At some point in the last few years, somebody has come out with a secret map that identifies the houses that are most likely to participate in a fundraiser activity. I believe this to be true because I have a slight suspicion that my home is on the cover of this map. From blobs of cookie dough to buy-one-get-one-free cards, my wife and I have bought it all. On occasion, we’ve stopped at a car wash on a day that it looked like rain, just to support our local high school. We even have coupon books to lousy Chinese restaurants that we knew we’d never visit, yet we signed up for one just the same.
The reason is simple: it’s hard to tell a 12-year-old girl that you wouldn’t be interested in helping her support her soccer team this year. These kids go door-to-door trying to raise money for everything from high school trips to band uniforms.
It’s a tough gig, but they do it. I should know; I sold pest control door-to-door once and it was the hardest six days of my life. Yep, that’s right. It took less than a week for me to realize that I’m just not the door-to-door salesman type.
Now before you label me as a sucker that will buy anything that crosses my doorstep, let me make it known that I do it for the children. I have no problem telling the Kirby vacuum guy that I’m not interested or to let a telemarketer know that I just don’t want what they’re selling.
When it comes to getting new playgrounds, a lot of people seem to run into a wall. Sometimes it’s because the person in charge of the spending in your area doesn’t have kids or their youngest is a freshman in college. If this is the case, playgrounds probably aren’t on their minds too much. Whatever the reason, you still need to keep trying. I can’t imagine a city official not supporting a new playground if you help raise some of the money yourself.
Inside this issue are some tips on how to raise money successfully for a playground, but let’s not forget about the kids. They need to get involved too. My wife loves Girl Scout cookies and when the girls set up a stand in our local grocery store, those scouts can count on her support. (Our freezer is currently stocked with Girl Scout Thin Mints.) But to be honest, I have a hard time buying those cookies when the kids aren’t even around. Sometimes there is a pack of middle-aged women trying to get me to buy for their kids. But where are those girls? Why aren’t they helping? I feel it’s a good experience for those young women to get out and work the crowds for their own cause. I’ve told a 40-year-old woman no thanks before, but I’ve always bought cookies from the girl scouts who have approached me.
I have the same philosophy in my office as well. Sure I’ll buy wrapping paper, cakes or whatever you’re selling to help support your kid. But unless my co-workers bring their kids around the office with them, I feel like I’m being ripped off. Why doesn’t dad just go get a part-time job if he’s going to work my office?
Involve the kids when it comes to fundraising. From people like me, you’ll get a better response and at the very least you’ll be teaching the children to fight for a cause. It will give them experience and when that new playground is built, it will also give them a sense of pride, knowing they helped make it possible.