BY LINDSEY HANNAH
It is seldom, if ever, voluntary. No matter if it’s car washes, chocolate boxes, Valentine plush toys or matchmaking quizzes, odds are that every club member has, at one time or another, taken part in fundraising. Despite the common reluctance to participate, however, fundraising is one of the most essential aspects of club membership. Obviously, you may be thinking, clubs need money in order to operate. While this is undeniably true, the act of gathering funds for an organization has rewards that reach far beyond the cash itself.
Not only does fundraising avoid hefty membership fees and state or federal sponsorship (which ultimately comes from taxpayers), but it also incites a deeper investment in club activities in members. The simple fact is that people tend to care more about something when they are the ones who did the work to make it possible. The knowledge that it was their own labors which facilitated a competition trip, a school function or a newspaper publication makes the final product far more rewarding.
“I’d rather fundraise than pay the money out of my pocket,” CCHS senior Ashley DeVito said. “Also you are bonding with people, especially if you go somewhere together to fundraise. It just makes whatever you’re fundraising for so much better and more meaningful.”
Furthermore, it instills the principle that in life, nothing comes without a cost. As children, people are given everything that they need with relatively little asked of them in return. As people get older, however, more and more is demanded of them until, finally, they are virtually independent. At this point, every meal eaten, movie watched, trip taken and outfit bought is paid for, and worked for, by that individual. If this lesson is not learned early on, protracted habits of childhood can manifest in exorbitant debt and parental dependence. Experiencing the benefits of hard work not only for yourself, but for others, is a great character builder.
“Personally I like club fundraisers especially when the money goes to some type of cause and it’s not just for the club,” CCHS junior Raquel Gonzalez said. “It’s pretty cool to… know that my efforts are part of something bigger than myself and my time is actually making a difference.”
Fundraising can also serve as a teacher of valuable skills such as salesmanship and the ability to approach strangers. For members of The Lariat, for instance, selling advertisements to local businesses can be nerve-wracking at first. With practice, however, techniques are developed to communicate the value of placing an ad in the paper to business owners who are sometimes busy or reluctant. This skill can then be used for a number of other purposes, such as standing out in a massive college class or selling yourself in an interview.
The final and most important benefit of member fundraising is the sense of camaraderie it promotes. Not only are many fundraisers put on as a group, but even individual acts such as selling chocolate bars convey a sort of mutual labor and reward achieved as a team. The knowledge that everyone is working hard and pulling their weight for the benefit of the group as a whole can foster bonding like nothing else. It can make each individual feel important and helpful as well as appreciated, engendering a sense of togetherness. It can make a club what it really ought to be: all for one and one for all.