Soliciting Donations for a Classroom Gift

Updated on December 22, 2010
N.D. asks from Vancouver, WA
11 answers

i'm not sure of the etiquette regarding asking parents in our kindergarten class want to contribute towards a classroom circle-time carpet. i assume (if they were going to) that they've already given the teacher a present for the holidays. i don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable if they can't/don't want to give but i know the teacher really, really wants a carpet, as she's going so far as to put up half of her yearly supplies budget for it. how should i go about asking, or should i be asking at all?

TIA :)

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So What Happened?

the teacher (not me) said she'd be spending her supply budget on the carpet and then be paying out of pocket for anything else she needed for the class.

after reading the posts, i don't feel comfortable asking parents. the teacher mentioned that she can go for a grant so i guess she'll have to do that.

thank you to everyone :)

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answers from Norfolk on

Besides fund raising for the carpet, you might be able to talk to some carpet stores in the community and see if they are willing to help by offering a discount (this lowers the amount of money you need to raise).
This sort of thing is great publicity/advertising for them.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

You should go to your PTO and see if they can contribute to this. We have done that in the past for teachers.

As far as classroom is kind of too late for that now. You could possibly do it as an end of year gift. And don't worry about is almost expected. People will contribute if they can. It would actually be a very cool parting gift for the class to give the teacher and I bet parents would be on board. Talk it up to the ones that you know.

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answers from Kansas City on

You didn't say whether you are a teacher or a parent that likes your kid's teacher, but either way - NEVER ask about a gift (or say you want something in particular) unless someone asks what is wanted. If you are 'soliciting' for your kid's teacher, that is still not right. Some parents will not give the teacher anything (maybe they do not have a budget for it), and you do not want to make them feel guilty or obligated. Other parents have something in mind that they want teacher to have.

The SCHOOL should be buying the carpet. They should have a BUDGET for that! It should come out of the BUILDING funds, not from the teacher's yearly classroom supply budget, since the carpet will be used for many years. That is another reason not to ask parents to buy the carpet - their kid will generally only be in the classroom for that year, which is halfway over already.

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answers from Kansas City on

My first graders room mother made out a flyer-folded and taped with each childs name on it so that the teacher didn't read it- and had the teacher put one in each folder to bring home. It simply stated that she would like to get a gift card for the teacher for all of her hard work and that there was no obligation but if the child would like to donate 5.00 for the gift card to put it in a sealed envelope with her (room mother) name on it and send it back with the student.

Some may have a problem with solicitation but I didn't because it wasn't done in a pushy or obligatory manner.

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answers from Chicago on

I think it all depends on how well you know the other parents. During my children's preschool days, I got to know the other parents very well. This was a private preschool so it was assumed that the parents would have some discretionary income. At our public elementary school, I would not dream of asking for donations for a class gift. Some people might feel uncomfortable, have their plans for holiday/end of year gifts or simply don't have the extra cash.

One of our teachers has a tree on the wall in the hallway. When she needs supplies for special projects, she will add paper apples to the tree with the specific requested item on the apple. Additionally, she will include the same info in her newsletter. Maybe your teacher has a way of communicating her wish list without coming across as tacky. Finally, this same teacher has asked that any extra party money be held and gifted back to the class for an end of year picnic.

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answers from Richland on

I think it's okay to ask. Maybe you can send out a note to all the parents stating your request and letting them know you don't expect this and not to feel obligated. However, most parents have probably already bought their child's teacher a gift. You may not get as many responses as if you had started trying earlier. If nothing else, wait until teacher appreciation week or some other occasion to bring it up and give people time to consider your request.

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answers from Dallas on

That is a nice idea of wanting to do something for the teacher and the class by getting a circle time carpet. These are very nice, can be educational and can cost a lot of money. The cheap ones don't last very long and the others can be from $350 to well over $1500. Is this a public school or a private school? Does the school district have an Education Foundation that the teacher could write a grant to request the carpet and tie it into a learning experience (numbers and letter recognition)? Most public schools do not have the money to spend on rugs for individual classrooms--get involved in your school and see what the tax money is spent for! Also if you make this an end of the year gift, then none of the kids that contributed would get the benefit of using it. I think that the teacher should make a wish list of things she would like or needs for the classroom -- and include a listing for carpet fund ($$) (with a picture of the carpet she wants to buy) along with other supplies or resources she needs: paper towels, stickers, etc. I don't think you should send out a formal solicitation letter, but you might suggest it to parents you speak with - after you have personally donated to the carpet fund.

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answers from Sacramento on

HI Nicole,
In our class an e-mail went out that simply said something to the effect of, if you have not chosen to already purchase a gift and you'd like to contribute money toward a group gift you can give the money to XX parent. In your case, you could say that any amount is appreciated and that it will be used toward the purchase of a class-time circle carpet.
Good luck!

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answers from Portland on

You might check with some carpet stores and see if they have some remnants that are big enough and if they would be willing to donate. It probably isn't the one the teacher really wants, but it might be free or cost very little and still do the job. I do know that they often carry small carpet samples big enough for a child's behind and a bunch of those donated could do the trick. They are about the size of a welcome door mat.

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answers from Seattle on

Hmm--that is a dilemma. I have a teacher in my family, and she also spends quite a lot out of pocket every year to make sure her kids have extra reading books in the classroom, snacks, etc. When you say that half the supplies budget is going toward the carpet, is this money from the teacher or from the school? Do you feel the classroom is going to go without other needed supplies (or that the teacher will make up for this out of her own money)? Is there a classroom parent? If so, I would ask that person if she/he is aware of the teacher's desire and plan, and what could be done to help. When my children were in the lower grades in another area, the classroom parent often solicited contributions toward a group gift for the teacher--an e-mail was sent, and parents were free to contribute if they wanted or not. I think you could put out an e-mail saying that you know the teacher is planning to purchase this item for the class to use, that it would use up half the supplies budget, and rather than giving toward a teacher gift, that parents could contribute to this "class" gift. As long as it is offered as an option, not a requirement, parents can always choose not to act. It is indeed a tricky situation, but not that uncommon in this time of ever shrinking education budgets. I think if you are unsure, definitely get input from some of the other parents if possible. It seems to me that money toward something for the class would be very much appreciated by the teacher.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would ask, its not like you are asking for donations for something personal for her. Just word it so that people don't feel obligated and you are good to go :) I think its awesome of you. My husband is a 1st grade teacher and there have been months when he has spent over $500 of his own money on classroom supplies.

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