How to explain school fundraising to kids in a way that makes sense
Fundraising can be a challenging topic to explain to your children. During elementary school, students are often just learning about the concept of money. As they approach middle school, they might understand just enough to not want to give it away!
Having a structured conversation about school fundraising gives your children a chance to understand why raising money for their school is important and how it directly impacts them as students. Navigating this topic can be difficult, however, and parents may find themselves met with more questions than they bargained for.
When engaging your child in a discussion about fundraising, consider these tips.
Use visual aids to explain the purpose of fundraising.
Fundraising can be difficult to conceptualize at an age where things seem to take care of themselves. In fact, school fundraisers are often best known by children for the prizes they can win. Making the concept concrete, however, can help close the gap in understanding.
Research shows that children respond to visuals. Try making a simple pie chart to explain that your school gets a certain percentage of funding from tuition or government, but that it costs more to do all the programs and buy all the supplies that the school needs. A simple representational chart will do—no need to dig up school records.
By showing your child how expenses outweigh revenue, they can have a concrete idea of the part they’re responsible for supporting, which can lead to more engagement and a personalized sense of purpose.
Find out what they think and feel about fundraising.
Fundraising is, if anything, never a boring adventure for students. They’ve got their eyes on the prize. Still, this provides a great chance to get your child to engage on a deeper level with the good they’re doing for their school.
Ask your child questions to gauge their understanding. Consider:
- “How do you feel about this fundraiser coming up?”
- “What do you know about why you are fundraising?”
- “What’s your personal goal this year for the school fundraiser?”
Even if the answer is “I don’t know,” you’ve created a springboard to helping your student understand the role they play in making the fundraising successful. Strive to initiate the conversation with something open-ended and supportive.
Don’t underestimate their ability.
While it’s likely that children and adolescents will have a more limited understanding of fundraising, don’t count them out. They have valuable ideas, and their experiences as a student offer some of the most compelling pieces of a sales pitch for product and brochure fundraisers.
Your job is to be the guide that helps them articulate these “mission moments” by constructive conversation and encouragement. As important as it is to teach them the value and purpose of a school fundraiser, it’s equally important to use it as a chance to watch them thrive and discover their abilities.