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Career Questions

Q:  As an activity advisor I feel as if I spend half my time fundraising.  My particular activity is yearbook, and we’re already selling advertising and the books themselves.  The position of the school district is that the yearbook has to be self-supportive, but if the staff doesn’t  fundraise, the book would be priced well beyond what most students could pay.

I’m not the only advisor who has to fundraise.  It seems as if we’re always selling something.  Other advisors have expressed the same concern:  we signed on to advise the activity, not to raise money for it.  It’s not only the effort involved; it’s the time.  I agreed to teach students how to put together a yearbook.  Instead I’m chaperoning dances and selling potted plants – all to defray the cost of the book.

A.  Many teachers have expressed the same concerns that you have about fundraising.  Some believe that if the activity isn’t included in the school’s budget, it should be dropped from extracurricular options.  Others feel that kids who participate should pay the cost of participation, but that approach limits opportunities to kids whose parents have more discretionary money than other parents.

Yearbook_pg_145  It seems unlikely in this economy that schools are going to be able to pony up more money for extracurricular activities, especially if advisors are paid.  One approach that has gotten some traction is to involve parents in the fundraising activities.  Schools have always had sports boosters and band boosters, and some schools have established activity booster clubs.  This approach is more successful when all activities join together to fundraise rather than having myriad small competing groups.  Advisors agree before the year begins on how the raised funds will be divided.  Some parents say that one of the main benefits of an activity booster club is that they can concentrate on several big fundraisers per year rather than having to buy dozens of items they may not want as the year progresses.

PS:  Paper yearbooks may soon be a thing of the past as those memories are preserved on CDs.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Practical Leadership are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.