Friday, 18 February 2011

Am I right or am I wrong? You decide!!

Izzy's school (which is  a fantastic school) recently organised a sponsored football event for all of the children with the money raised being donated to several local charities for Lent. Fantastic I thought until Izzy came home with her sponsorship forms. The event I then found out was being organised by a private company rather than the school. The children had all been told that the more money they raised, the more prizes they would receive. So if a child raised £1 they got a certificate and stickers, if they raised £10 they won a sports bag and so on. Most children (Izzy included) came home saying that they 'had' to raise £50 so they could win the complete set of prizes (footballs, sports bag, stickers etc etc). On reading the small print it also turned out that only 50% of the sponsorship money went to the school. The rest went to the private company for organising the event and for prizes, admin etc. I wasn't very happy for a number of reasons....

1) To me children should learn that raising money for charity is about giving to something you believe in and not about what you will get in return (particularly in a Catholic school!)

2) To some families raising £50 in sponsorship from grandparents etc may be relatively easy but to other families this is just not achievable and its puts parents under immense pressure. It also puts the children from these families in a difficult situation where children are competing financially with each other.

3) Most importantly for me I think was that I could not ask family members to sponsor Izzy knowing that 50% of the money they give does not go the school/charity but actually goes to a privately run company.

4) Families who have more than one child at the school were being put under pressure to find £50 for each child.
I've no doubt that the event is well organised and great fun for the children but it just didn't sit right with me. Luckily many other parents felt the same and we jointly wrote a letter to the school expressing our feelings. The school said that they had been very careful to point out to the children that not everyone would be able to raise £50 and people should contribute whatever they could but five year olds don't understand this. When I told Izzy that she wouldn't get the top prize she burst into tears and I felt awful.We decided as a group of parents to all only sponsor our children £1 to make a point. That way all of them get a certificate and maybe some stickers but nobody feels left out and everyone gets the same. We have all decided to donate to the chosen charities directly.

So what do you think? Am I being old fashioned? Have you come across this before? Did we overreact? Have I scarred Izzy emotionally for life by denying her the footballs and sports bag??

Let me know what you think!

15 comments:

  1. your not wrong at all louise our school did the same thing a few years ago and Jack and rachel came home wanting to raise £10 to get a football and i said no as it was only a mini football and we could have bought one from the sports shop for a lot less and the fact that only 50% was going to school so we gave them a £1 each to take in. i'm not a great lover of sponorship raising and refuse to ask neighbours and other family members for money. well done to you for writing a letter to the school and standing your ground!!!

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  2. I agree with you on this, only this week 3 people at my work place were trying to sell chocolates for a school (the same school) with very much the same set-up. I didn't buy anything and it was my old school, because I think it's easy for the school to do but puts so much emphasis on sell, sell, sell, to young children with little reward for the school and a bribe for the children.

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  3. Haven't come across this before, but I am with you that I don't like the idea. I feel money raised in sponsorship should go to the charity. To have a tiered reward system is totally wrong, it doesn't promote the true reason of giving, not for self reward. A certificate and sticker for taking part is fine and won't cause any upset amongst the children. I am glad you have all got together over this.

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  4. You are so totally right Louise! A similar thing happened last year at my kids old school and it turned into a competition for the kids just to get some cruddy prize. I refused to sponsor and after the furore we donated £15 to the charity and explained why to the head!!

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  5. I'm appalled that a school would do this! Especially when you think about it, the school is probably paying the company a fee too. Is the board of governors on their side? It was bad enough when I was in school and I'd come home with a sponsorship form for one thing or another and I could see the look of 'oh no not another one' from my parents leave alone making it such a competition as this school has.

    I hope your little girl can still enjoy the event even if it has been tainted by this for all the parents.

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  6. I think your quite right, for a private company to make money out of fund raising isn't right in my opinion. Having said that, lots of charities do have admin costs and pay staff to run the charity. The race for life people issue prizes for the amount of money raised in sponsorship.
    Its a tricky issue. It would be far better for the school to just have a sponsored event and keep all the money for charity!

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  7. You are definately right.I'm sure the school were only doing it because it may life easier for them but the fact that half of the money doesn't even go to the charity is terrible. Sadly as 'Is it just me or...?' says, a lot of the money given to charities does go on admin and staff. Good for you for sticking to your principles!!

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  8. I work in a primary school and in Guiding, raising money is always difficult, parents are put under immense pressure from children, I really feel it stands them in good stead for the future to do things for others without reward. I see plenty of very spoilt children, keep up the good work.
    Cate x

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  9. I am 100% with you. Asking children to raise money is, in my mind, a form of prostitution (strong word but it is what I think). I think when they are 15 they can decide for themselves to participate or not....but before that...I think it is unexceptable and there are better ways then to hang a carrot infront of a childs eyes and tell them to go get money.

    Smiles,
    Kelly

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  10. This is absolutely outrageous, I am so with you on this one. You are always going to get parents who's children have top have the best and will gladly cough up the £50 top sponsorship but not everyone is able to do this, and to be honest, why should they, especially as not all of it is going to be benefitting the school and their child. I think what you have all decided to do is a brill idea, and will hopefully teach the school a few lessons for the future. xxx

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  11. i think you parents took exactly the right course of action there; you sent a message to the school, and imparted some better wisdom to the children about charity and the wider ideas that inform it. well done!

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  12. I would be furious with the school. 50% is terrible, in fact any percentage is too much. It can not take a lot of administration to run something like this, I can not believe that they have outsourced this. I am beyond outraged by the whole thing

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  13. I think it's utterly shocking what the school were trying to do and I applaud you & the other parents for standing up to them. I'm gobsmacked. I hope when my Sam goes to school there's nothing like this or I will go bloody ballistic!!

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  14. I'm appalled on so many levels, firstly putting pressure on families to spend outrageous amounts by pressurising kids- that's pretty sick for starters! And then the fact that 50% is going to the private organisation.

    I thought our school PTA was pushy til I heard about this!

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  15. That is completely outrageous - getting kids to make money for corporate companies. So wrong on so many levels! Yes you definitely did the right thing.

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