Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Taking the Fun out of Fundraising

No one really enjoys fundraising.  Well, there might be a few folk out there.  But the simple fact is that sometimes, you need to raise money for a project or a nonprofit.  And your own checking account simply isn't padded enough to do it yourself.
The key to fundraising, of course, is to find something people want and sell it for a profit.
And the most popular fundraising options?  Food.
No one wants overpriced wrapping paper and holiday cards.  People will sponsor kids to walk or read...but it's essentially asking for a hand out. 
People like candy.  And cookie dough.  People are willing to go to restaurants when they hold fundraising nights.  An afterschool popsicle, a slice of pizza at after school events, it all falls under 'fun' spending.
Unless, of course, you have food allergies.

 People with food allergies don't necessarily buy that type of food "anyways".  And it's remarkably difficult to sell something you don't believe in.  The conversation goes something like this:
"Hi, would you like to buy XXX?"
"Oh, I just love XXX, don't you?"
"Not really.  I'm not allowed to eat it 'cause I have allergies."
"That's too bad.  You must be disappointed."
"No, there's artificial colors and GMOs and lots of corn syrup, so it's not very good for you anyways."
"I mean, it looks really good, but Mommy makes cookies so I don't feel left out, and they taste even better."
"That's nice..."
"I probably wouldn't eat XXX even if I could cause it's so bad for you."
"But I think you'd like some, it looks good!"
"Maybe next year..."

Sometimes there's some discussion about preservatives and allergies and the Standard American Diet.  Really, it's hard to sell something you don't believe in.  So, this year we are taking a stand.  We don't buy certain food items, so we won't sell them either.  The exception being Girl Scout Cookies (which I might actually buy, if our goals were just health and environmentally motivated.)  We might advocate restaurant nights.  We'll work the popsicle booth, since they sometimes sell fruit juice pops.
But we won't sell candy or popcorn.  Or cookie dough, or more candy.  We'll buy and sell scrip, we'll walk in the Walk-a-Thon.  We'll attend bookfairs.
But somewhere, we have to draw the line.  I wouldn't be concerned if it really were once in awhile, but it's not.  And now candy takes precedence over other fundraisers, since more kids apparently participate.  Someone has to draw the line.
Now, the only question left is...how are we going to pay for Science Camp?
*sigh*  We'll manage.  I think this one, small issue is worth standing strong on.

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