I love autumn. The weather gets cooler, the leaves turn colors, football season is in full swing and fundraising season is winding down. Yes, I said it — the dreaded “f” word (and this time I’m not talking about the 4-letter “f” word that rhymes with ‘art’ and makes my skin crawl). If you have kids in school, be it elementary, middle or high school, then you know what I’m talking about. ‘Tis the season for school spirit wear sales, book fairs, magazine drives, wrapping paper campaigns, team car washes, mattress bargains (yes, that’s a real thing) and boosterthons (be it a run-, jog- or walk-athon). Even the annual fall class picture day event is a fundraiser. Multiply these activities by the number of kids you have and the requests become overwhelming.
I get that these fundraisers are necessary in order to provide our children with cool and unique experiences not covered in the school budget (insert commonly expressed, “What do I pay taxes for?” remark here). And while I appreciate that most of these campaigns are highly localized, reaching only our school community, it’s the larger appeals that stress me out. The drives and -thons. The ones for which teachers bribe students to guilt out-of-town family members and friends into ponying up money for a magazine subscription or pledging $1.00+ for every lap they run (knowing full well that every kid is encouraged to complete 35 laps) in exchange for some small prize.
Problem is, those of us with kids (or those of you with grandkids, nieces, nephews or even just friends with kids) are inundated with the same requests. Every kid in every school comes home with the same magazine drive, the same boosterthon campaign, the same candy/wrapping paper/tchotchke sale. Maybe if schools started selling wine or raffling off useful commodities like a night of free babysitting or a reserved parking spot at Back to School night, they’d see a better return. I, for one, do not need any more wrapping paper and will most likely never buy my mattress from the high school football team … and I’m pretty sure neither will my parents, sister or friends.
So if you recently got an email from me about a school fundraiser, know that I sent it against my will and do not expect you to contribute. Really. But if you are so inclined, thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ll try to return the favor so your kid, too, can come home with a new boomerang or wrist band he’ll never use.
P.S. This hysterical Texas middle school fundraising letter (shown below) has been making its way around the internet to the delight of parents everywhere … Genius!