We’ve established in our earlier blog post that there is a huge trend of students attending school without having the proper school supplies, and that teachers are paying significant amounts of money from their own pockets to try and combat these odds.

This issue not only hurts the teachers, but the students as well.  Apperson conducted an anonymous teacher survey to get direct feedback on how a lack of student preparedness impacts classroom performance.

Teachers said that their students are impacted socially and emotionally by not being equipped with the proper school supplies in addition to having lower classroom engagement and lower classroom success. These four problems are HUGE! These are serious disadvantages that students are facing by not being prepared for class.

One teacher said students “are ridiculed [by not having the proper school supplies] and it delays the learning process because they cannot immediately begin lessons.”

When asked, 71% of teachers said that they attempt to combat these odds by purchasing supplies for the classroom with their own money.

One teacher said: “I spend money on…cleaning supplies to keep them from getting sick, snacks because several of [my students] come hungry every day and cannot concentrate, school supplies because they either don’t have them or they don’t bring them… and art supplies because I love for my kids to do modeling and I don’t want anyone left out… my budget has been redirected drastically! With limited resources, I can only do so much to give [my students] a decent experience when I have to pay for so much–including extra copies on the printer if we run out…”

Teachers are working incredibly hard to educate the next generation and prepare them for successful futures, and they are not getting the support or funding that they need.

Often, schools will turn to traditional catalog fundraising to help raise the much-needed school funds. However, not many people enjoy these fundraisers. Making students trudge door-to-door knocking on the front doors of neighbors and strangers is not a pleasant experience for anyone involved.

Safety is a main concern for parents. Who wants their child knocking on the door of strangers and asking for money? And many parents don’t have the time to walk door-to-door with their child to ensure this process is successful.

One parent from a PTA stated in one of our surveys that “many fundraisers that are put on by companies offer relatively expensive memorabilia/gifts/buying options. So, our school does much better with smaller ‘fundraisers’ … especially with the average company fundraiser participation being less than 35% of the school.”

Another survey respondent said that “parents get sick of being asked for money and kids forget to bring home information.”

Because of these factors, participation for these types of fundraisers tends to be low. Parents usually end up buying something from their child’s fundraiser catalog and then call it quits. And honestly, who can blame them?

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) conducted a survey and found that 76% of schools conduct one to five fundraisers each year, and one in five schools taps its families and communities up to 10 times annually.

That’s a lot of fundraising, and a lot of pressure on parents.

Now not all school fundraisers are flop. Some can be extremely successful! The question here is, at what expense? Parents are busy. They have a lot to be responsible for, from working all day to cooking dinner and helping their children with homework. On top of that, parents are getting multiple requests to support programs, and it can be overwhelming and even irritating.

Fundraisers should directly give profit back to the schools and parents should not be coerced into buying items that they do not need. Students especially should not be bribed into becoming door-to-door salespeople.

Our next and final blog post in this series is rich with fundraising research directly from the National PTA audience. Be sure to check it out to see what types of fundraisers have been working for schools, and some ways for you to get involved.