The School Giftwrap Fundraiser: My Vent. Care to Chime In?

Updated on October 15, 2011
D.D. asks from Phoenix, AZ
38 answers

Bah Humbug! How I don't like the School Giftwrap Fundraiser. With multiple kids in school and overpriced items I don't want or need, I do not look forward to this time of year. The school "rewards" the kids with these little plastic duck, for their respective sales, so my kids "pester" me they want the plastic ducks! We have a very small extended family to ask too, so they aren't much help either. With extra curricular activities, Boy Scout activities, school pictures...it can all seem a little overwhelming on my wallet.

But yes, I fully comprehend the fact the school needs the dollars--just as much as I do.

And for the cherry on the ice cream, my kids just keep saying "Buy stuff so we can get these rubber ducks!" Eeek.

Maybe it is the "frugal" person in me that watches my pennies and shops sale prices too. But this giftwrap is so expensive, IMO.

What can I do next?

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L.C.

answers from Houston on

I only buy a FEW things from my kids fundraisers if it is stuff I actually could use or give as gifts. EVERYONE has a hand in my pocketbook lately. My kid's kindergarten is having a fall fest where they want us to donate all this stuff, bake things, etc. And then bring the kids and spend a bunch of money buying back the things we just donated. I don't get it. It is extremely frustrating.

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T.K.

answers from Dallas on

I'm going through that now too. The kids drive me batty, but I have a strict NO policy. I'm not guilting my co-workers or family into buying something they don't want and I dont have the time or motivation to do it. I take them to the dollar store and buy them some little doo-dad instead. I find other ways to help the school.

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✿.K.

answers from Boston on

I HATE that fundraiser!!!! Whatever happened to good old candy bars?!?

Edited: the pto/PTA in my town is just a bunch of catty women. I've gone to a few meetings and instead of discussing fundraisers they gossip about women having affairs, someone had their children taking away, this moms always high, etc not something I wish to associate myself with. They do one reasonable fundraiser they get donations and sell a month long raffle ticket ($5) and assign one prize to each day and pull a name so that $5 gives you 30 chances (not too bad) I've tried to get them to do a pizza night in town, Yankee candle fundraiser, candy bars, etc

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C.B.

answers from Portland on

I can't stand these either! Jez! I have a friend, who's son is starting to call me. It's to the point where if I see their number, I won't pick up. I don't want to feel guilty I'm not purchasing, and I don't want to purchase. Therefore, because I'm mature like that, I just avoid it!

I wish this practice would stop.

I have two kids, and I don't plan to have them particpate either. We, like others have said, will find other ways to help the school. This will not be one of them though!

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☆.A.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Go to the dollar store and buy them each a rubber duck.

Then write a check to the school for a $10...$20 donation.....or rip it up completely.

Whatever you feel is best.

I don't play into the "early bird bonus gifts" or "levels of prizes" crapola. I'm just OVER it. And I have O. child. In third grade! LOL

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

I agree!!! I also hate all the frozen food stuff. The school did this 2 years ago, and I had to ask the neighbor to help us out and let us use their deep freezer. We had nowhere to put all the stuff people had bought!

Last year the school did candy bars. 100% better. It is so much easier just to go take the kids to the bowling alley and let them get rid of candy to people on sight. I am so mad that the school went back to the same stupid frozen food thing again this year.

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

Just make a donation in lieu of buying things and be done with it. If you have a better idea and the time and energy to run a different fundraiser, I'm sure that the fundraising people/PTA would love to hear from you. Otherwise, be grateful that someone organizes these and that your children benefit from their work. If you don't want to buy something but can afford to support their efforts, just write a check.

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L.W.

answers from Dallas on

Understand completely. I hardly ever purchase anything and I will admit that I don't allow my child to participate in these type of fundraisers. Don't like having to keep up with all that. I will donate in other ways.

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L.R.

answers from Washington DC on

Next year, get involved, get on your PTA fundraising committee, and suggest they change what they sell. Penny-pinching moms like you would probably prefer what our school now does in place of the wrapping paper: We sell coupon books, geared toward just our town and local businesses there. I pay $20 for a book with coupons I really do use -- free admission to the local rec center (pool and all) for the entire family (that's worth almost the $20 right there); local restaurants we frequent; laser tag free admission when you buy one admission (worth about $9.00!), etc. It's been a success. There is a firm that arranges it all for you and the kids just sell maybe five books each or fewer. Look into it. It's MUCH more useful than more wrapping paper, candy or popcorn.

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Oh shoot, my daughter's order form was due in today... I'm sure I'll hear about it. I don't like these, either. I'm sure the companies make more money than the schools.

Other schools in my area are more creative in their fund raising. One has an auction where people donate goods or services to be auctioned off. A popular service is a catered meal. Where the giver cooks and serves a specific and sometimes truly gourmet meal. I love this in theory. In practice it takes dedicated volunteers and actively involved parents to make it happen.

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⊱.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I hear ya! My daughter came home from school yesterday asking for $500 (yes, you read that right) to sponsor and name a real live dolphin. I had a good laugh over that one! Actually, it's for a jog-a-thon that will earn money for the school's Computer and Science lab and the grand prize (if you turn in $500 in contributions) is sponsoring the dolphin (their school mascot). *Sigh* Then come the nut sales, girl scout cookies, etc. etc. etc. If it makes you feel any better, I did buy some wrapping paper from my niece's school one year and it was surprising high quality and very thick. I loved it. But yeah, not cheap!

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M.J.

answers from Sacramento on

Yep, I feel your pain. I bought tubs of overpriced cookie dough last year so our son could go in a bounce house. Well, the promised bounce house reward never materialized. GRRR! I was so annoyed I'd spent all that money and our son didn't even get the reward.

Thankfully, this year, the school is really pushing the fundraiser nights at local restaurants instead. Knock on wood, no overpriced items to sell yet.

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C.S.

answers from Miami on

I'm not sure what your question is... No one really likes these fundraisers. However, the schools need money. We've been in our house for 7 years and have 2 kids. Our oldest started kindergarten this year. Our property taxes that go towards the schools is less than $600/ year. So we've paid less than $4200 towards school. A private school in my area costs around $8000 per year. As I see it, I've barely paid for my oldest to go to school through the new year. So I shelled out the $$ for the giftwrap and the magazines. Could I have bought it for less? Of course, it is basically a donation.

If your issue is the fundraiser itself and not the expense, consider making a donation directly to the PTA. If it is the type of fundraiser, volunteer to coordinate one. Our school does a lot of fundraising and it is a public school. The PTA raised over $50K last year - cut backs have been huge and this gives the teachers each $250 for school supplies annually and keeps our Art and Spanish programs intact. Here are some things our school does:

giftwrap/magazines fall sale
world's best chocolate sale
halloween pumpkin sale
adopt a class (local businesses pay that $250 / classroom to adopt)
t-shirt sale (school t-shirts)
Penney Challenge :Fun fundraiser for kids! Coins collected in front of each classroom at school. Pennies count as positive, silver change as negative. Friendly competition as students “bomb” other classrooms with silver coins in buckets. Personal checks count as positive as well. All money benefits HSA.
Mother's Day Cake Decorating

I hope this helps you with some ideas! C. (who is just so thrilled to be in an amazing public school with great parent involvement)

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L.L.

answers from Topeka on

I know what you mean when it stacks up it stacks up.I wouldn't buy the gift wrap myself either & i'm a PTO fundraising chair for my childrens school.I try really hard to divert away from selling that kind of stuff since we do 2 brochures a year & this is going on yr. 3 for me joining PTO.Do what you can donate in other ways it all HELPS your children & the school.Lastly go to the Dollar store as another mom mentioned & buy them their own duck
**Just in the last 3 weeks or so we have had money to be for Book Fair ok he did get 1 new book a good thing,pictures went with the small package over run with pics,carnival this weekend providing items to donate for the carnival,then Halloween snacks,after that the holiday fundraiser as PTO member we try to plan around the schools activites try to avoid crowding but this time it just wasn't going to work we have alot of families who buy from this fundrasier for Christmas gifts & we weren't going to let them down & another chance to increase our budget for the students needs

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♥.O.

answers from Washington DC on

When they get the kids all excited over these cheap prizes it makes me feel like they're using them to get to us! The prizes are always cheap and break right away. My daughter has been one of the top sellers a couple of times and although she never got the top 2-3 prizes she did get some of the "better" prizes just to have them break after a couple of days. Ugh!

Now my youngest is in K and I already told my self that we're not going to be doing the fundraiser thing again!!

My youngest daughter is in K and so we're new to this school (my oldest daughter went to another elem. school) and they're asking for gift basket donations so they can auction off some gift baskets as part of a fundraiser. They're asking for gift cards, items for the gift baskets, money to buy gift cards with, etc. I've never heard of such a thing! Anyway, I may buy some raffle tickets and help that way as I figure the money will go directly to the school and maybe just maybe I may win something. But I don't plan to take part in any fundraisers. I did enough of that in the past and I can't stand some company getting a portion of it for selling cheap, overpriced, dollar tree stuff!

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❤.I.

answers from Albuquerque on

My daughters school just sent home a fundraising book too but it looks more like gifty sort of items. Along with it they sent an envelope labeled "donations" for those who don't really feel like selling stuff. I figure I might just do that, I think more money would get to the school like that anyway. As far as the kids asking for the rubber ducks, just buy them elsewhere (what's so special about these one anyway?, LOL)

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K.F.

answers from New York on

I understand your vent all too well. Try having 6 kids in school at the same time with the same fundraising activity and a minimum quota to reach. That used to be my dilemma.

Solution to the problem was to let the two oldest kids sell the items around the neighborhood with a chaperone in tow, the two middle kids would ask one aunt or uncle without kids to sell the items at thier jobs and the two youngest got to hit up church members. That seemed to work very well for us.

Now I'm on the other side of that equation for the most part but when coworkers come in with their fund raising things, I make certain to support the efforts because it is going to a good cause and I can always use gift wrap.

I do all of the wrapping year round for my circle. For me it is so much fun to wrap gifts. I wrap so well some have said it seems ashame to open the gifts. ;-)

If I were closer to you, I would definitely buy the wrap. I could use some more wedding and baby shower wrap, I'm getting mighty low.

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K.D.

answers from Milwaukee on

My kids school just had the cookie dough fundraiser and I just ignored it.
If the kids want the prize, they have to work for it. Tell yours to start making calls and I bet they will just forget about it.

Write the school one check at the beginning of the year and tell the teacher you are not doing the fundraisers this year.

Then just know you have done your part and disregard the materials.

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L.P.

answers from Pittsfield on

Maybe you could suggest to the school that they find alternative fund-raising ideas.
My children's school has a restaurant of the month, for example, that contributes 10% of customer's bills if they hand in a coupon from the school.
Maybe a bottle/can drive and the grade that collects the most in a month has no homework for a week or something. In these tough economic times, it would be easier on people to contribute with something like that because there are no out of pocket expenses.

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A.V.

answers from Washington DC on

I gave up on them after the SECOND time I ordered something and the check was lost, either by SD or the school. It's overpriced an annoying. It IS expensive, and we couldn't ask the ILs because all the schools around here do the same thing so they got dinged by 5 grandkids at once. So if we bought at all, we bought for the sks and SIL bought for her kids and that was that. You have to pick and choose. A year or so ago I got fruit and that was good. We have also gotten pizzas. Those were HS fuI said my piece on the PTA listserv at the time, asking nicely if we could do something else, but the powers that were didn't want to change. I had support, but...sometimes people are afraid to change.

I haven't personally had to do the basket auction thing but I can see how that would feel pressing, too, depending on how it was handled.

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V.T.

answers from Dallas on

As a consumer, I love this fundraiser. But when the time comes for my kids to sell it, I'll probably hate it too. In my area you can buy out of fundraisers by making a donation to the school at the beginning of the year, then your kids aren't asked to participate.

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V.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

I concur. I HATE all those things.
However, I have to say that out of all the "fund raiser" sales that they do, the wrapping paper is the best of the lot. The paper is actually pretty good quality stuff. It is overpriced, but how else would the school be able to make any money on it? But it is a FAR better 'deal' than buying chocolate or candies or whatever from them, imo.

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P.S.

answers from Houston on

That's too bad. I bought gift wrap from a little neighbor kid one time and it lasted a few years. It was good quality too - thick and didn't rip easily, and cute designs. I always hate getting wrapping from our local Wmart or Target b/c everyone gets the same wrapping and nothing is original.

To each his own.

Everyone hates those fundraisers, esp when they talk it up at school. I gotta hand it to the schols for getting the kids excited about caring for their school, but when you don't have the money and time to go out and help sell, then you don't have the money or time to go out and sell. Buy what you can and don't feel bad when you can't. And you are the parent - explain to your kids disappointment is a part of life.

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M.L.

answers from Houston on

I don't do those fundraisers. We have one going on now, and we just received a note home to ask if we can donate even more money to make a class basket for the fall festival's silent auction, then to go to the silent auction to bid on a basket we like. I'm not made of money here.

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K.L.

answers from Lafayette on

make a donation in an amount that is comfortable for you and skip the fundraisers. win-win. And I'm with you, not made of money and neither are my parents! Besides, then our friends and neighbors aren't trying to sell us stuff in return...

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L.A.

answers from Austin on

For next school year come up with a different way to raise funds and be willing to be Chairman of the committee. Find out how much they make this year and start researching.

Just tell you kids, "sorry, we do not have money this year.". Maybe they can ask Santa for a rubber duck for their stockings.

We are not allowed to sell candy in our schools, it is a STATE mandate. Thank you Gov. George W. Bush

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J.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

I'm with you. This year my son is getting "Gogo Crazy Bones" for items sold. They are a hot ticket and every kid wants/has one... I think it's ridiculous. I ask only my parents, my husbands parents and one of my SIL's, no one else.

I'd rather they just did a direct appeal and I could give the school $40 (what I was told was the average profit per student last year).

J.

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D.B.

answers from Dallas on

I am soooo with you! I'm trying to figure out a better fundraising solution to suggest to our school. We don't have any family in the area, and all of our friends and known neighbors also have kids in school, so we don't have anyone to sell to locally. Of course the fundraisers offer online sales options...but the shipping costs more than the products! Until then, I just use this as a learning opportunity for my kids that they can't get everything they want, and also about understanding money management. I obviously don't get into details, but do let them know that in general we have X amount of money, and Y amount of expenses, so we have to coose very carefully what we spend our money on, and tell them what they would have to give up if we do participate in the fundraiser. They usually prefer the family activity over the fundraiser prize!

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J.A.

answers from Denver on

We don't do any fundraisers where my kids have to sell stuff. I just keep a blanket opinion about it so they know we don't do it. I buy from bookfairs and purchase spirit wear, we also on occassion attend "restaurant nights". Oh and volunteer my time...I refuse to spend $15 on 24 cookies or something else ridiculous, lol. We help the ways we can.

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K..

answers from Phoenix on

I'm with you. DD started Kinder this year & that was their first fundraiser of the year, with the duck prize, as well. Couldn't they have selected something else... something better? Something that I might actually want, myself & not feel weird asking others to buy... like overpriced cookie dough or those braided dough things. At least cookies & bread & food make people happy. I can get gift wrap at the dollar store. I'd rather just donate some money here & there or help out & volunteer.

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M.D.

answers from Washington DC on

I help my kids...not that I want to, but I do. If it makes them happy and helps the school, why not. Luckily they didn't get one for school this year. My daughter is a competitive dancer and she does have them for that. I will sell my tail off for those because the proceeds go to pay for her costumes, competition fees, etc. In 2 days we sold over $700 worth of Joe Corbi's! YAY! But yea, schools make me mad with it.

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J.C.

answers from St. Louis on

I have paid my kids not to do these fundraisers. I buy my paper at the dollar tree for a buck. How can that compare to $6. I would rather the school buy the dollar tree stuff & sell it to me for $2 than buy $6 wrapping paper. Is is a little better, yes. But who cares it's going to the trash/recycling. Now the kids get rewards like limo rides for selling a certain minimum # of items besides the crappy proze, which sucks because then they have to sit there & watch the other kids leave class & get to go do this. I hate the way they play on our relationships with our kids. Not to mention not all of us work outside the home or in large factories where we can sell 100+ items...my kids were usually lucky to sell 10-12 if we did try to sell items. For the ones saying make a suggestion or be a chariperson..tried that at our school & all was dismissed,they had their minds made up before we even got started & all I heard was we make this much $$$ on this & I thought but think what you could make if you sold something people could justify the price on. I'll buy candy bars anytime they sell them, they're usually a $1 and they're consumable. Now the boxes of candy 8oz for $8+...no..I can go elsewhere & buy a 5 oz bag of chocolate covered whatevers for a $1. Sorry I am on a tight budget too!

The other thing I love is the prices to get into the games. It costs me $3-5 everytime I go to one of my son's HS soccer games, just for me, luckily muy youngest usually stays home! At two to three games somes week, that gets costly. One day I was in town and wanted to go to my nieces basketball game & for three of us it was going to be $10 & all I had was $7 so we couldn't go....ridiculous

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C.T.

answers from Dallas on

Come up with a better idea and tell the PTA. My son's school just did a fun run and all the profits went to the school. They collected donations per lap(with a cap of 25) and asked family and friends to pledge. They have the run and then collect the $. Easy and no selling things people don't want and the school gets all the money. Prizes for classes who collect the most money-pizza party, icecream party, etc.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Buy your kids their own plastic ducks and skip the fund raisers.
Oriental Trading has a lot of them and it'll be a whole lot less time, effort and waste than bothering with the wrapping paper (or anything else) that only gives the cause maybe 20 cents per dollar spent if they are lucky.
Tell the school/PTA you're willing to write them a check directly ($50 or $75) and you will opt out on the fund raisers for the year.
If they say no, it's their loss.
Just refuse to deal with this nonsense.

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A.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

Ha ha vent away, I hear ya! I have a 7th grader and a 4th grader, so I have been through the gift wrap fundraiser every year since my eldest was in Kindergarten. A few times, the kids were all gung ho and we did help them ask relatives, and go around the neighborhood. They enjoyed it, and they did pretty well. But seriously, that is NOT going to happend YEAR after YEAR! It's getting embarrassing to ask our relations on an annual basis. So I stopped doing it. If my kid is motivated enough, SHE has to do it. SHE has to make the calls to grandparents, etc. DH will take her around the neighborhood if she asks him to. But WE will NOT push, encourage, make the calls to ask the relatives, or remind our kids to sell their fundraiser stuff, take the form to grandma, etc. What happens after the first day or 2 is that they forget, get busy, and don't have the motivation anyway. I buy a few items to bump her to the next prize level, and that's it. This year, DD sold 2 items to neighbors, and I bought 3. So I think she got the duck. So sorry, no free cookie dough or limo ride happening here!

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J.C.

answers from Rockford on

Oh how I hate those fundraisers. My boys have had to do some horrible ones. $15-$18 cheesecakes. Please...how many people are going to hand some teenage boy money like that! Then, they come frozen and have to be speed delivered to people. Ugh! The worst was these stupid coupon books for $15. We bought two and never used the dumb coupons inside. How many family members can one ask? That leaves door to door selling and again how many people are going to fork out $15 for something a kid is selling. They do the candy bars, and they rock because they sell themselves and you can sell them to just about anyone anywhere. I get that schools and teams need to raise money, but for pete's sake they need to come up with some decent things that will sell!

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J.W.

answers from Philadelphia on

As others suggested, get some ideas together and offer to chair a different fundraiser. No one is doing it to drive you nuts...the school needs funds. I was part of a Home and School for 9 years...every year the school had less money to go towards assemblies, field trips, etc. Always had to find new ways to bring money in to replace it. I'm sure your pta would love your help!

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S.D.

answers from Phoenix on

your site made me laugh. I get it........ no fun

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