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What Type of School Fundraiser to Avoid

Aug 18, 2007
The type of Fundraiser to avoid when students are involved is the donation based fundraiser. This is for a myriad of reasons which will be discussed shortly. But first it's important to establish what exactly a donation based fundraiser is as no fundraising company will usually admit to running such an operation.

A donation based fundraiser is one in which money is solicited and no product is in fact sold. It's pretty simple; if you as a teacher or coach are sending students out or sending letters out requesting money and providing no actual product or service, you are in fact involved with a donation or begging fundraiser.

This leads to the next and most important question. Why are donation fundraisers bad, particularly when students are involved? First, in order to raise funds, requests are made to family members, friends of family, and local businesses. All of the aforementioned individuals will feel compelled through guilt to donate money even though they may not particularly want to.

So in the donation fundraiser, some of the individuals do donate money. However, they subsequently feel resentful for having been pestered for money and having relented. This leads to damaged relationships with friends, family and parents business acquaintances. While this is not to say family relationships will be destroyed, as this will likely not be the case; but these relationships are certainly not furthered through this type of financial begging and manipulation.

The second reason why begging or donation based fundraisers are bad is by far the most important. When leading a student group in a fundraiser, the secondary purpose is actually to raise money; the primary purpose is actually to help these students on their way to becoming responsible adults, capable of functioning independently. To function independently in world, these students must know how the world operates.

The world works absolutely nothing like a donation fundraiser. In fact only the homeless, corrupt politicians and televangelists operate in that fashion. The world runs on capitalism, wherein individuals never give their money in exchange for nothing. They choose to use money to purchase goods or services.

In this way, donation or begging fundraisers are clearly bad for students, their families and society in general. This being said, what is then the alternative for groups who must raise money?

The answer is to get involved with a product fundraiser. Ideally this will involve direct sale rather than pre-sale, but what is most important is that you treat the fundraiser as a teachable moment to demonstrate how the business world operates. From this most basic premise, you can explain small business ideas and terms like gross profit, gross margin, and cash based accounting, etc. For many students, this will absolutely be their first experience with the business world or concepts therein, albeit on a small scale. The possibility cannot be discounted however, that this foray into entrepreneurialism might put them onto a path in the business world.

It's clear then that fundraisers are about more than making money for student organizations. They're about doing what's most beneficial to students, their families and society. And to that end, the impetus is definitely away from donation based fundraisers and toward direct sale fundraisers.
About the Author
Alec Moreland promotes nutrition to reduce obesity in America's Schools. Learn to fundraise in compliance with USDA "HealthierUS School" regulations "Team Nutrition" standards and State Wellness Policies at http://healthyfundraisingsolutions.com/ Contact Alec at alec@healthyfundraisingsolutions.com
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