The fun in fundraising


I spent the afternoon in a restaurant listening to some very compelling arguments for privatizing our school’s fundraising.

LOL – jk!

They weren’t compelling at all. In fact, they were tired and embarrassing. Pie in a teacher’s face? (snort!) Amateurs…

Since the ancient Greeks started sending their kids to listen to philosophers and mathematicians, (as in, “I’m trying to get this pottery cleaned up! Take your stick and go make equations with Pythagoras!) schools have been raising money. (“Mom, Pythagoras says we all need to bring a coin for Theorem-a-Thon!”)

more sheckels

Someone’s not getting a frisbee!

Our schools are underfunded. That’s not news. If you want an understanding of the public school budget system, I recommend the Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger. Share them with your kids if you want them to be just as disappointed and cynical about education.

But there’s something inherently stupid about hiring a private company to fund-raise for you. Because what’s Suze Orman’s number one rule of money? Pay Yourself First. (or is it, Whiten those teeth, girlfriend? Nope – pretty sure it’s pay yourself first.)

And it’s not your school getting paid first if you’re hiring professionals. In fact, as I watched tables of volunteer moms, principals, and teachers scarf down salads and breadsticks, I wanted to shout:

“Who paid for this lunch? Who bought these pens? Who pays the salaries of Dynamite Dave and his motivational pals?”


Why, yes, Charlton Heston, it IS people. It’s people with kids in public school, sometimes even the kids themselves.

Now, wait a minute, this is something new… It’s ALL-INCLUSIVE! The parents don’t have to do anything! They just circulate a few posts (each day for 2 weeks) on social media. Generous donors open their wallets, and cash pours in! The fundraisers take care of EVERYTHING.

One savvy (or unwitting) school principal asked a telling question: What’s the biggest mistake schools make in your experience?

“I would say, just showing up on the day and expecting everything to be perfect,” said Dynamite Dave.

Ummmmm, did I miss something? I thought that’s what you were selling!

Well, she continued,  what’s the best way to increase our earnings and involvement?

2015-12-12 09.26.46

Wait for it…

“There’s a lot of great ideas for themes and stuff on Pinterest.”

PINTEREST!?!? Are you f*cking serious?

Parent volunteers, let me save you at least 50 cents of every dollar your poor kids scrape up for that safe, tetanus-free playground, and that recently-charged fire extinguisher…

Just get on Pinterest and do the goddamned fundraiser yourself. You’re going to be doing the work, anyway, and you’ll be in charge because it’s small-batch and local, not insert-your-name-here.

Until communities stop starving schools, we’re going to have to raise money. It’s dazzling to think it’s as easy as signing up with a slick fundraising company. These are scams, and they should be ashamed.

I want 100% for my kids’ school. Thanks for the breadsticks.


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