Our View: Youth fundraisers need limits
One factor school officials and youth group leaders should weigh when considering how to limit fundraisers is how that affects the opportunities students have to learn from the experience.
There are several lessons to be gained from organizing and carrying out a fundraiser. From selecting an event or product that’s needed to marketing to sales skills, the list of potential benefits is long.
Unfortunately, most youth fundraisers aren’t set up that way. Products are preselected by adults, and they’re sold to parents, family members, friends and the same string of businesses already visited by other students with other fundraisers.
There’s a singular lack of originality in any aspect of the fundraiser.
As one person said, “How many candles does one person need?”
In a time when money is short, groups can’t be blamed for doing whatever they can to raise money for equipment or special projects.
But the focus cannot just be on the amount of money needed and the fastest way to get it.
Youth-sponsored fundraisers should be as much about the process as the reward.
Kids shouldn’t be handed magazines and sent out to collect orders. They should work with their adult supervisors to determine a product or project that’s meaningful. You’re a better salesman when you’re excited about the product you’re selling, and your fundraiser is more successful when it’s original and fills a need.
Also, young people shouldn’t hit the streets unprepared. If they’re selling a product, they should be given the skills to do so.
At the Craig Daily Press, we’re often approached by an adorable young person who hands over a magazine and waits patiently until the order is placed.
There’s rarely an introduction, an explanation about what funds are being raised for, or in many cases, even eye contact.
One Craig business owner said he’s seldom thanked for his contributions and was told by one parent that she no longer would frequent his business when he said he was unable to contribute to her child’s cause.
If fundraisers are the life lessons that they should be, young people should be learning what adult fundraisers know — you have to start with a great idea, you have to be creative about selling it and have the people skills to do so. And you need to be able to celebrate the victories and be gracious in the face of rejection.
As the Moffat County School District School Accountability Committee evaluates the district’s fundraising policy it should keep in mind that success isn’t just measured in the dollars raised, but in what the experience teaches students.
And youth groups outside the school district should keep the same parameters in mind — if children aren’t learning from the experience, if they don’t understand the process and the rewards, they shouldn’t be involved.
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