A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Fundraising Experiment

I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post a little over a year ago where I bemoaned the fact that the boys' school always seemed to be with its hand out for the fundraising dollar. A somewhat heated but civil discussion ensued which suitably chastised me for criticising the school and not the powers-that-be for making the fundraising a necessity in the first place. Unfortunately that discussion is no longer visible, as I've changed commenting systems since then, but suffice it to to say, although I don't agree with the prize system of fundraising, the discussion made me see how fundraising is a necessary evil.

The fact remains, however, that I still don't enjoy hitting up everyone I know for their hard-earned cash, so I came up with an experiment to see if I could overcome this obstacle to the fundraising effort.


Real Scientific-Like Fundraising Experiment


Aim:
 

To contribute to the current obstacle race fundraising efforts of my children's classes without being annoying to the friends, rellies, co-workers and neighbours.


Hypothesis:
 

By offering something of value, in this case baked goodies, in exchange for a gold coin donation, people will be more amenable to the idea of contributing to yet another fundraising drive and will be clamouring to hand over their dosh. Money will flow into the school's coffers and all and sundry will laud my baking skills as they nibble on deliciously moist homemade chocolate chip cookies. I will be crowned Fundraising Queen of the School and Master Baker, roles they will create in my honour.


Equipment:

  • Ingredients for a double batch of Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.
  • Computer and printer for creating a sign.
  • Money bank for collecting coins, preferably one in the shape of teddy bear to pull at heart strings.
  • Airtight container for cookie storage.
  • Tongs for hygienic distribution.
  • Napkins for wiping chocolaty goodness from the lips of the donating masses.
  • Change for a $20, for instances of no coinage.

Procedure:

  1. Bake cookies according to double quantities of Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.
  2. Create a sign on the computer and print it out. Sign can include the reason for the fundraising, a cute clip art image of a chocolate chip cookie, clear instructions on what to do to donate money, i.e. put coin in the money bank and take a cookie.
  3. Send cookies, tongs, napkins, money bank and signage with husband to his place of work. 
  4. Pray that husband won't scoff the lot and come home with an empty bank.
  5. At the end of the day, count donations and cheeky IOUs and set aside leftovers for selling at son's soccer practice.
  6. On day of soccer practice, forget the tongs and napkins and end up letting everyone touch all the cookies with their hands, especially children, because their hands never have unpleasant substances on them, right?
  7. Gather up the courage to walk up to a whole lot of strangers asking them if they care to part with their cash in exchange for baked goods. If they are resistant, hold the cookie container at their children's eye-level so that the kids will do your sales job for you. Just kidding, I didn't do this, but the thought totally occurred to me.
  8. Come home and count the money and fill in form to send to school.


Safety/Risks:

  • Salmonella poisoning from that bit of raw cookie dough that just happened to fall into my mouth. 
  • Sending Will to work unsupervised with 46 homemade cookies. 
  • Eating them myself. 
  • Food poisoning to the public (not a likely scenario, but needs to be included here for completeness' sake). 
  • Not selling any and being forced to eat the leftovers.

Results:


Normally, I would have just chucked in a tenner for each of my boys, and I would have been done with it. Let's see if the extra effort had a more positive outcome.
  • The financial outlay on my part started with purchasing $8.83 worth of ingredients, which does not include the flour, sugar, eggs and vanilla essence that were already available at home.
  • After a day at Will's work, he came home with 16 cookies, $19 and an IOU for $2. Assuming people contributed a minimum of $1 per cookie and also assuming the giver of the IOU will pay up, we came up short $9 for the 30 cookies that were consumed.
  • After peddling the remainder of my baked goods at soccer practice, I came home with 5 cookies and $11.
  • The total proceeds were $32 less 8.83, say $9 making a grand total of $23.
  • We submitted $22 per child to the school, because that was all the shrapnel I had in my wallet, and I never bothered to keep the money separated from my own.
  • So it seems I still contributed $21 dollars, which is $1 more than just chucking in a tenner each, BUT their classes each benefited by receiving a 105% increase on what I would normally have contributed.

Discussion: 


Things I would improve if I were to complete this exercise again:

  • Soccer practice on the home field means that most people don't bring money to the soccer field. I'd choose a different occasion, such as a proper game at the fields in town, to do the fundraising shakedowns. It would mean more people and people would have their wallets because they are further from home.
  • Will's method of chucking a sign up in the lunchroom with unsupervised baked goods was just not effective. Either his co-workers are dishonest, Will is a 'scoffer-of-cookies' (I already know he is the taker-of-all-the-credit-for-baking-the-cookies) or, and I really think this is the reason, Will told people they could make a donation and 'help themselves' rather than 'make a donation and take a cookie'.


Observations:

  • People were more willing to part with their cash with the smell of chocolate chip cookies breaking down their usual barriers to fundraising.
  • Is it what I expected would happen? No, I didn't raise as much money as I'd hoped, and Will's telling everyone at work that he baked the cookies means that I didn't even get any compliments on my fine culinary skills.


Conclusion:


Would I do this again to raise money for the school? Financially and effort-wise I'm no better off than if I'd done the bare minimum and just donated some money. However, the kids did get my usual amount of guilt donation plus that of all the cookie munchers, so that is definitely a win. I got to feel all high and mighty for actually having made an effort this year, our family got to eat 1 1/4 cookies each (the 5 leftover cookies split 4 ways, measured with a ruler to make sure the portions were fair) and I got to blog about it, so all in all a good result! If I have the time and inclination next year, yes I think I would do it all again. After all, I'm still waiting for my Fundraising Queen coronation and title of Master Baker.
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