The old cliché is that children are the future, and though typically most clichés are eyeroll inducing, one such as this is as true as it is tried; without properly nurturing our nation’s children while we can, they are unable to grow up into successful, intelligent adults who are able to make the world a better place through improvements made possible because of the people they grow up into.
And of course, the nurturing begins at home, but the average child spends anywhere from nine hundred to a thousand hours per year in school. As such, it falls on the school as much as it does on the parents to help shape the child into the sort of adult who is able to be a successful, contributing member of society when they are older.
The conundrum that arises from something as this is the clear lack of funding for the American public school system. However much money you think the average school is given to properly educate and nurture the future of this nation, it isn’t nearly as much as they are actually receiving. Indeed, just during the 2013-2014 school year, a minimum of 34 states reportedly provided less funding per student than they did before the Great Recession. What, then, is a school to do when they receive so little money?
Each year, about $1.4 billion is spent on new playground equipment, field trips, computer labs, athletic team uniforms, and other such youth services, products, and programs. This money, however, doesn’t come from public funding, it comes from efforts put in by the students, teachers, parents, and principals in the way of fundraising. A recent survey, in fact, conducted by Causera.org found that 98% of parents reported that their children’s schools frequently held fundraisers in order to make these improvements to their schools and community possible.
Given that in 2007 a survery conducted by the Nartional Association of Elementary School Principals reported that 20% of schools hold 5-10 fundraisers per year, and 76% hold only 5, surely, by this point, many parents, teachers, and principals must be experts in how to run a school fundraiser. But the world is always changing, and people don’t necessarily want the same things they used to want.
Once, chocolates, candy, and other such food items worked well enough to raise the money needed to keep buying new equipment and improving upon programs and the school itself, but in this day and age, a different approach is surely needed. While 1.4 billion people donated to nonprofit organizations in 2014 and showed that most people simply like to just give wherever and whenever they can, other people need something for their money, so some schools have taken to thinking outside the box.
Taking into account the fact that people like to show their school spirit—34% of people get involved in school programs, class fundraisers, and activities simply because it is a way for them to show their school spirit—and the fact that those leading the school themselves believe that high student achievement is closely connected to high levels of school spirit, it should come as no surprise that they have learned to tie these things together and use selling school spirit shirts as a way to raise money for their schools.
Indeed, entire websites exist simply for the purpose of creating custom apparel—school spirit shirts, in this case—for fundraising. It is as simple, in most cases, as uploading a logo or image that you would want printed on the custom apparel, choosing the level of package wanted for the fundraiser at hand, and handing out the necessary information to the students and teachers so they can begin to sell the custom school spirit shirts.
It is the perfect marriage of school spirit, and the average American’s love for t-shirts, given that 62% of Americans own roughly 1.5 billion shirts in total, averaging out to more than ten shirts per person. And given that the t-shirt business seems to be booming with around 2 billion being sold per year around the globe, the idea of selling school spirit shirts to raise money for schools that so desperately need it is one that can and should be capitalized on.
For the children.