any way, shape or form.  If I want my kids to participate in an activity, I'm happy to pay the full cost of the activity.  I don't think friends and family, or the larger community, should be called upon to fund my children's activities.  The amount of fundraising that goes on is beyond obnoxious.  There are some causes for which I will cheerfully write a check, so that the cause gets 100% of my money.  A playground for a school where my children were being educated would be such a cause.

 

But most fundraising involves an endless amount of busywork to get dollars to get 3X dollars (because of overhead, fundraiser costs,  corporate cuts, etc.) out of the same community of people doing the busywork, when those same people could just contribute X dollars directly and be done with it. 

 

Free time is my most precious commodity.  I'd much rather write a check then spend time on fundraisers.

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#19 of 41 Old 11-23-2010, 01:11 PM
 
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I must say that all the fundraising the school does really gives money back to the school, but I cannot bring in cataloges to work, neither can DH.  I manage a large team at work and its simply inappropriate to ask my subordinates to support my children, especially when most fundraising are around review time.  With DH, he has his subordinates and his clients...again, not good position.

 

But we will buy something of value, if its available....we did buy some toys from a montessori toy catalog.  For each $100 of items, the school gets $15 worth of educational toys. And, we get free shipping.  Sure, its a smaller percetnage, but I was able to look up the prices on other sites and purchase those which are cheaper AND i wanted anyways.  I was surprisigly able to get quite a few items.

 

As for volunteering, our school requires 5 volunteer hours for each family.  DH has volunteered for the halloween party, and I am volunteering for the holiday show.  DH is more flexible, depending on the time fo the month...but I can only volunteer for non-work hour events, which limits us a tad. I would volunteer for much more, if I was able to!


DD5, DS3...Montessori since 8/2010
Bradenton, Florida
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#20 of 41 Old 11-24-2010, 04:53 AM
 
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For our school we are required to volunteer time to gain points.If we don't we pay money.Montessori system. I volunteer in areas that will not require me to be at the school,because I have animals to tend too.Plus my kids don't want to be at school during off hours. I have 2 jobs for school plus I make scrip orders weekly.Last year I did a lot more,but this year I can not be at the school like before.

 

They have fundraisers where they sell stuff.I can not afford to buy $20 candles or cookie mix. They have fundraisers where they ask for money directly for the school,and for the poor kids at the school(scholarships). Again I can not afford to give cash.We pay tuition and I can no longer afford that. I know no one to pass on the catalogs or requests for cash.

 

Would it be possible to contact local businesses to help fund the playground? Write about raising money for it in the local papers.Some places give supplies and some people often do it for free.People will do it for the kids.

 

Consider installing sections at a time and maybe smaller items like wood forts and balance beams.Maybe large tractor tires. Some schools have nothing at all outside and the kids find things to do.Look for alternatives to the 50k playground if you are unable to meet the 50k goal.

 

When we had more money I just gave money to the school. I also donated books and supplies.Now we have nothing. I understand schools are struggling,but there are wants and needs.I would say a 50k playground is a want,and supplies/smaller equipment as a need

 

 Consider a sale of items to raise cash.Like a garage sale at the school,and add to that baked items. I have donated things to goodwill that would have sold for good money.I would donate plants to raise money too,but so far no one is taking me up on it.

 

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#21 of 41 Old 11-24-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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I do it all, I'm PTA president orngtongue.gif

 

We try to keep our "fundraising" to a minimum, but here's the thing...people say they just want to write a check, but they don't.  We did a walk a thon at the beginning of the year.  The message was very clear, walk, don't walk but make a donation and we won't do any more fundraisers all year.  We made $2000.  It wasn't enough to pay for everything this year, so we signed up for the "look kids PRIZES!!!'" pizza fundraiser and made almost $5,000.  The whole total on that sale was well over $10,000, but people would rather have cheap pizza, grainy fudge and cheap wrapping paper than just write a check and make sure the school gets all that money. 

 

We do the easy stuff, like milk caps, McDonald's receipts and all the store cards that give us money back.  But it's not enough to finance all the field trips, computer lab, scholarships, open house and other fun stuff we pay for.  So if we really want to be able to keep up with the other schools in the district that have much larger enrollments (trust me when I say this is so so very important in our building) then we need to fundraise.

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#22 of 41 Old 11-24-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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Our school does not participate  in catalog and candy fundraisers, but there are quite a few money raising activities throughout the year.  

 

This was the 2nd year for our 5K, which was a certified official course this year.  The entry fee was $25 for adults and $15 for children.  Various companies donated entertainment and amusement for the post race party and walkers/runners asked for pledges from friends/neighbors/etc.  All of the proceeds went to the Athletic/recreation department.

 

Every fall there is a festival that could rival any local fall festival with rides, games, activities and crafts.  Children's unlimited ride tickets are $40.  Individual tickets for food, games and rides are sold for $1.00 a piece.  The proceeds benefit the Parents Association.

 

Once a year parents are asked to donate money to the Annual Fund.  Larger gifts are welcome and needed, but the school will gladly accept $1.00 from each family.  The school then asks corporations to donate money to the school.  The higher the level of family giving the more likely the company is to donate larger sums of money.  Companies look at the percentage and not the dollar amount.

 

The school also host a Gala Event.  Tickets cost about $150 a piece which includes food and drinks.  A silent auction and a live auction are held to raise money for the school.  Items are donated, so the proceeds go directly to the school.

 

The school also has a snack bar run by parents and stocked with donated goodies, and t-shirts are sold for various events on campus.

 

I have a very limited budget, but I donate to all events in which I do not participate.  I, or my husband, also volunteer about 3 to 5 hours a month at the school.  Some months more.

 

I/We chaperon trips, read to the class, assist with parties or celebrations, initiate projects to do with the children in class, give tours at open house, serve as a room parent or on various committees.  I write the class newsletter, send email correspondence to other parents and do whatever the teachers needs.  The don't need much, but they welcome anything positive.  

 

If I want to come in and share a hobby with the class, the teachers welcome me with open arms. Not because they get a break, but because the children have a new experience to enjoy.


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#23 of 41 Old 11-26-2010, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone for the tips! WOW,.....there are some lucky schools out there! I can't imagine a gala dinner for $150 a ticket....none of our families would be able to afford that. We did a baking/craft sale fundraiser and raised $250. We sold the frozen pizza and made $1000 (which is awesome). We really have to look outside the immediate school community, alot of our students don't have indoor shoes or winter jackets so their parents aren't going to sell stuff in catalogues.

 

Keep the ideas coming.....we are thinking of planning a scrapbooking weekend....and invite anyone from the community to rent a table....

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#24 of 41 Old 11-26-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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Things we do that make money:

Market Day, it's only 10% and it's a lot of work if you have a lot of orders.  But it does well.

 

Gertrude Hawk candy, at Easter, they give 50% back.

 

School supply kits, there's a few companies, they give back about $5-10 back to the school.  In the spring the teachers make their supply lists and the company does the rest.  They sell them with backpacks as well.

 

Scrip, you order gift cards, to places you shop at anyway and those companies give a percentage back to the school.  Fannie May gives 25%, most restaurants give 8-10%.  Gas and grocery stores are on there too, so it really is money you were going to spend anyway.

 

We also do a school store, with pens, pencils and assorted (crap).  But the kids love it and it's a money maker.  It takes a lot of effort.

Bake sales once a month bring in over $100 almost every month.

Packer Bead sales, support your team, buy beads and a tattoo for $1.

 

We have 411 kids in our school and about 280 families.  

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#25 of 41 Old 11-26-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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Thanks to everyone for the tips! WOW,.....there are some lucky schools out there! I can't imagine a gala dinner for $150 a ticket....none of our families would be able to afford that. We did a baking/craft sale fundraiser and raised $250. We sold the frozen pizza and made $1000 (which is awesome). We really have to look outside the immediate school community, alot of our students don't have indoor shoes or winter jackets so their parents aren't going to sell stuff in catalogues.

 

Keep the ideas coming.....we are thinking of planning a scrapbooking weekend....and invite anyone from the community to rent a table....

 

Have you thought about asking neighborhood stores to donate food for a cookout, then asking a bank or other merchant in a busy area if you could use their parking lot on a Saturday to sell hot dogs and hamburgers for your school?  That way parents do not have to donate and you all can keep 100% of the profit.
 


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#26 of 41 Old 11-26-2010, 09:01 PM
 
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I don't know if you have looked into it or not, but natural playscapes are much cheaper to build than playground structures, and they can provide a lot of fun for kids (I think especially if you are in an urban area, but I am advocating for a natural playground in our rural community as well).

 

As far as fundraising goes - there are a couple of food companies - meats and chocolates - that many people around here do.  The prices are not actually high (I'd say the high end of normal or normal), and the profits for the fundraisers are apparently quite good.  So maybe a local butcher shop or chocolatier could be a good match.

 

Tjej

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#27 of 41 Old 11-27-2010, 06:14 AM
 
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I don't know if you have looked into it or not, but natural playscapes are much cheaper to build than playground structures, and they can provide a lot of fun for kids (I think especially if you are in an urban area, but I am advocating for a natural playground in our rural community as well).

 

 

Tjej


I mentioned upthread that there are organizations involved in greening schoolyards. They can help schools build these are the kind of play spaces.  One little caution is that you may run into some objections based on design.  My dd's school had a naturalized area, built maybe 15 or 20 years ago, before helicopter parenting and bubble-wrapped kids were such a trend.  It included a few trees grouped together and some large boulders. There were complaints while she attended, from some parents new to the school, that the trees prevented proper playground supervision and the boulders were dangerous if kids fell.  

 

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#28 of 41 Old 11-27-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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I don't do fundraising b/c my kids' school doesn't really do fundraising.  They raise money through an annual fund (we donate, but I do not make phone calls b/c I'm not good at that), an annual auction (which we donate to and pay for an ad in the auction book), the typical scholastic book fair (OK, so I volunteered to sit at that :)), and a toy sale at a local independent toy store.  That is it.  No door to door sales, no pushing candy or calendars or wrapping paper.  And I would NOT do that.  I'd write a check and be done with it.  We are at a private school though, fwiw.  That might make a difference.

 

I volunteer A LOT.  I have a preschooler and the volunteer opportunity there is mostly to do special projects with them...anything from making a craft to writing down what they are thankful for at thanksgiving to planting flowers in the school garden.  These are 3-5 year olds.  My older son in is K and volunteering there is sitting with the kids while they read out loud, helping them make special meals, helping them make their school year scrapbook, going on a field trip, helping with special events.  I also do some parents club type things...decorating for the teachers luncheon was my big one this year.  I've overdone it this semester and worn myself out simply b/c come Feb. I'm going to have a newborn and won't be able to do much.  I do that b/c it means a lot for my kids to see me at school helping out and invested in their school and their educations.  It does let me observe their classrooms and get to know their teachers better.  I get to see how my kids function in their classrooms.  It really raises my confidence in my decision to send them there, pay all that money, and offer an alternative education to them.  As they get older my volunteering will probably go more behind the scenes as that seems to be what older kids prefer vs. younger kids.

 

I think you probably need to look at different things...the economic status of the parents will make a difference in how much they can really afford to fundraise.  Do you have a lot of full time working parents who need different types of opportunities?  It can be really hard for the working moms to take time off work and volunteer for something.  Do the parents value what you are fundraising for?  Are you making things fun instead of a lot of work?

 

 

 


Mom to a 6 year old, a 3 year old, and a cuddly little newborn
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#29 of 41 Old 11-28-2010, 06:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post

 

Quote:

 

If you don't volunteer why don't you?

 

If you don't fundraise why don't you?

I work out of the home full time.  I don't have particularly flexible hours, and volunteer opportunities are largely during the work day.  I did make some effort to get involved in the PTA, but it was not a pleasant experience.  Our PTA is run by Ladies Who Lunch.  They were not welcoming, and had zero interest in scheduling anything for working parents.  I'ts perfectly understandable to me that if you are doing the work, you get to do the scheduling, but then let's not try to spritz everyone with Eau D' Guilt for not joining in.

 

I do not fundraise in any way, shape or form.  If I want my kids to participate in an activity, I'm happy to pay the full cost of the activity.  I don't think friends and family, or the larger community, should be called upon to fund my children's activities.  The amount of fundraising that goes on is beyond obnoxious.  There are some causes for which I will cheerfully write a check, so that the cause gets 100% of my money.  A playground for a school where my children were being educated would be such a cause.

 

But most fundraising involves an endless amount of busywork to get dollars to get 3X dollars (because of overhead, fundraiser costs,  corporate cuts, etc.) out of the same community of people doing the busywork, when those same people could just contribute X dollars directly and be done with it. 

 

Free time is my most precious commodity.  I'd much rather write a check then spend time on fundraisers.



Me too. (Thanks for writing my post for me! LOL)


Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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#30 of 41 Old 12-01-2010, 06:14 AM
 
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I will admit that I am the parent who just writes a check instead of buying/selling fundraising stuff.  I'd rather 100% of my money go to the school, and I don't have the room to keep junk.

 

BUT

 

This is the second year that our school has done this fundraiser:

Square 1 Art

and it has been a smashing success.  Not a single parent complained, and it has become our PTA's only fundraiser of the year because it was so successful.

 

The PTA, with approval from the principal, worked closely with the school's art teacher on this one.  The company provides a stack of 8 in x 8 in paper.  During art class in October, the art teacher had each child in the school make a drawing on one of these sheets of paper, and was careful to make certain that the student wrote his/her first name and the year on it.  The stack of art work was sent to the company, and the company digitizes each student's artwork.

 

In late October, each child brought home from school a brochure/order form asking parents to purchase products featuring the child's art work printed on it (i.e. mugs, T-shirts, mouse pads, etc.) One really cool feature was that the cover of the brochure was different and personalized for each child.  The pictures of the mugs/T-Shirts, etc on the brochure were printed with the child's actual artwork so that you could see exactly what you would be ordering.  The children were also sent home with a free sheet of stickers onto which his/her artwork was printed, to entice the parents to order some of the company's products.

 

The PTA collected the order forms and money from the parents in mid-Nov, and timed the deadline so that the ordered items arrived at the school in mid-December, just in time to be sent home with the children right before school was dismissed for the winter vacation.  This was planned so that parents could use this fundraiser as a way to take care of Christmas shopping for grandparents and relatives. 

 

The products I ordered last year were of surprisingly good quality, and there were some clever items to choose from.  For example, in addition to the standard mugs and mouse pad, last year I also bought some pot holders and a quilt square. Presto, shopping for the grandparents' Christmas presents were instantly taken care of.  This year, I placed an even bigger order, because I wanted to get some canvas tote bags for myself.

 

I didn't run the fund raiser, but the person who ran the fundraiser said that it was a pretty easy one to do and it raised a lot of money for us. It was very successful, because what parent doesn't want to buy at least one charming item with their kid's artwork on it?

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