Saturday, August 23, 2008


Yes folks, it's that time of year again.

"What time of year" you ask?

It's the time each year when our school kicks off it's annual fundraiser.

Every year it's the same thing. A lady comes to talk to all of the children in the school. She's usually dressed up in some great costume (rumor has it that this year, she was a pirate) She spends a good amount of time telling the kids about ALL OF THE COOL PRIZES THEY CAN EARN just by selling all the cheap crap lovely merchandise shown in the catalog given to them at the end of the day.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against school fundraisers, I just really don't like this one.

Why, you ask?

Because each year, my kids come home all hyped up about selling the stuff in these catalogs. and "YOU ONLY NEED TO SELL 250 ITEMS TO EARN OURSELF AN IPOD!!"

The "items" are usually very overpriced wrapping paper, but have now been expanded to include various overpriced nick-nacks and overpriced chocolates, and this year, they've also included jewelry, which isn't terribly overpriced, which leads me to wonder about the quality.
I won't buy this stuff, and I won't allow my kids to sell it.

(I will say that I have been known to buy fundraising items like cookie dough that I can hide in the back of the freezer, to be used in case of extreme stressed outedness, or a really bad chocolate craving fit, or breakfast, or whatever, but that's OK, because HEY! IT'S COOKIE COOKIE DOUGH!!!)

One of the rules that the school has set for selling the above mentioned items are that the kids can't go selling door to door.

Sidenote: When we were kids, this was the only way that we could sell our overpriced wrapping paper. I always took my brother with me whenever I needed to sell something, because he was a cute little kid, and he had these huge blue eyes , and he was really good at looking sad.

Plus he could cry on cue.

Whenever I took him with me to sell things, I usually sold about 5 times as much as I would without him.
I think my favorite time was when he came with me to sell that darned wrapping paper, and we went to a door where the lady said that she didn't need any wrapping paper, and as we turned around and started to walk away, he looked at me and said in a very sad voice "Well Jill, there goes Christmas." (He really did!) The lady suddenly decided that she did indeed need some wrapping paper, and called us back and bought some. (click on the link about my brother, you won't be sorry) (probably)

Anyway, back to the fundraiser. The "Packet" that they give the kids had a booklet with pages that the kids were supposed to fill out with "contact information" for people to sell this stuff to. If they brought it back, filled out, the next day, they would get a candy bar, and get to chose a cheap plastic toy out of the prize bucket!
I told my kids that I would buy them a candy bar, and they didn't need the cheap plastic toy from the toy bucket. They could just fish through the garbage and get back the Happy Meal toys that I just through away because I kept stepping on them with my bare feet.

These fundraising people suggest that my kids to sell stuff to our co-workers, neighbors, friends and family.

Our co-workers don't want any of this stuff (Besides, sometimes there are rules against this type of thing at work)
Our family doesn't want any of this stuff.
Our friends don't want any of this stuff.
Our neighbors don't want any of this stuff, and besides, all their kids are selling the same stuff!!

I can't imagine that the school really gets much out of this type of fundraiser. I think the real profits go to the companies who provide the items being sold, and even then, I can't imagine them having much of a profit margin with the amount of money they spend on printing those darn catalogs. My kids fundrasing packet included not one, not two, not even three, but four different catalogs, plus the nifty prize brochure, the order forms, collection envelopes and another sheet with instructions on how to order these things online.

This packet weighed over a pound!!

(Seriously, I got out my postage scale and weighed it. 1.05 pounds to be exact)

So that's one packet per child, times (approximately) 700 kids in the school
700 pounds of paper!

Times that by the amount of schools that these fundraising companies send these packets to, and you're looking at an obscene amount of paper.

That's a lot of dead trees.

Now I don't want to be one of those people who complain about something, but then don't offer any suggetsions. Nope, not me!

I has me an idea!

A while ago, I read about a fundraiser called "Willy Bingo." This fundraiser has the potential for earning $2,000 in mere minutes!

First, you start with a large field. You mark it off in 300 equal sections. You number the sections, and sell them for $10.00 a piece. When all of the sections are sold, someone lets a calf loose on the field.
You wait for the calf to take a dump. Whoever bought the section on which the cow pattie lands wins $1,000! (and the rest goes to the school)

I think it's a brilliant idea! It would be entertaining, because seriously, what's more fun than standing around watching a calf wander around a field waiting for it to................

What? Did you say that you live in an area where this wouldn't work because you don't have access to a field or a calf?

Well, my friends, do I have a solution for you!

Instead of the big field, use the school gym.

Instead of the calf, use a toddler.

Yes, we could call it "Max bingo!"

Unless, of course, you live in a state where gambling is illegal.

Does anybody want to buy some wrapping paper?


Threeundertwo said...

I would pay $10 for that show in a heartbeat.

I too, am completely against making my kids hawk awful junk to friends and neighbors. Here's a tip; you can write a check directly to the PTA for the amount of 1 or 2 of the prizes; they get the money, and the kid gets entered in any prize giveaways. This is what our PTA quietly tells parents about our magazine drive. The last thing I need around here is more magazines.

Adam and Kristina said...

On the etiquette board I belong to, school fundraisers are a hot topic. There are many, many people who have a pure hatred for them. You're a good person to not let kids go around to neighbors. I always feel like a horrible person when I say no to a poor child, who runs off crying that the mean neighbor lady doesn't want to by an encyclopedia.

Although, the tree killing thing makes me amibvalent. ;)

b. said...

You have captured perfectly my thoughts on this fund raising matter.

The calf and field idea? BRILLIANT!!
I'm suggesting it at the next PTA meeting (actually, I opted out of that this year too...).

Jo said...

I can't believe all the fun I missed homeschooling my kids! And because Little Man is in Special Ed, guess what? They don't give those packets to "those" kids. Not that I am complaining, I am not! Whoo hoo!

Jo said...

Wait, Kristina, you belong to an etiquette board?

JustRandi said...

I hate fundraisers and have disallowed my kids from participating in them since my oldest was in second grade.
But Willy Bingo might make me reconsider!

Motorcycle Grandma said...

I hated these school fund raisers and I hate getting hit up by my friends' kids. When my kids were still in school, I donated my time and some money. It's a much better use of resources.

Torina said...

I was going to mention that I live next to a big field with easy access to cows and their baby calfs...but I still get over that Kristina is on an etiquette board. Wha?! Is this a board that is against etiquette? Cause then THAT would make sense ;-)

Adam and Kristina said...

Haha, very funny ladies. I'm super prim and proper, don't you know?!?!

Some of it's about forks and how to sit, blah, blah, blah, which I could care less about, but most of it's just about how to interact with people on a daily basis.

petersons said...

I only fundraisers I like are when they sell the cookie dough. Even though it's overpriced, I know I'll eat it, and it's good. Now girl scout cookies...yes please!

Busty LaRue said...

That is hilarious! I love your fundraiser idea. And, both ideas would work for our schools. We have fields and calfs, and gyms and toddlers. :)

I remember those packets! When I was in school, we had to sell door to door, but in my neighborhood soliciting was not allowed, so we kids were pretty much all SOL.

Bonnie the Boss said...

My kids do this same exact stupid fund raiser at their school. I throw the 1 lb. packet of paper in the recycling bin and give each of my kids an envelope with $10 in it to give to their teacher. That way the school gets all the money not $2 after the company takes their share. I like your idea though. My sisters school does a walk-a-thon type thing. Gets the kids exersizing and earns $ too. No crappy chocolate involved.

Tausha said...

so-you did this post at 1 in the morning. Guess you were a little more distraught about this than you even let on! :)
I agree with the stupid fundraiseres. I think that schools should sell something consumable. Like cookie dough-or whatever else we could possibly buy that us moms could hide until the day that we are about to lose our minds!
I would even rather have a magazine drive. Nope-we do the lame wrapping paper crap. So just know that you are not alone! Nope-I am a disgrunted mom when it come to fundraisers-you my dear are in good company! Who knows-maybe some pta president somewhere will read this post and start something. I am sure that you will turn out to be a hero to people! So worth the 1am ranting! Rock on girl! I am hoping that this post makes sense. I am still a little tired from a late night. Yep-that is an excuse for my laziness. :)

mommeeof9 said...

My kids do not participate in fund raisers at school or seeling stuff for their boy scout and girl scout troups. The last girl scouut cookie sale, the leader said they get about 60 cents per box for the troup. I told her I'll give them $15 per kid and not sell any.

Tenise said...

Hahahaha!!! We're moving back to Idaho next week. I'm totally suggesting that! We've got cows and fields everywhere there. And if it's considered gambling, it's not a far drive to the reservation, where it's all good!

I hate those other fundraisers.

MamaHenClucks said...

I really, really want to play bingo of that sort! I just laughed out LOUD over that. What a fantastic idea.

This year my son's school sent home a waiver to sign. If you signed it, they would NOT send home the fundraising packet. If not, home it came. I signed that paper and sent it back so fast the ink didn't have a chance to dry. I LOATHE fundraisers.

Unless someone is selling me cookie dough or butter braids. or playing poop bingo. Then, I'm in.

utmomof5 said...

I would pay at least $10 to be in that fundraiser!! Ha Ha!!!

I am so glad my kids school doesn't do that -- they just come right out adn say "Give us donations and then we don't have to do any of these dumb fundraisers!" Not having to do a fundraiser is worth making a donation!!

Hey It's Di said...

I couldn't agree with you more on the fundraiser thing. It really gripes me! And the packet of paper is really over the top. I was just complaining that our school district wastes a lot of paper. First they sent me a seperate letter for each child indicating they were not eligible for bus transportation. Then they sent 6 more seperate letter (2 for each child addressed to first me and then my husband) with their account # and password for their system.

USE LESS PAPER and you will have more money! I LOVE The idea of the calf dumping deal. It is awesome! I spent the weekend cleaning up poop though and it sucked:(

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

It's a fantastic idea. Go for it. The schools get a very small cut from the fundraisers; and it's just a stupid way to raise money.

Crystal said...

Love it, love it, love it! I always hated those fund raisers as a child. Yes to Willy Bingo, or duck races, or . . . c'mon, there have got to be nine hundred million more creative ways to make money out there.

JustRandi said...

Still laughing about your post!
AND I came by to tell you I have some blog-bling for you when you get a chance to stop by.

Lisa said...

This is so funny! I have always hated how they have absolutely NO FUNDRAISERS in the schools in Poland. Not even a Chevy's night or anything. Now you've helped me realize I should be grateful we don't have too many or the wrong kind of fund raiser. This was a fun read, Jill. Thanks!

Elizabeth said...

I kind of like the magazine least the school gets 50%! My sister has only the eldest child in the school participate...I renew subscriptions for people to things they already get! Junky stuff and wrapping paper are just annoying!
Thank God for Homeschooling! Maybe I should call my upcoming yard sale a "homeschool fundraiser"
I wonder if I would get more sales? I just hope to get rid of the crap.
Loved the "Bingo" idea...That would be hilarious.

Brillig said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh my GOSH, you're KILLING ME! So funny. Yeah, I don't let my kids participate in fundraisers. Cuz I'm a bad mom like that. No, I think you've definitely stumbled upon the perfect solution. I have a couple of toddlers I could lend the school too.

Melissa said...

The best fundraiser we were ever involved in was in Oregon. They did a "Boys vs. Girls" and for each quarter they brought in they got a stamp - blue for boys, pink for girls. They made a little path through the gym with the stamps. In the end the girls won... what did they win? Bragging rights - and the $1,000 raised went completely to the school!!

The Pollocks! said...

So, I found your blog through justrandi's. You're hilarious. Our ingenious school gave us parents the option to "buy out" of the fund raising experience this year. First of all, the PTE gets ALL the money you contribute, not just 30%, and, it's actually quite ingenious. It goes like this: If you pay $25 they promise not to send our kids home with the spring fund raising materials and will entertain them elsewhere during the assembly advertising it. $50 gets you that, plus a free DQ blizzard at the 4 scheduled sales during the year. $75 gets you all of the above, plus a free pass into some other fund raising event - family dance or family game night AND a free yearbook. $100 is all of the above plus a free piece of school spirit clothing. Not a bad idea, huh? They call it "GOOF" free: Get Out Of Fundrasing.

Jessica G. said...

Not looking forward to fundraisers...but might pay some money for Willy Bingo.

Reading your post brings back memories of my days hawking chocolate door to door. Might have to post about it. ;)

Mum-me said...

The school in the district where my parents live actually did the Cow Bingo - only they used the school playground as the field and borrowed a cow from a local dairy farmer. They raised an enormous amount of money, and then they bagged up the cow manure and sold it too!

I hate those catalogue funraisers too. Chocolates work best, and probably always will. I know I'd rather give the neighbour's child $1 for a chocolate bar and have them go away happy - all over with in 30 seconds.

Seriously, so blessed! said...

YOU WIN!! Love you! BAAA!

Maraiya said...

Amen Sister Golden Hair! We have a jog-a-thon here and may I say that I'm a much bigger fan of the straight-up donation than having to pay twice as much so the school gets the same amount and I end up with either cheap junk or more fat on my thighs.

Andrea Hardman said...

I'm coming out of lurkdom for this one. I LOVE that cow idea. Has that acctually been done? Oh, I'd pay for that one. Our parents have complained so much that we don't do junk fundraisers anymore. We do a coin competition. All the kids bring in coins and compete between the grades. In the newsletter, they ask that every family donate about $20 in coins. We all will even if it is just a sacrifice to appease the gods so they won't send us another plage of wrapping paper! Heaven help us.

Amber said...

My favorite 'fundraiser' is the PTA selling fundraiser insurance. They set an amount that they need to earn and if they can raise that amount by such and such a date they don't do any fundraisers. One school suggested $5 per family. It's awesome.