Finding The Fun In Fundraising

Economists and accountants have MBAs.

Hockey parents have MBACs - Masters of Breaking out A Checkbook.

There's the registration and rink fees, new warm-up suits, and that big, new bag with the team logo embroidered on the side. And all that is before your coach start dropping F-bombs.


This past fall it was selling 15 tickets at $20 each for a chance at a holiday cheer pallet. AND you must chip in for the cheer, two bottles of wine and a case of beer.

With my fundraising well having long run dry - you can only hit up the usual suspects of friends and co-workers so often - I simply gave up and broke out the checkbook. Bye-bye $300.

If it was up to Michigan hockey dad Mark Gilman, every parent would have the "Just tell me how much to write the check for" option. Gilman is still a little bitter from the year a family donated hundreds of cases of non-biodegradable leaf bags for the team to sell. He still has five-dozen boxes of them sitting in his garage. 

Fundraisers are necessary evils in team sports; and I'm all in when it comes to raising funds and also bonding a team. So is Camillus, N.Y., hockey mom Jackie Barstow. "Fundraisers that have the kids work together as a team - yard sales, bake sales, serving breakfast, collecting returnable bottles, running a car wash - are worth it," she says. "But I have completely had it with selling candy bars, and I will choose to write the check every time."

Candy sales aren't so sweet for Baldwinsville, N.Y., hockey mom Julie Varney either. "Candy bar sales ... I eat them all. Don't sell any and gain 10 pounds."

And please, begs Syracuse, N.Y., hockey mom Dennell Jay, "Don't force anyone to sell any quota of merchandise or raffle tickets. Some people have small families and circles of friends and workplace policies that prohibit fundraisers."

Perhaps Oswego, N.Y., hockey dad Bill Cahill has a reasonable solution for kids too busy with sports, honors classes, jobs and limited social lives to sell or fundraiser. Offer families a choice of a payment in lieu of fundraising, "to save families the trouble of going through the ringer of lost tickets, pizzas with cheese stuck to the box and cookie dough that could be used to fill the cracks in your basement wall."

As a new season approaches and we hold that next fundraising strategy meeting, I'll bring my ideas to the table, suggest a fundraiser that allows the kids to earn money for ice time, AND that payment in lieu of sales option.

There's an old Will Rogers saying that "The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket."

Clearly Rogers wasn't a hockey dad.

Sometimes it's better just to use that MBAC and write the check before the fundraisers end up checking you against the glass.

Christie Casciano Burns' new book, "My Kids Play Hockey: Essential Advice For Every Hockey Parent."




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