Fundamentals of fundraising in THHS

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From selling chocolate bars and Sour Patch candy to holding elaborate bake sales with plethoras of pasta, cookies, and rice, student fundraising is the backbone of the events, teams, and clubs offered at Townsend Harris. With the various activities available to students, it is no wonder that so many Harrisites lug around boxes of snacks to sell and organize bake sales on an almost weekly basis. Food-based fundraisers have generally been the most successful and profitable efforts for teams and clubs.

Junior Michael Kim is a part of both the fencing team and Robotics and has had his fair share of fundraising. He said that although selling candy can often be a hassle, “[it] is a great way of funding for our clubs and promotes a friendly door to door salesman vibe which enables a nice environment in the school.” Michael added that he knows the sales will ultimately benefit his teams, which motivates him to continue selling.

Coordinator of Student Activities Sarah Loew agrees with Michael. “I do think it’s important to fundraise to lower the cost of different opportunities and trips. It also brings the club closer together as they work towards a common goal,” she explained. “Fundraising also teaches important life lessons such as budgeting.” 

There are multiple different ways of fundraising to draw students besides bake sales and boxed snacks. Last month, the girl’s track team hosted a fundraiser at Blaze Pizza where 20% of one’s purchase went towards funding the track team. 

“I think this type of fundraiser is more successful than what we usually do. I think this is the first time since I got [on the] team that we had… [a] restaurant fund us,” junior track member Valeriya Shin said. “Usually we do… a bake sale, sell teacher vs. student game tickets, or have sponsors for our mile logs during summer.” 

Student Union President Annlin Su commented, “Another method [of fundraising] is also our SU card sales. That’s how we fundraise for the general SU, but for clubs specifically, they can also fundraise through Winter Carnival.” She conceded that in reality, “[the] Winter Carnival is not that successful, since it’s really hard to actually make money off of it, but [students] do still have a good time.”

Annlin added that “another successful fundraiser was the first year we did Harrisfest… that was a fundraiser for donating to the victims of the Stoneman Douglas shooting. I believe we raised $500 from that fundraiser to donate, so it was really great.”

Compared to past events such as the Senior Mixer, which was discontinued this year, food sales seem to be more popularly received. “Depending on the type of fundraiser, I may or may not enjoy doing it,” Senior Class President Tina Chen said. “I haven’t checked how much money us seniors have in our account, and our fundraisers as a grade so far haven’t been very food-focused. In the future, fundraiser events that have food involved do look very promising.” 

Ultimately, although food-related fundraisers seem to be consistently better than student-led activities or events, newly introduced forms of fundraising, such as the recent Senior Movie Night, may also have potential in the future.

Photo by Nikki Ng.