Try a cake sale (Alamy/PA)
31 May 2022

10 dos and don’ts for parents if their children want to fundraise for charity

31 May 2022

When their child wants to fundraise for charity, many parents feel two conflicting emotions: pride that their youngster cares – and worry about how much mayhem it could cause.

There’s no doubting children want to make the world a better place.  According to Save The Children, there has been an an 80% increase in young fundraisers wanting to help children across the world, compared to 2021.

And newly released research, carried out for the charity in April, found 79% of 7-14 year olds wish they could do more to help people in need.

Given what kids have been through during the pandemic and the crisis they know is unfolding in Ukraine, it’s little wonder they want to do their bit.

But parents may also have justifiable worries. What if their child’s charitable plans are too complex?  Will mum or dad end up spending way too much cash rescuing an overly-ambitious fundraising event? And exactly how many hours of cake baking could this involve?

We consulted parents in the office who have faced these dilemmas as well as experts to compile a list of dos and don’ts for parents to help make sure their child’s decision to do good ends well.

1. Don’t let your child go asking for money door-to-door

This is a pretty obvious one. You may know your neighbours pretty well, but it is never worth risking the safety of your kids for some charity cash. Going door to door is risky, there may be a loose dog or something alarming happening behind that door. Aside from being a safety concern, it is really irritating for the potential money giver to get a knock just as they are dishing up tea.

2. Do make sure the money is going to the right place

Lisa Aubrey, head of community fundraising at Save the Children UK advises: “Parents can ensure that the money their children fundraise goes to the right place by registering their fundraiser with their chosen charity. Alongside registering directly with the charity, children can also setup a ‘JustGiving page’ and select their chosen charity. The money raised on their page is automatically transferred to their chosen charity, with no transaction fees charged.”

3. Don’t always hassle the same friends or family membersKarolina Throssell, Freelance PR at Iden Marketing and trustee for Staplehurst School PTA, says there are more ways to fundraise than asking for donations from those closest to you. “If you’ve managed to source some good raffle prizes, there’s no reason why you can’t approach the wider community when selling, and social media is fantastic for this. One of the pupils in our school did a sponsored litter pick for Ocean Generation and she raised over £1,000 using social media to raise awareness of her fundraising.”

If you do ask friends and family, be aware of what is going on for them. Will they be sponsoring another child, or are they struggling financially? Switch up who you ask each time.

4. Do manage your child’s expectations

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When you watch amazing charity fundraising feats like Children in Need, it can feel like you can take on the world and raise serious cash. But it is is wise to manage your youngster’s expectations. They might not make millions, but their contribution – however small – is still amazing.

5. Don’t agree to do too much to help your child’s fundraising efforts

Making a few cakes for a school bake sale is one thing, but finding yourself performing the role of chef in an environment more tense than the Bake Off tent is not the way to fundraise. Make sure your child is taking on a challenge that will be theirs to do – offer help where you can, but don’t push yourself too hard financially or emotionally.

6. Do highlight the joy of the process, not the final figure

 

Fundraising should be fun, and stressing too much about the amount raised can take some of the enjoyment out of fundraising. Aubrey explains that enjoyment is key.

“By finding an activity they enjoy, like dancing or baking, and inviting their friends and family to join in, children can experience the real enjoyment of fundraising. It’s also important for parents to avoid setting high fundraising targets that may overwhelm children and instead set small and achievable milestones. The most important aspect of a fundraiser is to remind children of the importance of what they are doing, regardless of the amount of money they raise.”

7. Do look into the school rules

Some schools may have rules about selling or fundraising on their premises, so to avoid your child getting into trouble, double check whether they can do what they are planning at school or whether it will have to be separate.

Equally, Throssell says: “I have heard of some faith schools who prefer to avoid fundraisers that involve lotteries. Cake and ice cream sales are always easy fundraisers and while we don’t have any restrictions at our school on these, our PTA is always mindful of doing too many to avoid being criticised for going against any healthy school policies.”

8. Do chat to your child about money being tight for many people

We are facing a major cost of living crisis and purse strings are tight. People who once may have been able to throw a few bob in the direction of a fundraiser may not have that cash anymore. Make sure your child knows there may not be cash to spare this time around.

9. Don’t risk the health and safety of others

Make sure your child is being wary of food contamination if they are cooking, and are carefully washing their hands too. It is also vital they know to avoid using ingredients that can be allergens, including nuts.

Your child may want to try something new to raise some cash (Alamy/PA)

10. Do encourage their fundraising interest

The fact your child wants to fundraise is amazing, and it shows you are raising a thoughtful and empathetic person. Make sure they know that and encourage their interest in charitable endeavours. You have a good kid!

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