It's that time of year again…school is starting and the fund raising order forms are appearing everywhere.
They hit you with the guilt trip. The band/football team/soccer team/choir/chess club doesn't have enough money for uniforms/goals/music stands/rooks so PLEASE can you dig deep and help them?
And in return, you get some crap: A 40-cent candy bar for $2.50; a popcorn tin with a half-life; an overpriced stinky candle, Xmas wrapping paper in August. Hell, you name it and they will mark it up 15% and sell it to you. In the interests of fund raising, of course.
And rest assured…the fund raising group that need the help will get a whopping 20 cents from each dollar you give. This is after the organization that provides the aforementioned candy/popcorn/candle/crap takes their share.
I blame the Girl Scouts. They started it all.
I saw one of these forms today (candles for a football team) and I had a thought….why not just ask people to help by donating MONEY? Yes, that green stuff that hardly any of us carry around anymore. Have we gotten so selfish nowadays that we need to GET something in order to GIVE something? If my friend's sister's son's football team needs money for tackling dummies, why not just tell me this and ask for $5? Don't bother with the crappy products. Don't bother with the management organization taking their unbelievable cut of the profits. Simplify, people. Simplify.
And another thought…why not do what "real" sports teams do? Get sponsors. Hit up the neighborhood McDonald's, the local Trophy Shop, the corner Blockbuster. Frame it as a Market Opportunity. Dozens of teenagers will see these shirts/tackling dummies/softball gloves. If that's the business' target audience, let them have the opportunity to reach that target audience. For a price, of course.* Long live capitalism!
Our daycare sent home a fund raising sheet last fall. Seems our weekly fees were not enough and they needed money for some new playground equipment. I can't remember what the product was that we were supposed to pimp, but I was having none of it. On the day that we were to turn in our "orders", I walked in and asked what the average sales was looking like, per kid. Then I wrote a check for that amount ($50) as a donation.
I saved time, I probably saved money, I saved embarrassing myself by hitting up friends and neighbors to buy crappy popcorn balls and I saved having to eat/smell/wrap the crap that my own "order" would have netting me in return, when my friends/neighbors didn't buy enough.
Why do we make this so hard?!
* Hopefully we wouldn't end up with too many teams renamed to "The Trojans". Snicker.