Why A Healthy Fundraiser
Sending Mixed Messages
Many schools rely on fundraising activities to supplement school budgets and pay for equipment, materials, supplies, and events. Unfortunately, many school fundraisers involve the sale of unhealthy foods.
Fundraising activities centered on unhealthy food include bake sales, chocolate and candy sales, fundraising events held at fast-food restaurants and sales of sugary drinks, chips, and snack cakes out of vending machines.
Given the rising obesity rates and children's poor diets, many schools are reconsidering whether selling low-nutrition foods is an appropriate way to raise money. As a part of their wellness policies, many school districts are setting policies to ensure that schools conduct healthy fundraisers.
This report addresses the current situation, in which many schools are conducting fundraisers, and recommends that fundraisers, if they occur, not undermine the nutrition and health of students. Many healthy fundraising alternatives are available and can be more profitable than the unhealthy fundraisers.
Fundraising Should Not Undermine Children's HealthIn the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, the U.S. Congress established a new requirement that all school districts with federally-funded school meal programs develop and implement wellness policies that address nutrition and physical activity by the start of the 2006-2007 school year. Given rising obesity rates and children's poor diets it is no longer acceptable to sell junk food to children through school fundraisers. Healthy fundraisers set a positive example and support healthy eating by children, nutrition education, and parents' efforts to feed their children healthfully.
"Healthy" FundraisersWhile avoiding junk food fundraisers is a good start, fundraising events that include physical activity have the additional benefit of promoting something that is healthy while at the same time not pushing something that everyone knows is bad for you. The number one healthy fundraiser recommended by the Center Of Science In The Public Interest (CSPI) is a Fun Run. Walk-a-thons and fun runs are increasingly popular, promote physical activity and can raise significant funds (even more than typical fundraisers). Fundraisers to avoid include sales of Candy, cookie dough, doughnuts, pizza, and fast food.
Children's Diets and Health
Obesity rates have tripled in children and teens over the past two decades. More than nine million young people aged six to nineteen years are considered obese. Obese 10-14 year olds with at least one obese parent have an 80% chance of being obese as adults. Obese individuals are in jeopardy of developing a host of costly and potentially disabling diseases, including diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers.
Also important to children are the embarrassment, reduced ability to participate in physical activities, and social stigma that often accompany being overweight. Energy -dense, low-nutrient foods, such as desserts, candy, carbonated and other sweetened drinks, and salty snacks account for nearly one-third of the daily calorie intake of American children and adolescents.
Even for children at a healthy weight, most have unhealthy diets that put them at risk for coronary heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, and other diseases. Only 2% of children (2 to 19 years) meet the five main recommendations for a healthy diet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
One-quarter of children ages 5 to 10 years have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or other early warning sign for heart disease. Atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) begins in childhood. Autopsy studies of teens ages 15 to 19 have found that all have fatty streaks in more than one artery, and about 10% have advanced fibrous plaques. As a result of poor diet and being overweight, many children experience medical problems that used to be considered adult diseases.
Type 2 diabetes can no longer be called "adult onset" diabetes because of rising rates in children. In a study conducted in Cincinnati, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in adolescents increased ten-fold between 1982 and 1994. High blood pressure in children is rising, increasing their risk of adult high blood pressure, heart attacks, and stroke.
Junk Food Fundraisers in Schools Contradicts Nutrition Education
Students should receive consistent messages about health throughout the school day, across all subjects, and in all school venues - from the classroom to the cafeteria to the gymnasium. Fundraising with low-nutrition foods in schools contradicts nutrition education by sending the message that good nutrition is unimportant. The school environment should reinforce classroom nutrition education by modeling and supporting healthy behaviors. Schools should not sell nutrition -poor choices to kids, nor should they enlist children in selling nutrition-poor choices to their family, friends, and neighbors.
Given the variety of options available from fundraising companies and the growing problem of childhood obesity and poor nutrition, many schools have concluded that it is not appropriate for fundraising organizers to sell products that make a negative contribution to children's diets and health, such as candy, cookies, cookie dough, and pizza and other fast food fundraisers.
Physical Activity FundraisersWalk-a-Thons, Fun Runs, 5Ks, 10Ks, bowl-a-thons, dance-a-thons, golf tournaments, and baseball, basketball, soccer, or volleyball events can raise funds, be enjoyable, promote physical activity and raise more money than traditional unhealthy fundraisers.
Other Fundraising Activities That Promote Healthy Living
Raffle organizers ask local businesses to donate prizes, including products, gift certificates, or services. Alternatively, in a "50/50" raffle, the prize is half of the money raised. For example, if $1,000 worth of tickets are sold, the winner takes home $500. Since raffles are regulated in many states, consult local and state laws prior to organizing a raffle.
*Your MyFunRun website comes with a built-in Online Raffle and easily becomes an additional source of revenue for your fundraiser.
Auctions can be profitable, since almost all of the auctioned items are donated, usually by parents, school staff, or local businesses. For an auction to be successful, several auctioned items should be highly desirable, such as vacation packages, behind the scenes tours of sports stadiums, dinner with a local celebrity, or rounds of golf.