She’s controversial again — Alyssa Milano, that is. In recent days, she has saturated social media regarding her fundraising tactics to help her 12-year-old son’s baseball team raise money for a trip to Cooperstown, NY. The famous actress created a GoFundMe and asked followers to donate money toward the team’s trip — and she instantly received massive backlash saying that she should be the one financing the trip herself, considering her multi-million-dollar net worth.
Here’s the thing: I don’t think she should be expected to pay for her child’s team/group events and trips. She could probably afford to finance their entire trip, regardless of her online claims, but I don’t feel she should be expected to foot the bill because of her celebrity. To me, I don’t take issue with her tone-deaf celebrity request. What I do disagree with is her taking on the fundraising responsibility for her child as his parent. What happened to kids knocking on neighbor’s doors and calling extended family on the phone asking them to support their distant relative?
I feel your eye rolls, knowing I have an unsupportive position on yet another aspect of modern parenting (enter my old-school take on party favors, allowance, and smartphones). Nevertheless, parents taking on the fundraising responsibility for their child’s team/school/group falls into another modern parenting disappointment for me.
I’m well aware that most parents raise money themselves for their kids’ fundraisers, and that it generates A LOT more money when they do, and how much more the team or event benefits because the goal is met/exceeded. What makes me sad is the fact that children actively fundraising for a cause is about so much more than raising the money itself.
When parents take over fundraising for their children, they are depriving them of learning some of life’s most important skills: communication, goal setting, how to handle money, accountability, and much more. By far, one of the best skills a child can learn during this process is how to handle rejection: Accept it and move on to the next, or find a way to overcome it and make the sale. There is so much for kids to learn when they fundraise themselves; it just feels like another version of us doing their homework for them when we take on that responsibility.
I don’t support a fundraiser via social media when a parent posts for their child. But if a child knocks on my door telling me about their cause and asking for support, I ALWAYS buy, even if they are the fourth Girl Scout this week asking me to buy cookies, or I’ve already bought a coupon book from the other football players in the neighborhood. And if they can’t come to my door, and they call me asking for support, I always buy then, too. I buy when a child makes the effort to tell me about the cause that is important to them and asks me for my support — and I’m thrilled to do so!
Without being too righteous, I also realize there are times when parents must take the lead on fundraising for children. I am not referring to these special circumstances. What I am disappointed by is the able-skilled child whose parent does it for them. Last I read, Alyssa Milano’s GoFundMe had raised $10K more than the amount requested, so my feeling on this topic has become obsolete, replaced with the power of parent fundraising skills via social media — because now it’s about the final destination, and no longer about the journey. I’m still going to focus on the journey though.