Worse than Chocolate Bars

I am by no means the first person to complain about how schools and clubs enlist children to be door-to-door salespeople during fundraising drives.  But I am now involved (or rather my daughter Bishop is) in an organization that has taken the whole supplemental income effort thing to a giddying height of crazy.

To join this club, we have to pay a fairly hefty membership fee, and had to join the provincial body that governs this activity (another fairly hefty fee).  AND we had to write 3 post-dated cheques totalling $200 for January, March and June.  The reason the cheques are post-dated is that if we can generate enough fundraising cash before each of those deadlines, the cheques will be ripped up.

The way you generate that cash is by buying gift cards from a 3rd party (let’s call them Scamco) and using the cards at area stores.  A certain percentage of each dollar spent this way is collected by Scamco for the club.  The percentages vary from 2 to 6%, I believe.  So, for instance, I could buy a $100 gift card to Canadian Tire (which pays 4%), use that card to buy a tank of gas for my SUV, and $4 would be credited to my fundraising account.  If I do this 50 times, I get to keep my $200!

Of course, there is a ton of administration work that needs to be done by Scamco to manage this whole process, and they’re not a charity, so they don’t give ALL the proceeds to the club.  I’m not sure what this particular deal is, but companies like Scamco usually charge between 40 and 70%, so let’s say half.  So if the club had avoided using Scamco at all, and just got me to pitch in another $100 as part of their membership fee, they’d have the same amount of money.

As it stands now, I either have to do a ridiculous amount if gift card using, or just forfeit my $200 (which is what I’ll probably do).   So I’m out twice as much dough, and the club is no better off.

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