We all know schools are strapped for cash, so who can blame them trying to boost their budgets with the occasional fundraiser or sponsored event? Most of us want to support our childrens' schools, (along with any other clubs and activities they go to), but when sponsored events become a rather too regular feature on the calendar, it can be tough on your pocket, particularly if you've got several children.
I recently had a letter from my daughter's school asking for the annual 'voluntary' £10 donation for the school fund; I've no problem with that as it goes towards buying all the extra stuff, like outdoor play equipment, that they just can't afford from the school budget.
But having duly dispatched my donation, just one week later another letter came home, this time about an imminent 'sponsored' fun run.
Having asked around, most mums admit to feeling under constant pressure to shell out for a variety of sponsored events. And it's even the size of the dreaded form that can cause problems: 'They've always this big blank grid with space for at least thirty names', says my friend Louise, whose seven-year-old frequently comes home with sponsor forms for events at both school and at Brownies. But she says, 'we're not talking about a couple of events a year; in some cases it seems to be once a month and what schools and clubs don't realize is that they're not the only ones asking for money'.
Another friend who admits finding it awkward asking for sponsor money, says while hers and her husband's relatives can be generous with their promises, 'none of them live nearby so while we've got an impressive sponsor list I'm the one who ends up forking out the cash and then trying to remember to ask them for the money at the next family event,' which she says can be both awkward and embarrassing.
And where do you stand when it comes to sponsoring your friends' kids? I've always stuck with only asking immediate family for school sponsored events; as once you widen your 'asking' circle to other parents, chances are you'll be asked to reciprocate and if the family you're asking has five kids compared with your two, it can get expensive, not to say awkward if their kids do twice as many events as yours.
I was faced with this dilemma a while back when a good mum friend asked me to sponsor her older daughter for a fund raising event. Having just forked out £20 for my own daughter's latest sponsored event I was feeling a bit low on cash funds and if I'm honest, worried about starting that kind of 'sponsorship exchange' where it would become a habit to constantly sponsor each others' kids. So I said no.
A hard word to say, but I did it, all very friendly and up front, I just explained that having just donated £20 for a school event I didn't feel I could pay out for another one so soon after. Then heaved big sigh of relief and have never been asked again.
But while asking friends is one thing; would you let your kids go up and down the road knocking on doors of complete strangers asking for cash? I had exactly this when two young boys I'd never seen before popped up at my front door a while back asking if I'd sponsor them as they were doing a 'goal kick' with their school football team. As it was I wished them good luck and sent them on their way empty handed.
Do you feel under pressure with constant requests for sponsored events?
Where do you draw the line on who to sponsor?
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