In the paper this morning I read an editorial describing why kids hate school these days. At the number one spot on this list was fundraising. Although I would probably agree with the author of the editorial when I was actually in school, I don’t share the same thought now.
I am sure we all understand the type of fundraising that Mande Wilkes refers to; students at the primary and high school levels selling gifts, coupons, and sweets to generate revenue for a certain cause. We all did it when we were kids and we all see it replicated almost on a daily basis at the entrance to grocery stores, with knocks on our front door, and even sometimes with visits to our offices. Kids are out selling just as rampantly as we were years ago.
I dreaded doing fundraisers when I was young. I solicited everything from candy bars to coupon books to trinkets to popcorn to just good ol’ cash donations. But with the age I am at now and the experiences I have gained, I no longer look down on school fundraisers.
I feel that enlisting children to fundraise on behalf of their schools is necessary. I believe in this because it teaches many different skills. By sending kids door-to-door it teaches them communication, persuasion, reasoning, and rejection. You know, stuff they won’t exactly learn during a typical day in the classroom. These important ideals will help make our present day youth better future professionals, no matter what career they choose.
Yes, school fundraisers, no matter how terrible the product is (Jump Rope 4 Heart pledges are the worst), will help make kids a better asset to the work force. For some, it will even shape their whole careers. Fundraising positions are some of the most important and profitable careers in society today. For some people in these positions, peddling goods for their elementary school was the first experience they had with their future line of work. Selling those tubs of cookie dough to help their school motivated them to work toward a career in development where they now make a lucrative living.
I know some folks cringe at the thought of school fundraisers. They feel adults are using kids to do their dirty work, utilizing cute faces and adorable speech impediments to win over the hearts (and wallets) of random people to finance the school district’s agenda. There is some truth in this I but I really do think it is more of a win-win situation as opposed to a one-sided job on the side of the schools. Kids really do learn crucial skills, no matter how painful it is for them at the time.
How can all of us who have no school aged children help out? Buy from the kids who have enough guts to approach you with their fundraiser! Ask questions and make them work to secure that sale but always reward them with a purchase. We can all think back to when we were selling. We had the people who made us feel great and the people who made us feel lousy when we knocked on their doors. While both types of folks are important to teaching children about fundraising and sales, let me remind you of this…there are plenty of the latter people already out there. Be the person who builds up the shy kid selling chocolate you will never eat as opposed to sending him away with his head down. Who knows, your encouragement might help him become a fundraising director of a multi-billion dollar company one of these days. Don’t Blink.