Okay, so maybe soliciting isn't exactly the word I'm looking for, but it's already begun. The first official day of school in my state of Minnesota was today and I had my first visit yesterday. Visit from whom, you ask? Children on a fund raising mission for their schools. You know, to help their school purchase "smart boards", playground equipment, or any other unknown cause that the schools can't find the money for in their budgets. Each year, I grow a little more agitated with the onslaught of children who ring the door bell looking for me to buy their cookies, soups, pizzas, wrapping paper, holiday cards, wreaths, magazine subscriptions, popcorn, value cards....you get the idea.
Now, I'm not faulting the kids. They're just trying to meet the quota that their teachers have given them. They're eagerly trying to be the big money earner so that they can earn the coveted prize that goes to the child who brings in top dollar.
I used to have the policy that I'd buy whatever the item was from the first child who came to the door and then say no thanks to any further offers for the same item. But with a variety of public and private schools being represented in my neighborhood, that had gotten quite expensive. So, this year, I've taken a new position. I'm saying no to everything.
WHAT? Saying no to all the adorable children who are only asking for 5-10 bucks? Yes! Does that make me cold hearted? I don't think so. Don't I like kids? I enjoy children very much, in fact, I have six of my own. Actually, I've decided that as tax payers, my husband and I are already paying thousands of dollars into a system that is not using its funds in a responsible manner. I think that if schools would be more fiscally responsible, the extra fundraising efforts would not be necessary.
As a former teacher, I dreaded the annual fundraising activities. And as a home schooling family, we have to live within our means and not go beyond them. We don't go door to door asking our neighbors to chip in for extras that we'd like to have to make our school room more appealing or for a really cool field trip. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the same autonomy of the public schools. I do, however, support our parish school in their extra fund raising ventures. I do not have any of my children enrolled at our local Catholic school, but value their mission and do what I can to financially support them whenever I can.
The only exception is when it is something that we genuinely need or would buy somewhere else at a comparable price. I just don't like feeling obligated to buy something from every cute kid who shows up on my doorstep.
So, what do you think? What's your policy on children soliciting funds for schools or even various clubs and activities they may belong to? I know that it can be a touchy issue...how do you handle it? I have to wrap this up, there's a smiling child waiting for me at the door! :-)
UPDATE - Not 5 minutes after I posted this, there was a knock at the door from a fundraising kiddo...no joke!