Mercy’s Fundraiser- All in Good Fun?

December 11, 2018

Though students, alumnae, staff, and outsiders supporters alike are bound together through contributing to the Mercy cause, many of our school happenings yield various opinions- Mercy’s annual fundraiser being no exception.

“I have been in Catholic schools all my life, and every one of them had a fund-raiser–selling candy bars, magazines, raffles,” says Ms. Kitty Yanson. “I don’t think they are going away any time soon.”

“There should be more than one fundraiser throughout the year, instead of one big one, where everyone is required to sell 20 tickets.  We have good incentives, but it might be nice to switch it up and sell box tops or something other than raffle tickets,” Sara Matvey ‘20 says.

“When it comes to using the money, I feel like they don’t put it towards things we actually need like new microwaves and heat. Where does the money actually go?”- Kelley Scott ‘20 asks.

Why do we not have multiple small fundraisers throughout the year? Why do we sell raffle tickets, and where does the money actually go? I sat down with Ms. Cheese-Thornton, the Director of Development, to answer the student body’s burning questions about the annual fundraiser.

I know that calendars used to be sold, rather than raffle tickets. Why did you make this change?

Ms. Cheese-Thornton: Each year, we get student feedback. In the past, classes have done wrapping paper, candy bars, Big Game tickets, and magazines. It was changed to be more student-focused in terms of rewarding students for their work. We make fundraising changes based on student feedback and the leadership of the class officers.

Do you believe raffle tickets are the best option for fundraising?

Ms. CheeseThorntonI believe it is because it allows us the opportunity to talk about student philanthropy, which is our number one goal. The true cost of a Mercy education is way more than the tuition. With our fundraisers, we have a goal of $30,000. We all have an obligation to support the school using our times, treasures, and talents. It is our way of giving back. Even those who don’t sell their raffles tickets can give back in other ways like service. We have found that selling raffle tickets has been the most beneficial to everyone involved. Students and buyers alike get incentives. If you have an idea for the student fundraiser, come down and share. We’ll be happy to consider it.

What exactly does the fundraising money go towards?

Ms. Cheese-Thornton: The money mainly goes towards sending students on leadership opportunities and offsetting the operating budget–simple things like keeping the lights on and maintaining the campus. The money pays for basic utilities and functions of the school–we have to pay water bills too! To put things into perspective, clearing the entire campus for one snow day was almost $6,000.

Have you considered doing multiple small fundraisers instead of doing one large one where participation is mandatory?

Ms. Cheese-Thornton: There are so many other things happening on campus, so we have to be careful with the timing. The Mothers and Fathers Clubs do their own fundraisers and during the second part of the school year; juniors and seniors are focused on prom dues and other financial stressors. We also find that student morale is higher in the beginning of the year. We try have get this big fundraiser near the beginning of the year, so that if we don’t meet our goal with in the fundraiser, we can have more time to figure out how to supplement that money. If we get the big one out of the way, students can enjoy small club fundraisers.

What would you say is the one takeaway from this fundraiser?

Ms. Cheese-Thornton: By giving back to Mercy, we are investing in future generations. The motto of the development department is “Mercy girls to women of mercy.” Ideally, we invest in each Mercy girl. We will all go out and take Mercy into the world.

If you have an idea for what Mercy should do for their next fundraiser, leave a comment below!

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