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Kid Fundraising Methods Reviewed

OCTOBER 05, 1999 | PAULA WRAY

It’s that time of year when we are besieged by pint-sized salespeople raising money for their school, club, or sport, and I feel the need to blow off a little steam. So I offer my review of various fund-raising methods.

The convoluted campaign

Once upon a time a psychotic PTA president with too much time on her hands was approached by a slick sales rep from the Jun-Key Merchandise company who had figured out a way to legally use child labor to sell his goods.  Evidently the school made a lot of money, because 30 years later your kindergartner comes home from school with 3 catalogs of merchandise, a prize list, order forms, and 2 pages of instructions including order due date,  delivery date, money-due date, and distribution procedures. As you stare in bewilderment, you realize that it is not your 5-year-old who will be selling this stuff, rather you will become a parasite on your fellow employees for the next 13 years. Try not to be too embarrassed when you ask your workmate to hand over $10 for 3 ounces of stale chocolate. After all, you are now obligated to buy something from each of her children next time they are selling. And together we make the Jun-Key Merchandise company very rich.

Socially acceptable begging

At the opposite extreme of complexity, a more straightforward little league coach once devised this brilliant fund-raising plan - give the kids each a can and drop them off in front of a popular store to beg for handouts.  Hence, we can hardly walk into Walmart without being accosted by these junior pan-handlers who look as embarrassed as we feel. I ask you, what does this teach our children about how to make a buck?

The American work ethic

I truly admire a group of kids willing to work - not just sell - to earn money for their cause. They wash cars, they make sandwiches, cook hot dogs, fry potatoes, boil spaghetti. They’re not asking for a donation; they give you something for your money. Three cheers!!

The simple transaction

This is my absolute favorite!  Hand me a candy bar (or sandwich coupon); I’ll hand you a buck. Transaction complete - beautiful in its simplicity.  I don’t mind buying them; I don’t mind selling them. I implore HSA members and coaches everywhere - think candy bars.