Does Northwest take the fun out of fundraising?

A box of Worlds Finest chocolate sits on a table.  Many classes, clubs and teams have participated in fundraisers such as this one to raise money for supplies, transportation, and trips. Photo from Christy Ma.

A box of World’s Finest chocolate sits on a table. Many classes, clubs and teams have participated in fundraisers such as this one to raise money for supplies, transportation, and trips. Photo from Christy Ma.

When going down the halls of Northwest, it is almost certain you are going to see a student selling for one type of fundraiser or another.  Students in many of the cultural arts classes, clubs and teams sell fundraising items for money to go on trips, pay for supplies and more.

“The chorus does it so we can get more money because we don’t get money from anything,” sophomore Brody Hilton said, “We use it to buy more music, we need it for transportation, and just to update some of our equipment like projectors or our computers and to raise money because of the trips we go on and that takes money off of our payments.”

Classes like chorus and other cultural arts are not funded as well as other departments, and they rely on their students to sell candy and other items to raise money.  Classes often try new items to give a variety of products for the students at Northwest to buy, in hopes of raising more money.

“So far, we’ve sold the chocolate boxes, family-sized pot pies and right now we are gathering items together to sell baskets that people can raffle for at our winter concert,” Hilton said.

However, even though teachers and students have good intentions for selling these items, there are several problems that come with trying to raise money with candy or other items.

“The chocolates have not been as successful as they were last year,” Hilton said, “The pot pies were not really a success and we’ve had very few people buying them.”

Sophomore Niha Bhandari had similar thoughts about her fundraiser for the junior varsity basketball team selling donuts.  

“The first week it went off pretty good because people wanted to buy donuts, but after the first week, the second week it started going downhill because it took at least all day to sell all six boxes,” Bhandari said, “Sometimes we wouldn’t even sell six boxes so I think that people were sick of it after a couple of weeks so it didn’t go so well after that. I would say 50/50 (success rate).  It depends when you sell them. If you sell a bunch on the first two weeks, then it’s successful. But if you start selling them at the end of the month, it’s not.”

It also seems that there is a lack of interest of these fundraisers from both the buyers and sellers.  This is caused by the products that many classes and teams sell and the timing of the various fundraisers.

“People just don’t care; they’re (sellers) not interested in selling it,” said Hilton, “And they make up excuses, like ‘nobody wants to buy from it (chocolate)’ or ‘it’s hard to buy from it.’”

The lack of interest greatly affects fundraisers and their success.  Still, some products, like candy have a greater success rate than others with the market at Northwest.  

“I’d rather sell chocolate or candy; those seem to be selling quicker than the donuts,” Bhandari said, “Once you start selling them (donuts) its starts to get sickening; with donuts, they’re heavier than candy so whenever I ask people if they want to buy a donut they mostly say ‘I don’t want to eat it right now’.  It’s a fact of when to eat the donut. There has to be a right time. Plus, they’re a dollar per donut, so I think that many people feel like its a ripoff. ”
Fundraising also puts more pressure on the students who sell the items.

“We have to take home the rest and we have to buy them (donuts),” Bhandari said, “If I couldn’t sell all the donuts today and I had two boxes left, I would have to try tomorrow, but if I cannot sell the entire box by tomorrow, then I have to buy the rest.”

Still, students have more challenges in selling fundraiser items.  Because multiple fundraisers occur at the same time, students trying to sell candy or donuts often have difficulty in meeting their quota.

“I feel like they should be spanned out a little; there are too many people trying to sell at the same time,” Bhandari said, “Sometimes when you’re trying to sell to people, they say ‘well I just spent my money to buy coffee’ or ‘I just bought candy, I can’t buy your donuts’”.

Students also have some suggestions for how to improve the fundraising experience for all students.

“A lot of teenagers like donuts, and they love candy, but they also like coffee,” Bhandari said, “Sell things that you know that teenagers will eat. You just have to find who to target. It’s a question of what to sell and what not to sell.”

All in all, fundraising is a practical way of raising money for underfunded classes and teams.  Fundraising also gives incentives to students who participate. In addition to supporting the school, fundraisers can also teach students valuable communication, presentation, motivation and organization skills.

“I do (think it helps); it’s a fun thing to do, it’s better than not doing anything at all,” Hilton said, “Plus it’s beneficial towards me.  One, I am helping my class, and two, that’s money that has been taken off of my payment for my trip to Nashville.”