Recap and the Cold Hard Facts

Written (with help) by: Stella Stevens, 3rd VP Communications

This year our FunRun brought in $167,018 dollars. Out of that, we paid Boosterthon $59,677, so our total net was $107,341. That amounts to 35.7 percent of our total earnings. Now, if you read this and understand that you have to spend money to make money, and know that 35.7 percent is within the advised guidelines for fundraising costs for charities (around 35 percent according to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance “Standards for Charity Accountability”) then read no further. Go back to finding the perfect holiday class party idea on Pinterest.

But if you want to know more, soldier on, my friend.

When we first started with Boosterthon, 4 years ago, we had come from a product sales based model where the company that we were working with took 50 percent of our earnings. We didn’t like that company for a variety of reasons, and so we started looking around for other fundraising ideas. We liked the idea of a FunRun. We looked at various companies and thought Boosterthon’s model was best suited for us. Our first year out we went from netting $30,000 with the product sales to netting $50,000 and, best of all, Boosterthon took less of a percentage than the cookie dough company did. Actually, best of all, was that we had a much greater participation level than we did with product sales. We went from about a third of the school participating to about 75 percent. That was unheard of. This year 88 percent of the school participated.

Actually, best, best of all was that the kids really had a great time. They were the ones doing it for their school. It wasn’t parents just taking a form to work and guilting their coworkers into buying gross frozen dough that would sit in their freezer until the power went out in the next hurricane.

Even though that was just 4 FunRuns ago, we are, in many ways a different school.

Boosterthon has other business models. They would give us a greater percentage of our profits. But the drawback is, they would require MUCH MORE parent participation.

It is estimated that it would require 20 volunteers to give 20 hours of their time during the 10 days leading up to the FunRun day.

If you have been to any of Boosterthon’s programming during the week, you know that they have 5 full time employees who are conducting mini pep rallies and teaching character traits during the ancillaries. They are working an estimated 400 hours during the 10 days of Boosterthon. They open car doors in the morning drop off and are loading kids in cars in the afternoon. They are all in. 100 percent. They are not bored checking their phones, needing to take a work call, or suddenly having to take a sick kid home. They are at their work. Their work is to be a professional cheerleader. They get the kids really amped up.

Reality check: We can’t even seem to get people to give 30 minutes of their time on a Saturday.

Now more honesty:

Each year my mother in law writes our school 100 dollar check to support the FunRun.

If you know me, then you know that my in-laws escaped The Fall of Saigon with their children and the shirts on their backs. They came to this county and earned everything they have with a lot of sweat.

So when I know that 35 of her dollars go to Boosterthon, it annoys me. Not “fit of rage I will protest” annoy, but it does bother me.

But I also know, that the only reason she is writing the check is because Tallulah asked her. Tallulah asked her because she is excited. Tallulah is excited because the Boosterthon made her excited.

There is no other way I would ever bother my mother in law to help the school. I would simply not ask. The kids, the teachers, hell, even the parents just wouldn’t be as excited.

So there’s the rub.

It’s a very successful fundraiser. And our school is in trying financial times. Mr. Casler’s budget has been further cut by HISD and we are about to be paying for some of the hourly employees salaries. We can do this because we have a surplus. We have a surplus because of Boosterthon.

So we have to decide how we want to go forward. And it’s something to think carefully about, without any animosity or emotion. Just what is best for our school at this moment in time. With the understanding that what is best for next year might change the year after that.

And that’s ok.

It’s all ok. Really it’s great actually—you all worked hard and made over $100,000 for your school.

Do we look this gift horse in the mouth?

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