Thursday, October 14, 2010

back in the olden days when Mr. D and I were DINKS

we lived in a neighborhood FULL of kids. We were legendary on our street because most of those kids attended the local parochial school. For those of you not "in the know," parochial schools are notorious for fundraisers. The PS Mr. T currently attends sends home at least one "fundraising opportunity" every week. Anyway, Mr. D and I cannot refuse a kid peddling frozen cookie dough, pizzas, gift wrap, fruit, Girl Scout Cookies or magazine subscriptions. We bought it all and we bought it with vigor. Consequently, the neighborhood kids figured out how to maximize the profits at 621 Taylor Street.

They'd hit me up when I'd get home from my teaching job around 4:00. "Sure, Angie. We'll take five pizzas." I'd leave the house around suppertime for my evening gig as choreographer of the high school musical and Mr. D would roll in the driveway at 6:00. The neighbor kids would ambush him. "Sure, Angie. Put us down for six pizzas." Delivery day would come and one of us would stand at our front door cutting a check for TWO separate orders. Smart kids. Suffice it to say, our freezer was never empty the entire time we lived in that town.

Even now we don't deny the kid standing on our front porch trying to raise buck for band or football or Scouts. And if they're selling something we don't want to buy, we're usually soft-hearted enough to cut a check directly to their organization.

As for our own children, they don't participate in any fundraising. At the PS, we paid the "fundraising buy-out fee," entitling us to a guilt-free year without hitting up our friends and family to buy anything. Since I'm President of the Happyland Elementary PTA, I've insured that almost all of our organization's fundraising is event or service based. We have only one "sale" fundraiser each year and I usually don't take part in it. My sons never bother anyone to buy anything on behalf of Happyland Elementary. The park & rec teams they play on are paid for through membership fees and a very lucrative concession stand. Mr. T is the only "fundraiser" in our family since he's part of Boy Scouts.

This year he wanted to sell popcorn for Scouts and I was okay with that only because he's really really really into Scouting. The organization gets 70% of the profit and Boy Scout popcorn has a reputation of being a good product that people appreciate buying. He did all the sales himself at his dad's office because his dad's office allows kids to do that kind of thing. And Mr. D has a reputation of being very generous to other people's kids fundraising efforts, so it seemed like fair game. Mr. T sold a ton of popcorn, making enough money to purchase a badly needed tent for his troop. He did such an outstanding job pitching his product and his cause that we even got emails from Mr. D's colleagues complementing his sales skills. But Mr. T did it himself. The only thing I did was drop him off and pick him up since he's too young to drive. He organized the orders, kept track of the money and wrote thank you notes to attach to the product when he delivers it next month.

And Mr. T only sold at his dad's office. We didn't bother our neighbors because they've got their own family members (children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews) to buy things from. We won't call on family because they're all out of state and/or on fixed incomes.

This said, I'm all for event-based fundraisers. In fact, a few years ago I suggested to Mr. D that his baseball team hold a clinic for little league players instead of selling those discount cards and they actually did--and made a tidy profit. I'm all for bake sales, lemonade stands (a particular weakness--I've been known to circle back around a block to get a Dixie cup of lukewarm Kool Aid from some enterprising kid), rummage sales and carnivals. The idea of giving a little to get something back best fits my philosophy on these matters.

And for the record, my favorite fundraising product of all time? Girl Scout Cookies.

Spill it, reader. What do kids sell that you cannot refuse to buy?

35 comments:

  1. Man, I hate the fundraising. We usually just write a check to our girls' school and leave it at that.

    And, as a former Girl Scout troop leader, I really HATE G.S. cookies now. Loathe them.

    Good job Mr. T!!!

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  2. Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout popcorn always make the list. And the pickles that our church's youth choir makes and sells every year to raise money for their choir tour. Our choir director rocks...they go to really cool places, sing in churches large and small along the way, nursing homes, children's homes and usually work in a soup kitchen or two. Pickles are a small price to pay for that, along with spaghetti supper tickets that we don't use.

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  3. I am oddly proud in the fact that I have yet to participate in active fundraising for my kids. None of their sporting activities require it, and their school asks for a cash donation instead of making us sell wrapping paper, or what have you. I detest those fundraisers - except for girl scout cookies, and the occasional christmas wreath.

    I was bragging about this status to my sister-in-law, and she informed me that when my children start participating in *real* sports, I will have to start the fundraising. Ouch.

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  4. We always do the buy-out option for Little League. Last year on my son's team of 13 kids only one actually chose to sell the candy bars.

    I brought an Entertainment Book from my kids this year. I figure if I use it enough it'll pay for itself. SCRIPT isn't too bad either, it just takes a little planning ahead.

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  5. THIN MINTS!!

    We, too, do the fundraising buyout check at the beginning of the year.

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  6. girl scout cookies...

    but, my grandson is now a tiger scout so I imagine I'll be buying "boy scout" things in the near future.

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  7. I am a sucker and buy just about everything. Even that $10, 2 oz bag of carmel corn that cute little boy scout sold me at the grocery store.

    We also gave people the option to donate cash for out PTA. EB and I opted to sell cookie dough for the elementary and donate cash for the middle school. Unfortunately EB and I sold 43 boxes and now have to figure out how we are going to fit that in the freezer. Jeez.

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  8. I am a sucker and buy just about everything. Even that $10, 2 oz bag of carmel corn that cute little boy scout sold me at the grocery store.

    We also gave people the option to donate cash for out PTA. EB and I opted to sell cookie dough for the elementary and donate cash for the middle school. Unfortunately EB and I sold 43 boxes and now have to figure out how we are going to fit that in the freezer. Jeez.

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  9. Girl Scout cookies are something everybody wants--so I'm always happy to buy those. I try to buy at least one box for everyone that asks.

    Like you I sometimes just make a small donation directly to the cause-they end up with the same amount of money as if I'd bought a product.

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  10. I can't refuse any of it. My kids did plenty of fundraising over the years....it's my turn to buy from somone elses little cuties. My bag of Boy Scout Butter Toffee Light is in the cabinet just waiting to be opened...probably tomorrow!! :)

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  11. Oh, the joys of homeschooling!

    When I was a kid, I heard of a high school band that sold "insurance policies" at the beginning of every school year. Apparently, what you got was a sticker to put up under your doorbell which kept band members from bothering you for a full school year. What a racket.

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  12. I have to admit, I'm a scrooge when it comes to this. I got snookered big time on a magazine subscription scam, and now I'm a little jaded by all of it.

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  13. My husband's godchild is a scout. Our popcorn arrived yesterday!
    The Girl Scouts also know we're good for a few boxes of Thin Mints.

    When my daughter was in dance, the big fundraiser was at the recital. We had coffee and donuts for the parents at the dress rehearsal, we had a 2 day bakesale the recital weekend and took pre-orders for bouquets of flowers. This funded an entire year of giving each girl part of her entry fees for each of their competitions.

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  14. I think I might be the only person on the planet who does not LUVVVV Girl Scout cookies. I will buy one box of Thin Mints just to be nice but...eh.

    When I lived in southern IL, the local kids sold frozen food. I can't remember the name of the organization but they had everything from breakfast foods to desserts, sorta like a fundraising Schwann's. I lived in anticipation of the twice-yearly sales - the french silk pie was to die for and I still pine for the frozen chicken burritos.

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  15. Well, so far my kids' classes at the parochial school have not had to sell much, but I know that as they get older they will. Joey just finished up the Boy Scout popcorn sales, and we really just had him to go Todd's office and do it (it is the first time his office has had to help us with a fundraiser and we have helped their kids-who are mostly grown now- a million times so they were generous too) and not in our neighborhood. We had a ton of scouts go up and down our neighborhood so we knew our neighbors were already hit up for the popcorn. We didn't want to bother then again. ;)

    Our school tries really hard to think of new and fun fundraisers. They do plant sales. Christmas tree sales. Pumpkin sales. Very cool stuff. And then your typical bake sales and stuff too. It is hard raising money for the school, I get it, but it does get exhausting too. ;)

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  16. I can't resist anything. I remember how hard it was to ring those doorbells and spit out the practiced, "I'm selling ____ as a fundraiser for ____." I buy it all!

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  17. Besides Girl Scout cookies? Definitely bake-your-own pizza. Yum. They even have whole wheat dough ones!

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  18. I guess it's better to be a DINK than a DORK ;)

    Chocolate...that is my ultimate kryptonite--not that I have anything else in common with CK or as we know him SuperM_ _

    and I wasn't meaning SuperMom ;)

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  19. Hi: I'm the Fan - aka saucy's Mom: I was always PTA president - we tried every conceivable fund raiser all those years ago..now saucy is the PTA Pres at loopy's high school! We have strong Guiding backgrounds and adore GG cookies - but we are also supporters of all kids projects and most door to door campaignes (Heart, Cancer, Diabetes, ets)I admire you very much for blogging about this subject..you rule today! xoxothe fan

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  20. I don't participate in selling things for fundraisers either. It's such a depressing merry-go-round of cash for useless crap and most of the money goes to the vendors of the wrapping paper or the nuts or whatever.

    When I was PTO president at my kids' grammar school, we had a dance--admission was one can of food to donate to the local food bank--with a silent auction--all items were donated by the school community, things like an hour's consultation with a mom who was an architect or handmade crafts. Since 45% of this school got the free lunch, we didn't want people to feel left out, so we kept the auction in a separate room for the dance and made it clear that the purpose was for a FUN night of dancing. A huge crowd came. Our goal was to raise $2,000. We raised over $5,000.

    There are no fundraising products that tempt me. Not even girl scout cookies.

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  21. Even though I homeschooled, I have bought just about every child hawked product: GS cookies, wreaths, Easter lillies, "gourmet" coffee and magazines. As a family, we suck at selling.

    I think it is so cool that Mr. T. ran his show so successfully and terribly sweet that grown men made time to recognize his efforts.

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  22. Oh FOR SURE Girl Scout cookies. I can never say no to those! :)

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  23. Our kids PTA, sports orginzations and Boy Scouts all sell, sell, sell. We are opting out of all of them via cash donations or volunteer requirements.
    I have to agree with most of your readers on the Girl Scout cookies. We are good for quite a few boxes here.

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  24. gawddanng!! That boyscout popcorn is so good!! I bought some from another internet buddy's kid a couple years ago...and would do the same in the future, y'know, if such an occasion were to present itself again at popcorn sellin' time!! (*hint! *haha!)

    And I bought a box of candy from a wee girlie who came along a week or so ago in a rainstorm, raising money for a class trip to Denver's Elitch Gardens, where I have fond memories of visiting...so I bought some (ouch! ex$pen$ive!) turtles from her and thanked her for stopping by my pad in the rain...

    Greens! overnighted your box today so mail pickup is crucial for tomorrow! ::HUGS!!::

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  25. I think there's a neon sign over my house that says "Fundraiser Suckers live here!" I have a really hard time resisting any kid that has the courage to ring my doorbell.

    If Mr. T. needs to sell a little more popcorn (dare I say it?) shoot me an email. This former GS leader supports scouting in all forms.

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  26. I'm a softie for both the Girl Scout cookies and the Boy Scout popcorn. Hooray for Mr. T! The thank you notes are a terrific touch!

    I wish our school did event-based fundraisers. I suggested we do the spelling bee fundraiser, but didn't get a lot of support.

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  27. Girl Scout cookies are hands down my fund raising favorite. Samoas, to be exact. I think it's because I sold just enough in third grade to show my face at the Brownie meetings. Sounds like Mr. T accomplished more than that! (:

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  28. I totally have to buy GS cookıes, too.

    Can I be a bıg troublemaker here? If your son, ın hıs teens, were workıng towards becomıng an Eagle Scout, and he also knew he was gay, would you be okay wıth the BS polıcy that ıs akın to "don't ask, don't tell"? That ıs, he could contınue towards hıs goal, but only ıf he quashed down a fundamental part of hımself? I know thıs sounds lıke a challenge or somethıng, but I'm genuınely curıous.

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  29. You wouldn't happen to be interested in some over-priced wrapping paper?? ;)

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  30. I love it too!! Girl Scout Cookies and Boy Scout popcorn!! Sometimes I just give the child money for the lemonade and don't even drink it, they are so proud, my girls love to have a Lemonade stand!!

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  31. Fundraising in Holland is a bit different than it is here. No girl scout cookies, no community cookbooks, etc. There is a "collection calender" that registered charities follow. Every week, a different charity will take to the streets with collection boxes, and go door to door for money. I did that when I was a child for one specific children's charity. Rain or shine, I would go out after school and knock on the doors on my assigned route.

    Ever since, I have a soft spot for everyone that does the same thing because I remember how hard it can be. So anyone and everyone that makes the effort to come to my door, can count on a donation.

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  32. I find it impossible to turn down kids--I always buy! My fave is the girl scout cookies! Yum!!

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  33. I always feel the need to buy whatever children are selling. It takes guts
    xoxo
    SC

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  34. Butter braid breads. Our church sells these and they are really yummy. I did resist this year due to laziness.

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  35. I have a long-standing rule that the first kid to hit us up for any given fundraiser (Scout popcorn and cookies included) gets the WHOLE order.
    Definitely a fan of event/activity fundraisers over sales of Stuff I Neither Want Nor Need!

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Spill it, reader.