Do you know what school starting back up is synonymous with? Aside from early mornings where everyone bitches, doesn’t eat their breakfast, and then whines about being hungry? And also loses the mate to every single pair of shoes they own?
I’m pretty sure they shove the fundraiser forms at kids the second they enter school on their very first day. Forget school handbooks, emergency contact forms, and all that crap — fundraiser forms are priority number one. This means that basically from late August until mid May, anyone with a child is a social pariah. People will go great lengths to avoid being asked if they want to support Little Johnny popcorn or fruit crate fundraiser.
I hate school fundraisers almost as much as I hate zucchini, and that’s saying something. It’s like that song from Annie, It’s A Hard Knock Life, where the little orphans are singing about all the shit Miss Hannigan makes them do, but with adults and selling useless crap instead of cleaning.
It’s the hard-knock life for us
It’s the hard-knock life for us
Always making us sell useless shit
To buy more cheap Chromebooks for your kids
It’s the hard-knock life!
(Excuse me while I go rewrite the disgruntled parents version of Annie.)
When I was a kid, we had one big fundraiser for school where we sold wrapping paper. Apparently at Christmastime, there was a massive shortage of wrapping paper, so it was crucial to sell the same thing you could buy at Walmart at a 300 percent markup. And then there was a fundraiser with the softball team where we sold candy. Candy wasn’t a problem, since most people didn’t cringe when they saw you coming their way with those big boxes of M&Ms. Except for that one lady who yelled at me for trying to kill her because she was diabetic, anyway. (That’s every 10-year-old’s dream — to rid the world of the diabetics. Sigh.)
Things are different now. They sell lots more useless crap now, and depending on which school your kids go to (not the boy’s), the kids who sell the most useless crap are treated like celebrities for a day. One year there was a limo ride to a local pizza place, followed by playing in a bounce house rental. I think that was the same year, at least.
There’s also the “Fun Runs.” Little Man has repeatedly asked what the heck is supposed to be so fun about these Fun Runs, but I’m not really sure.
Maybe an inflatable obstacle course would be lots of fun, but jogging around a track or inside of a gym isn’t anyone’s definition of fun. Some years they do Color Runs, which I have a love-hate relationship with. On one hand, it’s fun to squirt my kid in the face with the colored chalk stuff, but on the other hand, I have to let him ride home in my car. We’ll call that the Sorta Fun Run. (By the way, I was so disappointed at the first Color Run. For whatever reason, I thought we got to throw large paint balls at the children. We did not.)
It is my dream that one day the schools will have fundraisers that the parents will actually enjoy. Instead of being forced to wait tables for a night at a restaurant so the school can keep the tips (whoever the hell came up with this horrible idea for a fundraiser can go straight to hell) or harass coworkers to buy garbage, we need fundraisers that are actually fun. There has to be a way a person can raise funds while not hating their own existence, right?
There are two ways you can go with this. First, parents vs. other parents. Charge $10 per participant and have fun launching balls at the heads of the other parents you loathe for an hour. Second, parents vs. kids. Same idea, plus you get to unleash some of that pent-up aggression over certain individuals leaving messes all over the house again. Borrow balls from the school, meet in a public space, and it’s all profit.
Instead of getting people to pledge a buck or whatever for your kid to walk a quarter-mile, how about getting people to pledge money for each glass of wine or beer you drink? Some of the…more seasoned…moms would probably be able to raise the rest of the funds needed to build the new playground in no time at all.
And if you aren’t a drinker, then get people to pledge money for each glass of water or Coke you drink. You’re with other adults, kid-free, having fun, and raising money, so it’s a win-win situation.
Adult Fun Raffle
Some schools have Fundraiser Raffles where they get people and companies to donate all sorts of stuff, you buy a bunch of tickets, and then you put your ticket in the bag for whichever item you want. Some of the items at these raffles are neat, but others just blow. (Why the hell would I want to put my ticket in the $1 oven mitt raffle vs. the beach weekend raffle?)
At the Adult Fun Raffle, there will be no oven mitts, kiddie art classes, or coloring book sets raffled off. Gift cards for the local pub, babysitting vouchers, date night supplies, etc. will all be raffled. Baked goods — but not the kid-friendly kind — will be raffled. You get the idea. We’ll even let Karen raffle off the rest of her Pure Romance stock, and we’ll take her word for it than everything is unused.
See? Fundraisers really can be fun. Or at least not kill-me-now painful.
If you could come up with a fun fundraiser, what would you choose?
Good news on the book front — I finished the rough draft. Anyone who emailed me about being a beta reader for the book can expect an email soon with a PDF file of the book. If anyone would like to be a beta reader and hasn’t already gotten in touch with me, email firstname.lastname@example.org.