Childhood obesity is a definite problem. As a result, more and more school districts are becoming stricter about what their students eat, at least while they’re at school. School health policies are enforcing changes to cafeteria food, vending machines and even what parents can bring for birthday celebrations.
Some feel that these guidelines are helpful while others don’t think they make a difference. Many attribute the problem more to children not getting enough exercise. Regardless of your views, the effects are widespread.
So how are these health policies affecting school fundraisers?
Affects on Candy Fundraisers
The impact has definitely been felt with direct sale products like lollipops and even the popcorn fundraiser. These programs have historically enjoyed success because students found it easier to sell to their peers, who readily had money to pay for the items.
Many students can no longer sell these items during school hours because of the school health policies. Has that had an effect on candy fundraising? Perhaps some, but students have made the necessary adjustments. People can still sell them, as long as it's before or after school. Attempts have been made to remove the candy bar fundraiser completely from the community yet this attempt has been met with opposition.
What about Brochure Fundraising?
What affect have the school health policies had on brochure fundraisers that contain items like chocolate, candy, cookie dough and dessert products? Because most brochure items have historically been sold off campus to family members, neighbors and at work places, the health initiatives have not had the same effect as with direct sale programs. However, this doesn’t mean that requests for more healthy alternatives have not been made. Many people feel that even though cookie dough sales have proven to be highly profitable, these products are sending a mixed message to the community about proper nutrition.
In spite of stricter policies, are frozen food and cookie dough still popular? These policies have had little impact on these fundraisers. Frozen food has probably seen the largest growth compared to other types of brochure programs. People still buy these types of items because they're convenient for today’s fast-paced society. As a result, demand for frozen food brochures remains high.
Nonfood Fundraiser Alternatives
Are there alternative types of brochure programs that offer healthy food alternatives, or that don’t contain food at all? School fundraising companies have tried offering items like low-fat cookie dough, gluten-free deserts and sugar-free chocolate, yet these products have not sold very well. As a result, few companies offer them. One alternative that works well in the secondary school market are discount card fundraisers. Discount card programs provide value by saving people money whenever they frequent their favorite local establishments. They typically sell for $10.00 which makes them less affordable to students than candy bars; however there are still plenty who will readily purchase them.
If schools had to choose between a successful candy bar or cookie dough fundraiser as opposed to offering a healthy alternative, they would probably choose the former. Whether this is right or wrong, that needs to be left for another discussion.