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Oregon Family Magazine

Rock the Next Fundraiser!

04/01/2019 20:37 ● By Sandy Kauten
I must admit I roll my eyes when I find out it’s fundraising time … again. Schools and organizations sometimes hold several fundraisers per year, which ends up being a lot of work for us and for our kids. I’ve survived a few of these puppies, and I’m here to tell you it’s possible for your kid to rock the next fundraiser while saving you the burnout symptoms! Check out these ideas:

1.   I make my son a “cheat sheet” with a written spiel to say to potential buyers/donors in case he gets nervous. On the back are answers to basic questions donors might ask, such as, “When will I get my popcorn? Mid-November. Can I pay you later? Yes.” Know what the fundraising goal is (playground or sports equipment, computers for the classroom, getting to camp, etc.) and answers to questions like, “Who should I make the check out to?”

2.   Set goals. If your child has a goal of selling 100 candy bars and has sold 75, he should tell customers that. You might find someone (like me!) who will buy those last 25 just because they want to help your kid reach their goal.

3.   Have your child talk to friends in the neighborhood who are selling the same thing so they can each map out their territory instead of inundating every house. Or they could go together (with a parent) and split the sales.

4.   Get together with a group of kids (and parents) selling the same item and hang out outside a church or grocery store (call first to make sure it’s okay!). Then split the credit for the sales.

5.   Email may seem like a good way to fund-raise, but it’s too easy for the recipient to hit the “delete” button. The personal touch will get more sales, even if it does seem a little scary to your child to make phone calls or go door-to-door (with you close by).

6.   Repeat after me, kids: “It never hurts to ask.” I admittedly have a soft spot and an open wallet for kids who come to my house to sell in person (see Safe Fundraising sidebar, please!) because I think it shows courage. Dealing with rejection can be tough, so explain reasons people may say no, like they might be on a special diet, out of work or paying off debt, or they may have already bought too much.

7.   Always carry fundraising materials with you. Hit people up when you go to the dentist, doctor, family events, your mom and/or dad’s workplace. See #8!

8.   Parents, decide now if you want to make your child solely responsible for fundraising. I take my kid to his dad’s work to have him sell, but it does take a lot of time because everyone likes to chat him up. We go around lunchtime to hit up the workers who are staying in, and then maybe again after work is getting out. This may totally annoy your coworkers, so you may want to just put an order form in the break room.

9.   Keep good records to make the next fundraiser a snap. Copy order forms before turning them in, then make notes on your copy about who was open to donating and who should be skipped next time. If your child comes across someone who just can’t get enough coupon books, for instance, (maybe they purchase many of them to give away as Christmas gifts) approach that person first when the next coupon book fundraiser comes along.

10.  I make sure my sons tells every potential donor that they have the option of writing a check directly to the organization and foregoing something they might not need. After all, the purpose is not to earn prizes, but to raise money for a worthy cause or goal.

11.  Finally, consider rockin’ just one fundraiser per year instead of hiding from the principal, coach or head of the organization all year trying to skip out on every single fundraiser. Your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers will likewise not hide from you all year!

Safe Fundraising

This is a great opportunity to reinforce safety rules you are trying to teach, like:

  • Don’t ever sell alone (this goes for tweens and teens, too).
  • Do not go inside any house, no matter who lives there.
  • Trust your gut and run away if something feels uncomfortable.
  • Don’t sell after dark, even with a parent.
  • Don’t carry cash. Give it to your parent to stash away until it’s time to turn it in.

Kerrie McLoughlin is the mom of 5 and author of “The Tater Tot Casserole Cookbook.” She also blogs at