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AIBU to think that if a class does specific fundraising...

(13 Posts)
FundraisingWoes Wed 07-Feb-18 23:18:22

...then it should be allowed to be spent on that class?

I have NC'd for this as it could be outing. There is a bit of a back story here, but I'll try to keep it brief.

DSs class shed along with the contents got damaged over Christmas and needed replacing. The PTA refused to help with this cost (I have no idea why) so the class parents decided to organise some fundraising events themselves. During the organising of this a person kindly offered to build a shed for the class for free. As the mums we thought that was great, but felt it was too much of a kind offer from that person so decided that we would pay for the cost of the raw materials as the shed was being built from scratch.

We have done a number of fundraising things, the last one being a sponsored activity with the children in the class which took place this morning.

This afternoon the head had a meeting with two of the mums from the class to discuss the money raised. Apparently as the shed was a donation to the school and had already been built we are unable to give the wood money to the people that made it. Also any surplus money needs to go into school funds for the school to allocate as they see fit. I have no issue with the school over this in theory, they have strict policies on thanking donators and obviously need to keep a record of every penny spent.

My issue is that the mums in the meeting lead us to believe that it had been agreed that the money we raised from today's event would be spent on wood for the shed. I, wrongly, assumed that this had been pre-arranged with the school as this is what had been implied by the communication that we have had from those parents.

Also, the school knew about the shed donation before we sent out the sponsor forms for this event. They specifically state that we are funraiseing for a new shed, and a lot of the DCs have received sponsorship on the basis that it would be helping to pay for the shed. I am frustrated that the school didn't tell us that this would not be allowed. Had we known this we would have changed the wording on the sponsorship form. It feels wrong Asking for sponsorship for one thing when the school would have known when they approved the sponsorship form that it was actually not going to be spent on that.

I am also really annoyed with the lack of communication from the 'organiser' parents. I doubt out this afternoon that the shed we were fundraising for has already been built and the damaged contents had already been replaced.

I am also annoyed that the head teacher had the meeting with just these two mums when I was the one that did the lions share of the planning and organising for today's event. I feel that my efforts have been ignored / the 'organiser mums' actually took the credit for it all. I am also really fed up with the miscommunication from these two mums to the rest of the group. They have consistently implied that everything had been agreed and approved by the school and that everything was under control. Including key details for today's event that had been 'agreed' with the class teacher, yet when I spoke to her yesterday afternoon she had no idea...

Mostly I am confused and angry by the whole situation. I would love any surplus funds to go to the school as a whole for the head to spend wherever it is needed. No issue with that whatsoever. But AIBU to be annoyed that this sponsored activity was planned and advertised on false pretences?

GreenTulips Wed 07-Feb-18 23:25:32

Legally the money must be spent on the reason the person gave

You f you raise money for new bikes it has to be spent on bikes

If it's to replace kitchen equipment it has to go in that

This came about because X raised money and spent it on Y and quite a few people who donated disagreed andnwouldnt have donated if they knew it was for Y

So pay for the shed or give the money back

I'll see if I can find a link

Jamiefraserskilt Wed 07-Feb-18 23:28:22

I can see why you are cross so you have two choices;
At the next meeting, ask what can be done to better the lines of communication between the school and the parents in future
Or
Step away from getting involved in fundraising and save the stress.
I know it is all about the kids but is the aggro you feel now really worth It?

GreenTulips Wed 07-Feb-18 23:30:59

www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/guidance/fundraising-essentials-legislation/honesty-in-fundraising/

It's fraud ! You can report them

NoSquirrels Wed 07-Feb-18 23:31:04

I think in this situation, the Head needs to contact the donator of the wood/shed, and offer them the money raised.

That person is then free to refuse, and give it as a “donation”.

The Head can then publicise the generous donation and unexpected influx of funds which can now be spent on something else- which should be well documented and tangible.

Head cannot just ignore the fact that the money raised had a specific purpose.

XmasInTintagel Wed 07-Feb-18 23:34:28

It feels wrong Asking for sponsorship for one thing when the school would have known when they approved the sponsorship form that it was actually not going to be spent on that.
This is key I think - if the school approved the form (are you sure they did?), they cannot just decide afterwards to divert the money for something else, it would be deliberately misleading the sponsors.

FundraisingWoes Wed 07-Feb-18 23:42:11

I made the form and sent it to the class teacher. She told me that it was going to the office for approval. The next day it came out via parentmail and in book bags so somebody must've approved it.

Squirrels, from what I can gather the school have to adhere to a policy with regards to donations. I don't think they are allowed to give (or offer) the money to the shed people. But then this is only the info that I have from the 'organiser' mums about what school have said. I don't know how reliable it is.

I think I will try to speak to the head tomorrow for my own peace of mind so that I actually understand the situation.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Wed 07-Feb-18 23:46:49

Can the money go towards whatever usually goes in the shed so it is still being spent on the shed but the contents ratjer than the materials. What does the donator of the shed think?

FundraisingWoes Wed 07-Feb-18 23:47:45

Tulips I'm now worried that I am going to be implicated in this as I sorted the forms etc, I honestly had no idea that it hadn't been arranged with the school, or that the Shed had actually already been built.

Oh and organiser mums have apparently already replaced the shed contents.

So both shed and contents were already covered before today's activity even took place. I'm not sad that it went ahead anyway, the kids had a great time. But I also used it as an opportunity for DS to learn about sponsorship and how it works. He recorded a message and we chose who to send it to and explained what it was for. I feel bad for him that this wasn't true

XmasInTintagel Thu 08-Feb-18 12:14:42

I think you're OK, as in can't be held to blame personally, as you did what you thought had been agreed, and the school sent the form out (so if they have rather specific rules on how money can be used, they should have checked what your class were doing, and told you that you couldn't state that purpose on the form).

In terms of addressing what's happened, I think the school should be getting involved in working out how to make things right, as its them that has changed things and said you can't do what you said you'd do with the money (and their reputation is at stake - if anyone feels their money was misused, it will be by the school, not a small temporary fundraising group!).

A letter on the school website and to sponsors by email would seem a good solution, explaining that the money is no longer needed for the original purpose due to peoples generosity, and stating that the money will be used for other projects to beenfit the school pupils, and asking them to respond if they are not ok with that, and want their donation back.

GreenTulips Thu 08-Feb-18 12:33:53

I would then cover yourself after the meeting with an email

Dear HT as I understood the fundraising x activity in Y date was for the shed, as detailed in the sponsorship forms approved by school and issued on X date.

I've now discovered that the shed has been donated and the money will be used for X project instead - I feel we have mislead the donors and this could be seen as fraud.

I would suggest we contact the sponsors I explain the shed has been donated and they can apply for a refund or agree to the funds going on X project instead

XmasInTintagel Thu 08-Feb-18 12:46:40

You may need to politely but firmly tell the head that it IS an issue, they can't just do what they like I've had 2 similar issues with schools just deciding to do what they'd like and being reluctant to accept that the rules do apply to them! One was to do with the results of a poll on parent satisfaction (only resolved thru contacting county council to stop them). The other was repeated distribution of all parents email addresses to all parents and various other people (they did not accept that they had to comply with the dpa, and said they preferred not to use it!).

I don't think its done with dishonest intent, the staff are busy trying to educate kids and don't have time to contemplate all these angles, so see it as you helping them out in your email/meeting ;-)

FundraisingWoes Thu 08-Feb-18 21:33:01

Well, I went to see the headteacher this morning. She was lovely.

It turns out that the 'organiser' mum either got the wrong end of the stick from the meeting or has been deliberately lying to us. The head had no idea about the first sponsored event and only found out about the 2nd event at very short notice. So at the time the sponsor forms went out she had no idea that funds had already been raised.

We do need lots more funds to replace the damaged contents from the shed. Any surplus will be put aside to be spent on outdoor equipment and things for the reception class and some guided reading books to be used across KS1. So we were still fundraising to replace things damaged over winter after all.

As I suspected the head needs to collect in all of the money before it can be spent. But it will be put aside and allocated specifically to buying things for KS1.

Basically the 'organiser' mum cocked up big-time and spent last night on the chat group trying to cover her back by badmouthing the school.

If I ever do any fundraising for the school again I am definitely liaising with the head directly!!

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