Parents & Coaches, Fundraisers For Things Like Fancy Uniforms Are Not Necessary
Last summer, the amazing non-profit preschool my daughter had attended for the previous two years was in danger of permanently closing due to the pandemic and subsequent low enrollment. There were no returning board members left at the school, so a small group of the veteran parents banded together to see if we could make it work.
We didn’t have enough funds to make it through the school year, but took a leap of faith that we could get there with some fundraising. Our alumni parents helped tremendously and got us most of the way there. So we put together a bunch of fundraisers – which is extremely time consuming, as anyone knows who’s ever been a part of fundraising for their kids activities.
It was draining. And the worst part was, we got very little participation. I would have been better off to have written the school a check for $1000 than doing any of it. Because that’s how much money it ended up costing me personally, and is more than we actually raised. It made me so sad; how we could be trying so hard to do something good for the community by keeping this school open, and no one wanted to even buy a raffle ticket?
I don’t blame the parents, or anyone who’s a parent these days. We are absolutely, positively inundated with fundraisers.
I have four kids who do a lot of activities. In the past year, I have been asked to sell something for their activities THIRTY-SEVEN times. That is not an exaggeration. I counted. And I’m sure there are some I’ve forgotten about. HOW CAN ANYONE BE EXPECTED TO DO ALL THIS? There’s only so many times you can bug Grandma to buy your candles (who is also being bugged by her other nine grandchildren), and all your neighbors and friends have their own junk to sell too.
Here’s the thing: I have no problem with trying to raise money for trips to Disney, or if, ahem, a school is trying to just keep its doors open and make it to next year. But we’re raising money for home jerseys, away jerseys, warm-up suits, custom professional banners, personalized bags and socks and hairbows … I mean, things our kids honestly don’t even need. Especially not when it comes at the expense of every mother’s sanity and time, not to mention budget? Because let’s be honest, moms. We know who is the one doing all the work to run these fundraisers — us. So many hours. For so much unnecessary bling.
Look how much these kids have given up in the last year. And look how well they’re doing! They have proven they don’t need all this junk. Maybe our love and admiration of their accomplishments is enough? Imagine how much more time we could spend with them if we weren’t constantly trying to give them all this unnecessary stuff.
Can we please go back to the times that the kids got a t-shirt and that was it? That was the home uniform, the away uniform, the spiritwear, the keepsake for the year. And moms can go back to just showing up to watch a few games a week and maybe work in the snack bar once or twice. Moms – doesn’t that sound amazing?
By the way, not every family can afford to foot the bill for all the fundraisers that they are forced to participate in. So where is the inclusivity in that? It shouldn’t cost $600 a season for our kids to play basketball for the school. Not to mention, when kids DO want to raise money for something really big or important or necessary, they can’t sell anything because we’re all so burnt out on fundraising.
Now that we’ve all gone without for the past year, can we PLEASE take this opportunity to scale back on all the “extra” that we’ve made their activities about? Our kids won’t miss it, I promise. I think they’d rather have our time anyway.