Successful School Fundraisers: Cookie Dough vs Real Dough
posted by: JoAnn
It’s no secret that schools are hurting for cash. Parent volunteers are stepping up as best they can, and schools turn to fundraisers to help bridge the gap between the Have and the Want, or in some cases, the Need.
(Stock photo by muresan113)
I do not begrudge the schools for doing fundraisers, and kudos to the volunteers! The kids need what the schools offer, and these things don’t come for free. During a time when millions of dollars are being cut from school budgets across the state, the money has to come from somewhere. The old adage is true: money doesn’t grow on trees.
I’m going to go out on one of those mythical tree limbs and say it’s not found in a tub of cookie dough, either.
Yes, I said it.
I refuse to sell cookie dough!
I don’t want to buy your kids’ cookie dough!
We’ve all been guilted into doing just that. For us, it was our wonderful babysitter who was forced to peddle her wares on our street. Over the years, her sales pitch gained a tinge of honesty: “I’m so sorry. I hate doing this,” she’d say with a sigh when I came to the door. “…but I’m in gymnastics AND band this year.” One year, that was her entire sales pitch.
Not that our babysitter would ever blackmail us with butter braids or cookie dough, but I almost always err on the side of caution, especially when date-night hangs in the balance. “I’ll get my checkbook” was always my answer to the embarrassed look on her face.
“But, JoAnn! People need an excuse to give money to the schools! Cookie dough is the perfect way to do that!”
Oh really? I don’t think so. My babysitter could have been selling painted rocks, and I would have written out a check. She could have just asked for a donation for the school, and I would have given it to her. My actions were about supporting her and her classmates. They were never about the cookie dough or the butter braids. It’s too bad a larger percentage of my money couldn’t have gone to her school with that transaction.
Fast forward a couple years…
Last year, while in Pre-K, my daughter came home from class with a packet. She could win all kinds of these wonderful trinkets for selling cookie dough! And, for this wonderful opportunity, the school would get a teeny-tiny percentage of the proceeds! Yay!
You want to be supportive of your school, don’t you?
Of course I wanted to be supportive, but the last thing I wanted to do was hawk tubs of cookie dough on the corner. If my daughter wants to go into sales as a career, she can work on those skills MUCH later in life. None of our relatives live in this state, so the “built-in” supporters aren’t here. Knowing how much I love answering the door to solicitors, why would I want to do it to my neighbors?
I loved her school. I’d love to support her school. So, that’s what I did. I filed the packet away (read: recycling bin) and wrote a check directly to the school.
I went to the office the next day and offered my sincere apologies for not allowing my daughter to participate in a selling campaign. I then pulled out our check and handed it to the director.
She burst into tears and had trouble finding the words to thank me.
Finding a way to support the school without having to sell cookie dough was thanks enough. We didn’t have to pester any of our neighbors or friends. We could afford a donation; the school got to keep 100% of the funds, and there was NO COOKIE DOUGH IN MY HOUSE.
That’s what you call a Win-Win, times two!
Not to mention the fact that we got to record our check in the Donation Spreadsheet for our CPA to handle at tax time. (Another win!)
Now, my daughter wasn’t really old enough to have her heart set on winning anything on that colorful poster, so my job was easy. If we’re ever put in that position, I’ll explain to her the true value of a donation and hope she can withstand the peer pressure of being denied shiny trinkets based on the sales of frozen goods.
Claire started Kindergarten this fall at a local public Charter school, and so far, the fundraisers are not sales-based. Participation is fun and easy, because it’s based on things we’ll be doing anyway. There is a pledge drive for a Read-a-thon; local restaurants host “school spirit nights” where they donate a percentage of the sales for the evening to the school, and participation in SCRIP is a big thing, just to name a few. (SCRIP is where I purchase a gift card to our local grocery store. Every time I use the reloadable card to buy groceries, our school automatically gets a percentage of the proceeds.)
If the cookie dough tubs ever make an appearance, though, I’m just heading straight for my checkbook. I’ll give my dough straight to the school. You can keep that other stuff in the fridge.
What about you? Do you hide when the neighborhood kids knock on your door? Does your school do fundraisers that don’t involve selling, or are you forced to peddle wares all in the name of supporting the school?