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Asking for a charity donation for school raffle

(30 Posts)
T0R1 Wed 06-Apr-16 17:24:22

I'm asking local businesses for a charity donation for a raffle being held at a town event this month. Raising funds for the local primary parent council. I had great success by email and on the phone with local~ish places and then popped down to the town high street and popped in to a gift shop.

She was a little shirty with me, she said she normally donates to the small groups within the village but felt that the primary school should be funded by the government/council.

I fumbled my way through a conversation and left but I was a bit shocked. I'm nearly 40 and when I was a kid there was a PTA raising funds. AIBU?

sooperdooper Wed 06-Apr-16 17:27:47

Well she doesn't have to give a donation and she's entitled to her opinion so I think yabu

Osolea Wed 06-Apr-16 17:33:33

To be fair, she's right that schools should be funded by the government and council. PTAs are increasingly paying for things that used to comfortably come out of the school budget, but those are so stretched now that PTA's are no longer just for the nice to have extras.

If she was a bit off, don't take it personally, you never know what she might have going on in her own life that could understandably be making her fell not very charitable or generous.

RebootYourEngine Wed 06-Apr-16 17:50:03

I agree with her. The government/local authority should be paying for things within a school.

You asked. She said no. Leave it at that.

WorraLiberty Wed 06-Apr-16 17:54:09

I agree with her but I also get the fact that schools need fundraisers regardless.

However, I think it's not on to approach shops in that way as they're like 'sitting ducks' and people asking for donations can make shop staff/owners feel uncomfortable.

T0R1 Wed 06-Apr-16 18:00:11

I wasn't going to go back in and argue the point with her, I only ask because I've got other businesses to go to and I want to understand the point of view people may have.

T0R1 Wed 06-Apr-16 18:05:53

What am I supposed to do, I have a letter from the Chair which I printed with my ink, on my paper and put in my envelope - am I to then put one of my stamps on it and post it? There is no website/Facebook page/email for her local business.

I dropped the letter in, summarised what it was. I had my pre-schooler in her gift shop with breakable stuff so I assure you I didn't want to hang around! She stopped me to have the discussion and I only got to leave because little one was begging!

Ragwort Wed 06-Apr-16 18:08:17

You will just have to get used to lots of 'rejections' when you ask for raffle prizes - it's part of committee life - I've been doing it for years grin - you will be lucky to get about 50% response.

Just accept her comments graciously and move on.

WorraLiberty Wed 06-Apr-16 18:08:33

You could claim expenses for the stamps or ask the treasurer if the parent council can supply them.

Either way, it's awful sitting there all day in a shop and being a target for fundraisers.

At least in town if you walk past a chugger, you can get away. You can't do that when you're sitting behind a till.

Osmiornica Wed 06-Apr-16 18:09:40

I also agree with her. It produces a 2 tier system where affluent areas PTAs can afford better things. I believe all children should be given the same level of schooling regardless of how much the PTA can raise.

T0R1 Wed 06-Apr-16 18:21:41

A two tier system?! Isn't that Public schools and Governemnt funded schools!! I'm not not fundraising so that life can be fair! Ha ha! Life is not fair. We will be raising funds with or without one shops donation. There are plenty of underprivileged kids going to this school getting free school meals etc, does that make it OK to fundraise?!

So most of you think Parent Councils/PTAs are a bad thing then? Am I right? Or am I picking this up wrong.

And I'm not going to walk past the shop to get to the post office so someone in a shop doesn't feel uncomfortable. I've had only positive responses and some great donations this morning, most see it as great free advertising.

fatherpeeweestairmaster Wed 06-Apr-16 18:22:31

Another YABU, sorry - maybe she supports other small local charities that depend entirely on public fundraising for their operating costs. I don't have school age children and so have no idea what additional funds schools need to raise money for, but presume that they'll keep going without my raffle donation, whereas the local animal shelter might not.

imsorryiasked Wed 06-Apr-16 18:34:22

Independent shops get asked for a lot of donations through the year for various good causes.
Some people aren't comfortable with saying "no I'm sorry I can't give anything" and pluck a reason out of the air.
I've found it helps to tell people what you are currently fund raising for eg playground equipment as they then know that the money is not going into a bottomless hole which should be government filled.
But there will still be plenty of places who aren't able or don't wish to donate.
Have you asked all the parents if their workplace is able to donate something?

justhereforAIBU Wed 06-Apr-16 18:58:29

YANBU to ask but YABU regarding the shopkeeper's response (we all have our own "causes"). FWIW I am a independent shopkeeper and I must get asked for charity donations at least twice a week! I have my own choices of charity which are important to me personally (and for the record a school probably wouldn't make it onto my list either)...I would like to point out that the people asking for these donations are very rarely customers of mine (maybe once in 15 years), that time I did donate.

NotCitrus Wed 06-Apr-16 19:03:17

You're not unreasonable to ask; she's not unreasonable to say no - you might have been the fifth school asking this month, or she gives spare money to other causes, or just doesn't do donating.

Agree that explaining what the funds are going to be used for that the Government doesn't cover, does help.

UpsiLondoes Wed 06-Apr-16 19:05:39

Oh for ffs, if you are uncomfortable being in your own shop and replying "sorry, can't contribute to your fundraiser at this time" then you probably should not be bloody running a customer-facing business on the high street.

TheoriginalLEM Wed 06-Apr-16 19:09:41

You have to be pretty thick skinned to do the charity begging. Some folk bend over backwards to help, others off load their old crap (fine) and others politely decline. Rarely, you'll get an earful for daring to even ask but just accept whatever is offered with a smile and thank them for their time. Local businesses are inundated with requests for donation and it does send them slightly batty.

Most places wont countenance any sort of donation without a letter of introduction and preferably a charity number.

llhj Wed 06-Apr-16 19:10:41

Some people love any chance to mouth off on any subject at all. Just ignore and press on. You're doing a great thing.

WhoKnowsWhereTheT1meGoes Wed 06-Apr-16 19:14:31

I was in a local shop when someone came in asking this last year and the owner said sorry, no, we get several requests a week for donations for local fundraisers and they simply can;t support all of them. In a town like ours it's not just schools (6 primary, 2 secondary, numerous pre-schools), there are dozens of clubs and societies for sports and hobbies, plus Scouts, Guides, local charities and private fundraisers, you name it, all after donations from a relatively small pool of local businesses. It's great that all this happens, but the businesses need to be able to say no sometimes and it's entirely up to them how they choose.

KaraokeQueenOfTheNorth Wed 06-Apr-16 19:22:05

I have really mixed feelings about PTA fundraising. I feel like I am constantly being asked for money from the PTA and we are on a super tight budget, but I don't want my kids to miss out on the disco/bake sale/magic show/raffle/segment of moon on a stick so I fork out for it all and it gets me down. I do agree that all schools should be equal and that government should fund them, but I am not naive enough to ever think that will happen. The PTA work hard and raise a lot of money but I have honestly cried at least once when yet another letter comes home from the school asking for £6 per child to watch a bloody film in school in their pyjamas "to help buy iPads for the school", with about a weeks notice, and having to decide whether I can further cut my food budget or just tell the kids they can't go this time...

Sorry, rant over. This has been a major issue recently since a new chair has taken over our PTA and it has been a source of stress for me!

That said, my kids school have some lovely resources bought by PTA fundraising.

I don't think I even answered the OP really, did I...

witsender Wed 06-Apr-16 19:27:39

Yanbu to ask...but equally she was right. And your last post leaves me a little hmm tbh. As a governor I see how much of what I feel should be paid for by the LEA gets coveted by pta fundraising...which is great for us as we have an active and involved parent body who can and will contribute both time and money.

But having taught in schools where PTAs would struggle to even get off the ground let alone raise any money from the parents I agree that it is totally unfair that one school will get XYZ and another won't...when really XYZ is necessary to enrich students' time at the Scholl and as such should be covered by government funding.

That is what is unfair.

Knockmesideways Wed 06-Apr-16 19:31:44

My DH used to be on our PTA and he hated that part of the fundraising. He knew that a few of the independent shops were really up against it (we're in a small town).

Probably half our high street used to give something - this year, according to the Chair who is one of the mums, that's gone down to about a third. Many of our little shops just can't afford to help any more.

witsender Wed 06-Apr-16 19:32:38

At the Scholl. hmm

Medusacascade Wed 06-Apr-16 19:36:32

Speaking as a prior owner of an independent business, she's probably had several people that week using guilt tactics for free stuff or charitable causes. I gave a lot for free to causes I wanted to support. The PTA people at my child's school treated my like shit all year round and when they started hassling I gave them a donation. Not even a fucking thank you.

GeezAJammyPeece Wed 06-Apr-16 19:51:45

As someone who singlehandedly accumulated £1500 worth of prizes for a school raffle/prize bingo, I can assure you that many local business can and do donate.

I often found going in forearmed with the name of who I should speak to, a letter stating my request (& what the raised funds would specifically be used for) on headed paper (I note that you mention you have been doing this - it's not just to 'prove' who you are, it also gives the donor something to show what they have donated to; and allows them the opportunity to claim back some of the 'cost'. Businesses who have a set annual fundraising budget don't do it out of the goodness of their heart - a certain amount is tax deductible!).
Practice your pitch, go in smiling, explain who you are and where you are from.
Say you are looking for donations for a charity event and that this doesn't necessarily have to be goods or cash, it could be services, promissory notes, even promotional goods.

Also, think outside the box! Ask EVERYONE (within reason! Clearly you don't want free tix for the local strip club as a school prize)

Some donations I accumulated in recent years:
Family tickets for cinema/local attractions/theatre
Activity ticket/vouchers (golf, gokarting etc)
A big bag of butcher meat!!
Gift vouchers for beauty/hair treatments
Books/toys/CDs from independents
Restaurant/takeaway vouchers
Driving lessons
Fashion accessories/jewellery
Food hampers
Booze (one particularly weird one was from a tyre specialist, who gave me 2 bottles of really posh whisky that he had under the counter confused I think he said they had been a gift from a sales rep who had been in during the week!)
Household goods

Handknitted/crafted items

Supermarkets usually have an annual budget and someone who deals with it. In our local ones it tends to be the person who is often at the front of the store handing balloons to kids etc. Sometimes we've been lucky and they've given us huge boxed toys (old stock maybe) other times its been a bag full of packets of sweets.

I've even managed to aquire free books of raffle tickets along with a donated prize!

You don't have to ask for prizes : you could ask for other donations. Things like tea coffee biscuits usually come out of YOUR budget, if you can get these for free, its one less thing that the PTA has to fork out for

You can phone round places like local cinemas etc, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't.

If someone says no, don't take it personally, stay friendly and polite - always ask "would you mind if I popped by to see you next time?"

They may not be in a position to help now but a polite response to the no now means that in the future they might say yes. I have even been in the position where someone has said they can't, I have said no problem, finished the chat in a friendly manner, invited them to pop in to the event and by the time I left; went out the door with more than I went in to ask for!

Don't worry about the NOs, I know it can be disheartening sometimes but its not YOU they are saying no to. They probably either genuinely can't afford to donate now, have a policy to only donate to certain charities, or have already been so generous with other donations that a budget they had set has been used up

You could always ask if they could put up a poster advertising your event?(including a plea for donations of course!)

Oh, and as for being flummoxed by a reason behind a NO response; there will always be people who say no. Some will do it simply, some will give a reason; either is entirely their prerogative. Your best response is honestly to just remain friendly, depending on what their reason is you can say you understand/joke that you'll just need to get in earlier next time etc. If you have been polite and explained exactly what & who your are fundraising for, whilst they may or may not wish to support such a thing, they will be far more likely to respond positively either now or in the future if you are courteous.

I have completely waffled on and no doubt others have said all the above in the time it has taken me to type this on my phone, if so : I apologise !!

Have fun, and please share any weird & wonderful prizes you acquire!!

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