Budget Cuts, School Fundraising, & Kids – Recipe for Embarrassment?

Budget Cuts, School Fundraising, & Kids – Recipe for Embarrassment?

Everyone is well aware of the desperate condition of our federal and state education budgets in the current economy.   For us here in Colorado, the Governor recently proposed a $375 million cut to the state education budget for the 2011/2012 school year.  This is on top of the $146 million cut in 2010.   Per student this equates to about $750 less funding than just two years ago.   I don’t think that any parents want to see their children get less education, so how are we going to make it up?

The legislators and school boards are making tough decisions about which programs to cut and how to ask teachers to work harder for less money, but ultimately a large portion of this burden is going to be carried by parents.  For us, with 5 kids in public school – we have $3,750 each year that we need to bring to the table somehow.  Some of this will be out of our control, like having to pay $150 per child to ride the school bus.  But for some of it, those dreaded PTA fundraisers are going to become more and more important.

School Fundraising Ideas

Last year was our first year in a new school.  Between my stepsons and our children, this is the fourth elementary school that we’ve been a part of and therefore the fourth fundraising program that we’ve participated in.  Without attending so many schools, I would not have realized how varied the fundraising activities are depending on the temperature of the school PTA leadership.

Very few people actually like fundraising; however, there are  definitely some items that are easier to sell than others.  At our new school, the PTA has decided to sell cookie dough.  At $15 a tub!

I was too embarrassed to actually ask any of my family or coworkers to buy any.  My kids asked my parents and of course as good grandparents do, they were willing to ante up the ridiculous price – but I refused to allow them to buy it.

So, now what?  How am I going to make $3,750 every year if I’m too embarrassed to participate in the school fundraisers?

Last week, one of my blogging friends, LeeAnn, brought a fundraising group to my attention – Big Event Fundraising.  They claim to have better quality products, better quality prizes, and more value for the price than other school fundraising organizations, but of course I was skeptical so looked into it further.

They have a large variety of products that I really like.  The type I’m drawn to is the seasonal selections of which my favorite is the Kitchen & Home brochure.  The items for sale are really cute, useful and appear to be of good quality.  The prices are not inexpensive, but don’t set off my embarrassed to ask for these prices alarm either.

I did notice that they also have a cookie dough program (along with discount cards, chocolate, specialized jewelry, and frozen foods).  The cookie dough costs are equivalent to the program our school used last year – $15 a tub.   Apparently, this is just the price for this fundraiser and perhaps I just need to take a deep breath and realize this is the future of fundraising.  I can’t really argue with the results – our school raised $75,000 during last year’s one week cookie dough sales event.

Incentive Prizes

My favorite part of the Big Event Fundraising that differs from other programs, is the selection of prize incentives they provide.  Rather than cheesy little Dollar Tree equivalent prizes that the kids lose interest in within moments, this organization has the option to set up fun filled events that the whole school can participate in.   From a live reptile exhibit to giant sized slip and slides to a magic show – they are really cool and give the kids something to remember.

So what school fundraising events have been the most successful in your school?  Which ones do you like to participate in the most?

**This post was sponsored by Big Event Fundraising, however, the content is entirely my own and was not influenced by them in any way.

2 Responses to Budget Cuts, School Fundraising, & Kids – Recipe for Embarrassment?

  1. I know my comment is pretty late, but I always liked the chocolate fundraiser my dance team did. We sold chocolate bars (plain milk chocolate, chocolate almond, and chocolate with caramel) for $1.25/each. It was a huge success and lacked the embarrassment factor because

    1) they tasted awesome,

    2) they were pretty fairly priced,

    3) people could buy one with pocket change (and often did),

    4) it’s impossible for anybody to feel highly pressured and uncomfortable about making a $1.25 purchase,

    5) we were allowed to bring our cases of chocolate to school, meaning that, in a classroom full of hungry teenagers with vending machine money in their pockets, they practically sold themselves, &

    6) we had the chocolate with us, so it was a very simple process. No smelling candle samples, no flipping through catalogues, no delivering merchandise – someone gives you five quarters, you hand them a candy bar, and you’re done.

    The money added up, too, because it was so easy to sell them. It was the only fundraiser that I didn’t find mortifying.

    • I’ve enjoyed the chocolate fund raisers too Ashley. My only, and I mean only, complaint being that the chocolate is SO good that I end up eating them too and my weight surely doesn’t appreciate it. But I think they are reasonably priced, people can be supportive with only $1 and they are great quality. Thanks for reminding me of that one.

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