School Fundraising Sucks Big Ol’ Kim Kardashian Booty.

So I just opened Lila's homework folder and sweet Mother of God, there's an order form for yet another fundraiser. This one for what is billed the world's finest chocolate. Deluxe Cashew Clusters, Malted Milk Balls, and Mint Meltaways for $5 a pop half of the cash for the school. If my kid sells five boxes, she gets an 8ft rocket balloon! Twenty boxes gets her a crazy hat! Forty boxes? Somebody takes her to lunch in a Hummer limousine!

And what do I get for my trouble? Ten boxes of mediocre chocolate, nasty emails from my fundraising-weary family members, and neighbors who get all, Hide ya wife, hide ya kids, Lila's selling stuff out here again when they see me and the kid coming.

Oh, and about five extra pounds on my birthing hips.


I mean, if Michelle Obama wants to get a handle on America's obesity problem, she should find a way to put the kabash on the endless assault of fundraising order forms shot at us parents at an alarming clip during the course of the school year. We've hawked hard candy and caramel popcorn, along with cheap wrapping paper and corny gift tags, for Christmas. We've pushed tubs of chocolate chip cookie dough for the soccer team. My dresser drawer is full of school and soccer pictures we had taken for the fundraising cause. Lila's got the same nutty smile in all of them. Cute. But I take better pictures with my own camera. Those are free. And I can email them to family for free, too.

And don't even get me started on the Girl Scout cookies. My cabinets are seriously overrun with Trefoils, Do-Si-Do's and some lemon cookie sandwich thingies we bought to help out Lila's Girl Scout troop. Every time I so much as look at them, I gain weight. And I can't fit my grits and pancake mix and peanut butter on the shelves…

I got some ideas on how to make school fundraising less painful for all involved. Want to hear them? Here they go! Click on this link to read the rest of my School Fundraising Sucks post on the MyBrownBaby page at’s Parenting Post.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. You did NOT say “Hide ya wife, hide ya kids,..!” You made me spit out my perfectly good mint tea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Oh, and Lila’s twist-out is tha hotness!!

  3. I hear ya, we just toss every single one and donate a certain amount of money a year to my sons school or help pay for an extra 2 kids to go on school fieldtrips instead of buying all of that junk… Not to mention we have enough “stuff” in our house and we definately don’t need anymore.

    And I must agree her twist-out is adorable and I am silently jealous that her hair looks better than mines 🙂

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      What a GREAT idea! We’ve donated trips before, and on occasion, we’ll buy supplies to help out the teacher when she’s running low. But what a great idea to put some money in an envelope specifically for the teacher and say, “that’s our fundraising for the year—make it do what it do.” A friend of mine gives gift cards to Kinkos, UPS, and Staples to her daughter’s teacher at the beginning of the year, which is SO smart. She can use them when she needs supplies, and once the gift cards are handed over, we parents have done our deed. I’d much prefer to give my time at the school rather than spend it knocking on the neighbor’s door, begging them to buy more crap.

  4. Rae @ Rainbows and Dragonfli

    I hated fundraising when I was a kid. I didn’t like selling and I felt bad giving the paperwork to my parents. Liona’s idea is what we plan to do when the kid gets older.

  5. Denene,

    I share your sentiments exactly. I think you will be happy to hear that someone, a dad in fact (my business associate) having two girls in elementary school was fed up too. He too had a house full of “fundraising stuff” and he came up with a great idea.

    Have you ever heard of our website? It’s called We have taken all of the negative out of fundraising. No more loading up the kids in the mini-van or knocking on strangers doors, no more handling cash and checks, no more taking orders, no more delivering the orders back and wasting all that time and gas. Sounds good so far, right?

    We agree with your comments about Michelle Obama and think that removing chocolates and cookie dough tubs directly from these type of programs would be a good healthy move.

    We have an online program that schools, sports teams, scouts, music groups, charities and non-profits use. 24/7 and 365 days a year schools raise money without all of those things you as a parent prefer not doing, yet you know fundraising of some sort must go on.

    Our program provides an online fundraising store to any school or group that asks for it and we charge absolutely zero for your child’s school, team or group to participate in.

    Our program is simple, green and easy. We provide your school with it’s own online store that contains many family friendly products including educational toys & games, baby, toddler, kid clothing and products, gifts, gift baskets plus green products like remanufactured ink and toner cartridges at affordable prices we provide with FREE SHIPPING.

    When you and other supporters of your child’s school shop we send monthly donations for your school that they can use to help support the classrooms and meet all different types of financial needs your school has.

    Our company believes in eliminating the “teacher-funded classroom”. Thank goodness for teachers that care so much, but there has to be a way that our efforts can help spare them the financial sacrifices they make. So that is why we created a way to do just that.

    Please look at our website. There are several ways to start a fundraiser with our company. Parents and teachers can sign up a specific classroom. Parents or Coaches for your child’s sport team. PTA, PTO and Principals can for the entire school. Since there is zero cost it works out great this way. At sign up (which can be done by calling, emailing us or signing up online) just tell us the name of the school or group and your address so we can send you the monthly checks and you can hand them in.

    Then tell all your friends, family and business associates about the online store (we will provide a special link (just after sign up) with a custom designed banner(s) that can be used on websites, in emails, newsletters, etc. We further support schools and groups with custom designed flyers to help get the word out and get started.

    Then once a month we send 15% of the total gross of all sales placed through the special link as a donation. Not 5 or 10% like most other corporate donations, but a big 15%.

    I hope this information will help you and all of the other families out there who wonder if there is another choice.

    Our toll free number is 1-877-980-SHOP (7467).
    Our email is

    Happy & Healthy Fundraising!!!

    Laura Shifrin

  6. Denene@MyBrownBaby

    Laura: All of this was sounding good until you got to the part where you said the school gets 15%. That still sounds like a paltry number, considering we’re doing all the work. I’d much rather the parents sponsor, say, two art shows and a Fun Run during the course of the year; the only thing you’re buying is something your kid made, the only work done is the love your child puts into those art projects, and every dime—or the majority of it if you take out the cost of materials—goes directly to the school.

    • Denene,
      I understand exactly what you are saying.
      We created to minimize what you and your family have to do to help support your school.

      Examples: No more door to door selling. No more handling of cash and checks. No deliveries to bring back into strange neighborhoods later on. No embarrassment begging friends or associates to buy 1 of 20 items that they bought from you last year. No tiring you out when you need to go sell your cookies, brownies, etc.

      Our program was created by a dad seeking a safer and smarter way to raise funds for schools. We encourage and believe in family time. We think that giving your family, neighbors and supporters a variety of products is a much better choice.

      Birthdays and anniversaries always require gifts for others and fulfills that need. Shopping online is a well accepted way to shop. When you share your schools special link with others via email throughout the year is a better way to fundraiser.

      I believe the hard work you spoke of is not applicable to our year round ongoing support for your school. We are committed to providing relief for teachers and schools. Our program is the modern day solution for your classrooms and schools.

      Lastly, the mechanics of how what is promised and actually donated from online fundraising across the board is drastically different if you were to take the time to compare them. You need to ask 15% or 20% of what. You would be surprised how most online fundraiser’s donate based upon a commission they receive for referring you to hundreds of online stores.

      We developed our own online family friendly store, so that parents, grandparents and other supporters can feel good about where they are shopping and that what they buy helps their child’s school. Thus we pay you based upon the total amount of each order, not based on small commissions.

      Please allow me a moment to clarify the donation percentages.

      Store A ( Online Family Store)
      Store B (Charity or School Fundraiser Shopping Mall)

      For example:
      Store A – Parent spends $50 and we donate $7.50 to your school.

      Store B – Parent chooses to spend the same $50 in through the link on their online mall. The online website owner says they donate 50% back, BUT it’s based on a 5% commission that they have contracted to receive from I know this because we did a huge amount of research in this before starting our fundraiser. Now 50% sounds great but their 5% commission equals $2.50 and you would get 1/2 of that (the 50%) so final donation total would be a donation back to your school of only $1.25.
      Now that’s really PALTRY!!.

      Which would you prefer?

      Also most 50% offers include only candy manufacturers. (Not our business.)

      We knew that a better way was needed. As you must know, usually few parents actually get involved to support a schools fundraiser.

      We have created a way so that all of the parents can participate. With many more parents and supporters can and do get involved. The ability to promote this any time of day or night and in the privacy of their own homes, is great!! We have developed this so that parents and their children can do this together as well.

      Our online sales overall include a higher percentage of ink and toner sales than all other sales. It makes sense. Almost everyone uses a printer (including the classrooms that are wasting too much money on what they are using now). Simply pick out your ink model number and know that you are paying a lot less, it is delivered hassle free and with no shipping cost to you!!!


  7. Online fundraising is slowly becoming more prevalent, for a variety of reasons, however though it is practical, it is not that effective at this point. Because the students are the driving force for any school fundraiser, until you can find a better way to excite and motivate them on line, sales will continue to be anemic at best. And when you add in the fact that the school makes 15% profit, well…

  8. Hilarious!
    I have just finished going door-to-door for girl scouts, last fall sold peanuts door-to-door and had a bunch of other fundraisers that I just gave up on!! I told my girls, that’s it!! No more. I’m tired! It’s just TOO much! I’m so with you on this. By the way I love your daughter’s hair!

    • Hi Kia,

      I think you are a wonderful mother. You are so involved in the fundraisers that the teachers and schools ask you to support. Please check out my website. It’s free, so as a mom you can start this yourself and get the attention of other moms and it will grow from there OR invite a teacher or the Principal to do it that way to. There is NO WORK INVOLVED. By sharing products from our website with your family and friends anywhere, that’s it. You can stay in pajamas to participate in the fundraiser. You will have something that you can do with your children at home or wherever you have a computer. No knocking on doors and no handling money. This is the perfect and safest fundraiser. For more info you can write me directly, but everything you need is on our website. Our art team will make you a beautiful banner with the link you can use so all of the sales are automatically credited to your fundraiser. Have a wonderful day. Laura

  9. Denene@MyBrownBaby

    Hi! This is Lila, Denene’s daughter. Thank you for all the nice compliments about my hair!

  10. Dear Denene,

    Haven’t heard back from you since my last post, but I have to let you know that I was so excited when I was watching TV in the am. First The Today Show mentioned your website and then your name with your lovely face. I was so impressed with you and the way you so well represented yourself on National TV. I felt like I knew a famous person, I do, YOU!!!!

    I look forward to hearing your response back from you re: online fundraising with


    Laura Shifrin
    1-877-980-SHOP (7467)

  11. I was the co-chair of my children’s Sally Foster Fall Fundraiser—and yes, I know your pain—but you don’t know mine:) As co-chair I had to stuff folders, hold accounting meetings, cry, cajole, care, field calls from almost a hundred parents AND buy the stuff. Though the children sold over 30k, our Head of School decided that she would no longer foster sally on her families!!!

    Today I am on the board of a local arts organization…as chair of the development comm. ;along with the other board members, I am responsible for sending out 15 letters to my “nearest and dearest” calling, cajoling and sometimes crying for donations. . .some people (me!) never learn!

    • Sally Foster is part of a an overpriced product push industry. The reason is unique because we have 1000’s of different products that include ordinary, everyday things that people buy and want.
      How nice to offer people a way to support who and what they believe in, without having to buy things they really do not need and in many cases very unhealthy for them to consume. Please take a quick look at what we are doing. I especially like the ink and toner products that we sell. Our prices are up to 75% less than retail, free shipping on all ink and toners and 15% donated back to the school or group of your choice. Talk about something every home, home office, school and business needs. Some of our schools love the extra savings + 15% back on their own needs. How many professionals do you know that would buy ink and toner via a banner link through enails, supporting your favorite school or group. What do you think?

  12. Hi! there’s a lot of great input on your blog, but here’s another idea that I came up with after a recent booster meeting where we racked our brain for about an hour on fundraiser ideas. I thought I would use my web skills to come up with a fresh approach. I want to tell you about a wonderful new way for non-profit organizations like schools, churches, sports teams, and charities to raise funds.
    Its called PonyUp4, and its the easiest, fastest, safest, surest way for them to raise money. How do they do it? By combining two of todays latest and most popular phenomena: social networking and “groupon” technology.
    You can find it here:
    Lets say a Cheer Club needs to raise money. They choose a product to sell. PonyUp4 develops a “done deal” website to sell it, and helps them share it with friends and supporters. When enough people buy the product, its a “done deal.” PonyUp4 pays the vendor, and writes a big check to the Cheer Club, less their commission for setting the deal up, getting it rolling, and monitoring it. And the Cheer Club doesnt have to worry about where to keep their inventory or paying any money up front.
    Its a great concept. Check it out. Raise money for your favorite group or charity, or become a PonyUp4 Sponsortiser. Get a good deal and do a good deed at the same time.

  13. Hi Everyone,
    The school year is well underway and I just wanted to mention the true value of my company and how those that are reading your blog can start benefitting today. Our fundraiser is an online shopping fundraiser, we give each school or group its very own shopping portal and domain. There is NO candy, NO cookie dough, nothing to add to your hips or thighs. There is NO wasting gas or time, you simply share the website we choose together for your school or group. We charge you nothing, nada.
    The huge difference is that with we have negotiated very low prices on products and gifts that make sense. So, instead of marking way up, we price almost everything we sell 50-80% off of retail. We even offer free shipping on some of opur most popular products. There is no time contract, try it and see how much better we do this than the rest. Our specialty is in the details. Mrs. Obama would approve our fundraiser, most importantly this is a Parent-Friendly program. Our founder is a dad who was very active in the PTA and a very wise man in finance. Please just check out our website. You can start this and share it with your family, friends, even grandparents that may be far away. We will write the monthly donation checks in your school or groups name and mail it to you, so you get bragging priviledges. Rather than overcharging for the same old thing, we find that by us pricing right, parents and supporters are happy to come back and purchase again.
    This is an ongoing year round fundraiser, all you do from your end is get the word out. Any questions, feel free to write me.

  14. I came across this blog because I used to be a professional fundraiser, and then I realized the reality of the kind of manipulative tactics you have to use to get what you want. Most of the time you end up coming off like you’re trying way too hard, kind of like Laura.

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