Charity and Children

WP_20150316_15_50_04_ProLast Friday at playgroup Monkey did some Red Nose Day activities. He decorated some lovely biscuits (which sadly I didn’t get a photo of as he scoffed them almost as soon as he got home and I didn’t think to take a piccy) and made a funny face plate which he loves.

It was our first foray into the mixture of charity and childcare/school. I don’t think they asked for any donations for Comic Relief (hubs took him and collected him so am not 100% sure) and I’m not sure if they explained to the kids what it was all in aid of, I am sure the toddlers just thought it was another fun activity. They were asked to make Mother’s Day cards and Red Nose Day Biscuits. It probably all just felt the same to them.

It got me thinking though in a way I never have before, about the way certain charities have become so connected to schools and childcare. It was the same when I was a kid. We had a mufti day for Children in Need (where you wear your normal clothes) and there was always fancy dress and activites for Comic Relief. I’m sure there were others but they were the biggest ones. As a kid you don’t really think about it and I guess now I am a parent I realised something that I hadn’t thought of before. Which is that, as a parent, you suddenly have very little control over whether you give to these charities.

Now, I am not saying by any means that you shouldn’t give to these charities, or that they are undeserving in anyway, or that this should stop, but I guess, as a bit of a control freak I always hate when decisions or choice is taken away from me. Of course you do have a choice but I also don’t want to be the parent that makes my child the odd one out who isn’t wearing special clothes or who isn’t participating in something, so it does feel like we are a little forced into it. I know we aren’t generally talking about a lot of money here but it does all add up and I guess it is about the principle of it.

There are so many causes and charities out thereyou could choose to give to. The British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research, Sue Ryder, Oxfam to name but a few. What if you would prefer to give to those charities? What if you already do give to those charities? Most of us don’t have the luxury to be able to afford to give to every charity so what if you would prefer to give to a different charity, but don’t because you already feel that you have to donate to charities connected with schools and that almost target your children?

I personally don’t like sponsored activities, I hate asking people for money and I feel that there are so many things now that you can almost be sponsoring someone to do something every day of the week. (That’s not to say I don’t sponsor people, I do, I just don’t like asking other people to sponsor me.) But I do give to charity and have given to Cancer Research monthly for a long time. I donate things to charity shops and buy things from chairty shops. As Monkey grows older I will no doubt be donating to the various charities on his behalf that are connected with fun days and bake days and sponsored events.

Because actually I think it is a good lesson for kids. To understand the idea of giving. of doing something on somebody else’s behalf. To understand that there are many people who are less fortunate than we are and that if we can help them in some then we should. Much as I don’t like sponsored activities on a personal level I know they work and are a good way of fundraising so again I am not saying we should stop any of it.

I guess I just don’t like the fact that I don’t have a choice in where that money goes. Do you ever feel like this? Maybe it is just because we haven’t had to experience it before!

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22 thoughts on “Charity and Children

  1. I totally agree. I hate being forced into doing anything. They had a cake sale at Boo’s nursery. Usually I would bake but I pulled the ‘just had a baby card’ I wonder how much longer I can use that for he he #theytruthabout

  2. You’ve raised a very good point here hon, and I feel the same. Charity is everywhere, and we should be able to freely choose who to support. My daughter’s school have paid for mufti days in the run up to the summer and Xmas fair to raise money to cover their costs, which I’m totally fine with. Also their charity of choice is a local children’s charity, which again I’m happy to support, so fortunately I’ve not found myself in this position yet… xx

  3. I don’t actually give to big charities, its a personal decision and I’m by no means trying to sway everyone else to do the same but after working for a big one and seeing how much gets lost to huge wages for those in the middle & the top it squewed my beliefs. I prefer to donate to small, local charities. (although I do pay the £1 non uniform and cake fees on big charity days) #thetruth

  4. I’ve never really thought about this and Jessica doesn’t go to preschool on Fridays so this hasn’t been an issue for us yet. I think being asked to donate a small amount for a non-uniform day or something like that wouldn’t bother me and I’m generally happy to sponsor friends to do things but I understand your point about feeling like choice is being taken away and that perhaps you would prefer to donate that money to another charity instead. You’ve given me some food for thought with your post.

  5. My goodness, what a brilliant post! I had not considered this at all, and actually, I totally agree with you. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if kids could choose a charity that means something to them? They could all learn about each other’s choices while still taking part in the fun activities.

    A charity that is close to my heart is The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. I wrote about them fairly recently and got a fantastic response to the work they do.

    This is something I will definitely raise when my kids are at school. What a terrific point you’ve made here.


  6. The worst thing now is the sponsorship forms that come home in JJ’s school bag (we’ve had two so far and he only started school 7 months ago!). Like you I hate asking people for money (I’d make a rubbish chugger 🙂 ) so it’s really awkward and I ended up giving money myself under the name of various extended family members last time! I agree that it’s good for the kids to be made aware of the idea of doing something for others/the less fortunate and i also have no problem with Red Nose Day or Children in Need as they seem to raise money for lots of different projects and reasons and I think that variety is really good. Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout hon Xx

  7. We have days like this every now and then in my kids’ schools but the school has always been very clear that they are totally optional (and we haven’t felt pressure to participate.)

    One day a few months back it was Hat Day at school, for the price of a canned good to be donated to a local food pantry. My 6-year-old was totally confused at what wearing a hat had to do with anything… in the end he decided not to wear a hat, I think because he thought they were donating the hats to the food pantry!


  8. I thought exactly this mainly when watching Comic Relief. Where does the money go to really? My gremlin was asked to dress up and she’s only 18 months. It’s all a bit odd. I only remember doing this at school. Good post Caroline!! xx #thetruthabout

  9. I feel completely the same! Especially about Children in Need! It feels really evil saying that but you’re so right about wanting choice in what you want your charity giving to be. Our son’s school always seems to have it’s hand out for something or other and I worry that it must put a strain on the lower income families whose kids attend the school, let alone making us feel guilty for not wanting to fill a tatty photocopied sheet of Pudsey bear with coins! #TheTruthAbout

  10. You’re so right. Schools encourage children to do things for money but often the children don’t have a choice (neither do the parents!) and the children don’t really know what they’re doing it for. We actively chose to take part in Comic Relief because my daughter’s school was, but she wasn’t told why. That “emotional journey” I took with her at home. But it was our choice.

  11. Other than organised stuff at work/schools – and I am always a bit uneasy about the ‘compulsory’ nature of such events – I generally don’t give to ‘generic’ events like Comic Relief. Not because I don’t believe in charity – the opposite in fact. I donate a fixed amount direct from my salary each month to four different charities that are close to my heart for various reasons. I know exactly who I’m giving to and what it’s for. Any and all charity fundraising is good, but I prefer to target my giving more precisely.

  12. This is an interesting topic. I think it’s great that nurseries and schools get involved with fundraising, whether it’s for Children in Need or their own funds, I think it teaches children an important lesson, and helps them to get excited for charity work which is pretty important. But I know what you mean about it being dictated who the money goes to. I know there’s a number of charities that I don’t want to give money to for various ethical reasons, and I’m not sure how I’ll handle it when the inevitable day comes that my daughter’s school are fundraising and I’m expected to fork over money! x

  13. Like you I haven’t really ever thought about it that way. But so true. I wouldn’t like the lack of control either of it all. I haven’t come across it yet as my two are still young but I am sure I will. And feel the same as you. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

  14. I have never even thought about this , i think i am just that use to raising money for various charities from my own childhood and my children’s. As they get older you get so many different ‘events’ at school to donate too , i think last year we got about five different sponsorship forms home and about four different school charity days plus various charity events through guides also x

  15. My son’s school did not do comic relief this year. They did however had an event about Children In Need and whats nice is that the school admin explained what it is about and where the help would go. For the longest time my won is saying words about helping other kids who are not as lucky and I love his school for that. #sharewithme

  16. I struggle with larger charities when the pay a CEO vast sums I start to wonder if my money is being used well, and I totally agree with you here schools almost force you through guilt to give even if it was not something you would want to (or be able to afford) to do.

    As for sponsored events they either need to be a real challenge (I had a friend who ran 1000 miles last year, no issue giving there) or hard to do (breaking a record or something) it seems all too often it is people asking for sponsorship to do something they want to do!

    Anyway nice post 🙂

  17. I absolutely agree with this — I hate the feeling that I’m being forced to give to certain charities — particularly when we donate a lot to others. My husband is of the mind that animals can’t take care of themselves so the RSPCA is a good one to donate to — and everyone’s affected by cancer so that’s another. We give such a lot throughout the year though, it’s annoying when I’m made to feel guilty for not wanting to give to another sponsored run/hike/bikeride #TheTruthAbout

    Caro |

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