Support Your Child's Fund-Raiser

Supportive parents can help their children raise funds for school or organizational projects by participating in these simple yet effective ways.

Do you cringe when your child brings home a box of 48 candy bars to sell and help the school purchase new sports uniforms? Your first impulse may be to let your son or daughter return the unsold bars to school, hoping someone else will sell enough to meet the need.

But after thinking it over, you decide to get involved. After all, your child will be all grown up one of these days, and you do want to be one of those supportive parents. So what can you do to help?

1. Take your child door to door. Go to people you know in the neighborhood to offer the low-price merchandise, whether candy bars or magazine subscriptions. Never let your child sell candy alone, especially to strangers, as abductions or even murders have occurred as a result. Rehearse a short speech with your son or daughter to share briefly when someone answers the doorbell:

"Hello, my name is Sandy Smith. I live three houses down and I'm selling Great-Taste candy bars for a dollar to buy school sports uniforms. Would you like to buy one?"

Remind your child to be polite even when someone doesn't buy. And remember to purchase a bar or two when your neighbor's child comes calling with her school wares.

2. Help to plan a calling list. Coach your child with a similar speech to make by telephone to a few friends and relatives. Add information like when the orders will be delivered and when payment is due. For example, Aunt Sue who comes to visit each month can put a check in the mail and pick up her candy in a bag with her name on it the next time she stops by. Be sure to have your little one thank everyone who decides to buy something.

3. Set up a display at your place of employment. This may not work for everyone, but if your boss is flexible or you have a private office, you might be able to set out a box of candy with a jar for payment, or a sign-up sheet for magazine subscriptions. Be sure to place the sales items in a location that you can keep an eye on, especially if you work in a large office where things can simply disappear when you run to the restroom or go down the hall to make copies.

4. Send an e-mail announcement. You don't have to actively promote sales, but you can let people on your listservs know that you have products available:

"Anyone who is looking for 53% off a Time magazine subscription can get in touch with me by the end of this week to sign up."

"If you need a chocolate fix, stop by my office this week for $1 Crispy Treats; proceeds will buy new school uniforms."

Be careful not to spam anyone you don't know well, and avoid sending more than one announcement.

5. Pass the word to social organizations. Take a few bars to your next Kiwanis meeting or have the kids pack a few for the Cub Scouts. When you know of a fund-raiser in advance you might be able to post a blurb in the organization's newsletter so readers can get in touch when the sale items arrive.

Keep a few candy bars or a sign-up sheet in your purse or car in case the subject comes up while on errands at the bank or grocery store. Just be careful that candy doesn't freeze or melt in extreme temperatures. Even if your child doesn't sell the most, he or she will take pride in your support and assistance.

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