At first glance, helping your child rock fundraiser after fundraiser can seem like a giant pain in the… calendar, wallet and more. But repeat after me: Fundraising teaches cool life lessons - and can also be fun! Keep this list handy for the next time you pull the fundraiser packet out of your kid’s backpack.
Lesson #1: Altruism. A fundraiser is not about prizes or recognition; it’s about helping to meet a goal to help an organization and being a small part of something big. Donating time for a good cause now is something I hope will turn my kids into fantastic volunteers when they are adults.
Lesson #2: Basic manners and common courtesy. This is a great time to work on saying “please” and “thank you.” Demonstrating graciousness at hearing “no” from someone is also a learned skill that will serve kids well in the future.
Lesson #3: Rejection. Explain to your child reasons people may say no, like they are low on money or may have been inundated with kids coming to their door and have already bought too much.
Lesson #4: Relationships. Ask kids how they would feel if they got a million dollars suddenly and everyone they knew started asking them for money. Teach kids not to ‘over ask’… don’t take advantage of wealthier relatives, family friends, neighbors, etc. Likewise, if you know a family is struggling financially, steer your kid away from them this year.
Lesson #5: Good sportsmanship. Kids should know not to hone in on a friend’s neighborhood who’s selling the same fundraising product. If your child does not win the big prize at the end of the fundraiser, teach them to congratulate the winner.
Lesson #6: Responsibility. If kids do their own fundraising (going door-to-door with a parent, making phone calls, asking family members and your co-workers in person, etc.), they learn more than if you bring them home a filled-out sheet of orders that you put in the breakroom at work.
Lesson #7: Ask! If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. Kids need to learn early that sometimes success is a numbers game and the more you try, the more often you succeed. Kids can sell to their family doctor or dentist, call distant relatives for a monetary donation, hit up neighbors.
Lesson #8: Know your stuff/be prepared. Kids should know what they are raising money for and should be able to answer basic questions about the organization and the fundraiser. Always have fundraising materials handy in case your child encounters someone they would like to sell to.
Lesson #9: Safety. This is a great opportunity to reinforce safety rules you are trying to drill into your kid’s head! Call me overprotective, but I don’t care what age your kid is: make sure you are always present when they are selling, and tell them to never go inside someone’s house.
Lesson #10: Don’t overextend yourselves. Homework and extracurricular activities take up so much time these days. Some kid/parent teams are able to carve out extra time for maybe one stellar fundraiser per year, but then choose to write a cheque to the school or organization the rest of the time and opt out of actual fundraising activities.
Kerrie (thekerrieshow.com) is mama to five, and gets excited when fundraising time comes around, especially if chocolate is involved.
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