Does it sometimes seem to you that your kid's school is on a permanent fundraiser. It can seem that there is not a week goes by when a form is coming home about something or other. If they are not raising funds for the school itself then there are always other little charity fundraisers either local or national that they are getting involved in. Its a real temptation to just sigh and moan "oh not another one". We all have busy lives, juggling work, kids, homes it seems like anything else is just yet another "unwelcome thing to be done" an irksome task to be "got out of the way!"
And that's a real shame. For if you stand back and take five minutes to think about it so much school fundraising is actually great fun and full of opportunity for both yourself and your children.
What could be better than some shared endeavor. A task with a clear focus and end goal. An opportunity to try something new and engage with something different, be that the school fete or trying to sell fundraising bulbs from the bulb man catalog. What a great way to teach project skills.
Things that seem trite and commonplace to us can seem like exciting challenges to our children. Kids like things to do. They like to be set little tasks. They like to see results. They like to both work alongside each other and (if I remember my own childhood) they like a little bit of competition.
School fundraising if it is done the right way can offer them a different type of learning. Or at least practical applications for the things they are learning. The simplest school project can be given extra importance and meaning from designing fete posters to working out the cost of ingredients for fundraising fairy cakes.
The other thing of course that it can teach them is about charity. About the way the world is and what we might like to do about it. This is a great thing to learn about. If these things are done sensitively and with care simple charity fundraisers can be a great way to teach children about giving, sharing, understanding and helping.
My own daughter recently came home with a little card collecting box she had made. The idea was that it would go in our bathroom and every time anyone used the toilet they should have to put a penny in the box (It costs a penny to spend a penny!). This is one of those imaginative and thoughtful fundraising ideas for kids and came from the charity Wateraid. It had been instigated at her school by a teacher and the local vicar. It was a really simple fundraising idea with a particular appeal to children. When the boxes were returned to school after a couple of weeks they were full of small change (my daughter would police the whole family's toilet visits and ask accusingly if she felt anyone had forgotten their contribution). She would also love to immediately explain the concept to visitors to the house (just in case they need to pay a visit).
When the boxes went back into school the amounts raised weren't great -perhaps £ 50.00 for the whole school (its still £ 50.00 a great charity did not have before). That though is not the only real point. The charity "spend a penny box" was a great little project for my daughter. She started it, set it up, ran it and saw it though to the end. Not bad for a five year old! She enjoyed building her collection box and putting the designs on the outside (and on the carpet at the same time – "oops!"). She liked to count the coins as they mounted up. She loved the day they all had to take their boxes in. As a family we also had a few conversations about poverty and conditions in the developing world that we might not have otherwise done. I loved the fact that this was due to her asking questions some of them really thoughtful.
This is the sort of girl I want to raise. I'm really proud of her for picking up this idea and running with it so enthusiastically. Far from being a drag, her school fundraising and charity fundraising are fun. What a joy to see someone approach these things with a really straightforward passion. What a lesson for us. A school fundraising lesson that is!