And if you have school-age children (or grandchildren, or nieces or nephews or friends with kids), it's even worse. School is a place where children go to learn both academics and how to interact with others. It’s also become a place where children learn to become experts at soliciting money.
It seems that every few weeks there’s another fundraiser going on. A walk-a-thon for diabetes research. A jump rope competition for the American Heart Association. A football game for cancer research. A magazine sale to raise money for playground equipment. A wrapping paper sale, a jog-a-thon, a pop can drive, a candy sale, a change drive, a golf outing.
Non-stop fundraising has become big business in this area.
Somewhat disturbing is how children are “encouraged” to raise more and more money by the prizes offered to top sellers.
All of these efforts are for great causes, but it becomes harder and harder for people to decide when and where to donate. Unless you’re making a salary in the six figures — or live alone with no expensive hobbies to drain your bank account — you simply can’t give to everyone who comes asking.
And at some point, it's time to say enough's enough. That point is now.
Schools should take a careful look at exactly what fundraisers in which they’re asking children to take part, and take special care not to ask too much of these youngsters who are busy enough with band practice, soccer practice, youth groups, piano lessons, chess club and Girls on the Run.
A great example to follow is how Rosy Mound Elementary School in Grand Haven Township has just one fundraiser a year — a jog-a-thon in early May. It’s a wildly successful way to raise money for the school’s PTA, which then uses that money to cover all the shortcomings that the state budget misses. It raises tens of thousands of dollars in one fell swoop, while schools that host multiple fundraisers only bring in a thousand or so with each attempt. In the end, Rosy Mound wins, and parents and neighbors win, too.
We'd all be thankful if other schools followed Rosy Mound's successful fundraising path and stop asking for too much, too often.