Boosterthon Fun Run is a RIPOFF! and it's coming to a school near YOU!

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Parent

Allen, TX

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#1
Sep 11, 2010
 

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A new game is in town when it comes to PTA fund raising. Booster Inc. comes to your childs school and get them all hyped up to 'earn' crappy prizes. If someone is kind/dumb enough to pledge $1 a lap (no a lap around the school yard now but a 1/16 of a mile lap) they are going to get jacked for up to 35 bucks. The child 'earns' a set of 20 cent silly bands that spell LAUNCH!!!! If your child were lucky enough to find 3 shills and get $90 in pledges he will come home with a "neon glowball" which looks like a cheap Nerf knockoff in the super-slick Boosterthon pledge packet.
Now, Uncle Bob and Granny really love the kids but they just can't swing the full buck a lap? That's okay they can give any amount but Bubba ain't gettin those silly bands until they get the full $30 in pledges.

Of course most kids are going to want the top prize. In this case it's a FLIP brand video camera which retails for UNDER $100. You will be banging on lots of doors and burning up the phones to raise the $40 per lap that Janie needs to get to that level. Forty people giving your child $30 for the school sounds great right, That is until you find out about the split. BOOSTER INC. KEEPS 48% of EVERY pledge.

You will hear that the other fund raisers keep that amount or more BUT with cookie dough ,wrapping paper or candles the person giving the money is getting something of VALUE.

Please advocate against Boosterthon and Booster Inc. in your school.
Parent

Allen, TX

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#2
Sep 11, 2010
 

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These are all points directly from the TEXAS PTA fund raising guidelines.

• Make children’s roles be either a natural
outgrowth of regular schoolwork or a
constructive leisure-time activity.
• Not allow children to be exploited or used as
fundraisers.
• Create good will for the PTA.

• Funds must be raised ethically •

5. Make sure the product you’re selling
represents a good value at a fair price.

6. Look for fundraising activities that have
educational value and promote community
involvement.

9. Don’t overdo it. Remember, kids are in
school to learn and parents can only afford
so much.

Still no answer on the issue of the possible $2,000 commitment fee that I have heard about.

Would a PTA have to answer a FOIA/TOMA request?
Brett

Atlanta, GA

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#3
Sep 13, 2010
 

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Hey there, my name's Brett and I work for the Boosterthon Fun Run here in Atlanta.

Just thought I'd weigh in on your concerns. First, it's great to see a parent who cares so much. Many of us who work for the BFR have families and kids and, like you, we certainly want the best for our kids as well. Parents who feel the freedom to voice their concerns are our favorite type because it means that they care deeply about their student and their school. I think that's awesome.

Concerning some of the points above...

Yes, rewards are part of the program. We want our rewards to reflect our values as much as possible so we try to make them fitness-oriented (frisbees, balls, etc.). As you mentioned, sponsors can give any amount they want. While the suggested pledge amount is $1/lap, sponsors can give more or less than that, and that's totally fine.

The reward levels are not intended to reflect a fair market value for the item. Of course we know that if your child wants a flip video camera, it's cheaper to buy it in a store. If that's what you want to do, then by all means do it. The prizes are simply a reward for getting pledges and are not intended to be the primary reason to get pledges. We hope that the primary reason anyone gets a pledge is to raise funds to help their school--funds that directly benefit your student's education.

And don't forget, our program is designed so that even if a child doesn't get a pledge at all, they still participate FULLY in our character and leadership program. They still get a t-shirt. They still run in the Fun Run event itself.

You mentioned that with other fundraisers, the donor is “getting something of value.” The BFR is designed completely different than a traditional product sale where a distant company ships a stack of catalogs, puts the parent group in touch with a rep, and then the school does most of the work from there—organizing the fundraiser, rounding up volunteers, distributing products, etc. We take a different approach with the BFR. We are a full service fundraiser which means we have a team on campus that handles all the logistics of the program and is there to answer questions. They also invest many hours with students talking about our character theme for that year. Where other companies invest some value in a product, we take that value and give it back to the students in the form of an exciting 9-day program, a huge fitness event, and a character campaign. Of course, we also cover all other costs—t-shirts, rewards, promotional materials, teacher items, etc.

Regarding the rules from the TX PTA, our program is compliant with each. We have been working with parent organizations in many states for nearly a decade, and they’re all fans of the fun run.

If your child goes to an elementary school from K-6th grade that hosts the Fun Run, that means there is 7 years worth of funded items--new computers, playground equipment, curriculum, etc.--that your child benefits from. Even if you don't participate financially, your student still benefits. We know that everyone won't be able to give for a variety of reasons, and we're okay with that.

Again, thanks for your concerns. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at info@funrun.com. Or if you'd rather talk on the phone I'd be happy to do that as well. Also, be sure to check out our informational website at http://boosterthon.com

Have a great day!

-Brett
Parent

Allen, TX

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#4
Sep 13, 2010
 

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I left a question at the boosterthon contact area last week and never recieved an answer. Does the PTA have to pay an upfront fee to participate?

In the spirt of full disclosure why don't the pledge cards state the fact that Boosterthon keeps 48% of the money that the children collect.
Parent

Allen, TX

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#5
Sep 13, 2010
 

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Just "archiving" this post.

Hey there, my name's Brett and I work for the Boosterthon Fun Run here in Atlanta.

Just thought I'd weigh in on your concerns. First, it's great to see a parent who cares so much. Many of us who work for the BFR have families and kids and, like you, we certainly want the best for our kids as well. Parents who feel the freedom to voice their concerns are our favorite type because it means that they care deeply about their student and their school. I think that's awesome.

Concerning some of the points above...

Yes, rewards are part of the program. We want our rewards to reflect our values as much as possible so we try to make them fitness-oriented (frisbees, balls, etc.). As you mentioned, sponsors can give any amount they want. While the suggested pledge amount is $1/lap, sponsors can give more or less than that, and that's totally fine.

The reward levels are not intended to reflect a fair market value for the item. Of course we know that if your child wants a flip video camera, it's cheaper to buy it in a store. If that's what you want to do, then by all means do it. The prizes are simply a reward for getting pledges and are not intended to be the primary reason to get pledges. We hope that the primary reason anyone gets a pledge is to raise funds to help their school--funds that directly benefit your student's education.

And don't forget, our program is designed so that even if a child doesn't get a pledge at all, they still participate FULLY in our character and leadership program. They still get a t-shirt. They still run in the Fun Run event itself.

You mentioned that with other fundraisers, the donor is “getting something of value.” The BFR is designed completely different than a traditional product sale where a distant company ships a stack of catalogs, puts the parent group in touch with a rep, and then the school does most of the work from there—organizing the fundraiser, rounding up volunteers, distributing products, etc. We take a different approach with the BFR. We are a full service fundraiser which means we have a team on campus that handles all the logistics of the program and is there to answer questions. They also invest many hours with students talking about our character theme for that year. Where other companies invest some value in a product, we take that value and give it back to the students in the form of an exciting 9-day program, a huge fitness event, and a character campaign. Of course, we also cover all other costs—t-shirts, rewards, promotional materials, teacher items, etc.

Regarding the rules from the TX PTA, our program is compliant with each. We have been working with parent organizations in many states for nearly a decade, and they’re all fans of the fun run.

If your child goes to an elementary school from K-6th grade that hosts the Fun Run, that means there is 7 years worth of funded items--new computers, playground equipment, curriculum, etc.--that your child benefits from. Even if you don't participate financially, your student still benefits. We know that everyone won't be able to give for a variety of reasons, and we're okay with that.

Again, thanks for your concerns. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at info@funrun.com. Or if you'd rather talk on the phone I'd be happy to do that as well. Also, be sure to check out our informational website at http://boosterthon.com

Have a great day!

-Brett
Parent

Allen, TX

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#6
Sep 14, 2010
 
Crickets
Brett

Atlanta, GA

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#7
Sep 14, 2010
 

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Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Had a busy day.

I'm sorry you didn't get a response to your question. We get a LOT of questions ranging from questions like yours to questions about individual student rewards. We just don't have the staff to answer so many questions so we answer what we can.

To answer your first question from above, yes, we require schools to pay a down payment of sorts to book the Boosterthon Fun Run. Just like you would put a down payment on a car or house, it's the same with the BFR. We added this a few years ago for a very simple reason.

In our position, we bear ALL the risk of a school fundraiser. That means when a school "signs up" for our program in July we immediately spend a lot of money--t-shirts, prizes, printed materials, teacher items, etc. We have to allocate team members there during that time. The challenge is that sometimes schools back out at the last minute. We've literally gotten cancellation calls a few days before kickoff and were left with thousands of dollars (usually tens of thousands of dollars) in materials we don't need. That's a loss that WE incur. So we instituted a booking fee for a school to reserve their dates. Please understand that scheduling for us is very tricky. We have many schools that advocate for particularly popular dates. For example, if a school backs out of prime October dates and we've spent thousands of dollars on inventory, then we eat that loss. We can't just fill that slot with another school because schools don't particularly like events planned at the last minute. So the booking fee is a good faith commitment on behalf of the parent organization to reserve their dates for the BFR. Of course, it's not really a risk for the PTA/PTO because the funds they raise are exponentially more than the cost of the booking fee.(Also, keep in mind that we have 12 months of expenses yet only have about 9 months to generate revenue. The power company doesn't waive our July power bill just because we don't have revenue then. Like every other business in America, we have to manage expenses wisely.)

(answer to next question is in a post below...)
Brett

Atlanta, GA

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#8
Sep 14, 2010
 

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I can't really answer your 2nd question because it just isn't accurate. We don't "keep" 48%. While schools retain 52% of all the pledges that come in, we pay for ALL other costs. Who do you think pays for the t-shirts that every student gets? Who do you think pays for the prizes? Who do you think pays for the online pledge system? Who pays for the sound systems, and soundtracks, and inflatables? Who do you think pays for all the printed materials that go home? Who do you think pays for the development of the character theme and the countless character videos that students see? We do. Before we make a dollar, we've fronted hundreds of thousands of dollars to create our program for that year. Keep in mind, even if a parent doesn't donate a penny to the BFR (which is certainly their right to do), then their child STILL benefits from everything listed above. We designed it this way because--believe it or not--we actually care about the schools we serve and the students we work with. We truly do want EVERY student to enjoy the BFR. If you think that our organization is greedily "pocketing" 48% and getting rich, then you're just misinformed. Most of that percentage is spent on YOUR child months before we make a dime.

We don't do what we do for the money. And though some people choose not to believe that, that's okay. We started this company about 9 years ago. I believe that entrepreneurship is what makes America great. I believe that if you offer a good service to people (or, in our case, schools), then you should be able to make a living off that. We are NOT a non-profit organization. Of course, no one is forcing anyone to do anything. If a school wants to utilize our service, then we are happy to provide it, and we work really hard to make it an unforgettable experience. If a day comes where that is no longer needed, well, then I guess we'll find something else to do. Thankfully, schools and parents love what we do and invite us back year after year. They've seen the fundraising alternatives out there. They've seen what other companies charge for a stack of catalogs and overpriced products. They know that that's not us. We focus on adding value to the lives of students and serving our schools with excellence so that we EARN the right to be invited back the next year.

Thanks again for your concern. My offer to chat on the phone still stands. My name is Brett.

Thanks again, and I really hope you have a great week.
Parent

Allen, TX

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#9
Sep 15, 2010
 

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I did not see anything that was specific to our school so your argument about eating excess inventory seems a little shaky. It would be one thing if all your premiums were imprinted with the school name but they are not. What you are talking about are known as CONSUMABLES and are part of running a business.

I have asked all three of my children over the last several days about Fun Run and what they learned. My third grader told me "They just barge in and hand out prizes to the people that got pledges, tell us to get more pledges and then leave". Even when asked expressly what the "character lesson" of the day was they can't tell me.

The bottom line is Booster Inc. encourages children to ask for money in a situation where there is ZERO exchange for value. You reward this with cheap junk and keep a large precentage of the money that people thought was going to the school.

Booster Inc.'s outlay is minimal or you are using the wrong suppliers. I hope to never see you back in Allen.
Brett

United States

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#10
Sep 16, 2010
 

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I'm so sorry you feel that way. I could write another book here but it appears that your mind is made up.

The only thing I'd speak to is your charge that there is "ZERO exchange of value" when a sponsor gives to the BFR. Let me ask you this, is there an exchange of value when you pay for a concert ticket? Do you get anything? What about when you get a haircut? Do you get something tangible? There are INtangible benefits and it's the same way with the BFR. Of course, asserting that there isn't any value exchanged will sound even sillier when you go to your school and see a new playground or new computers, or whatever it is that your school chooses to do with the funds raised. These are the TANGIBLE benefits. Funding to schools is at an all-time low and I'm proud to work for an organization that is helping in a small way. Sponsors know they are giving a DONATION and when a donation is giving, he/she knows that they aren't going to get anything in return other than the satisfaction of knowing that they helped someone else. It's their choice to give.

With that said, I'd like to invite you to the Fun Run itself and see what all the excitement is about. We love Allen and hope to serve your schools and students for years to come.

God bless.

Brett
Parent

Allen, TX

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#11
Sep 17, 2010
 

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I don't ask other people to pay for my haircuts or concert tickets. I get the value in those transactions. For the classes that I have numbers for the Boosterthon Inc Funrun brought in an average of $25 a kid. One of the classes brought in a measly $13 a child.
When asked NON of my children could recall any "message" all they can recall is being told to get more pledges.
Yes, money was raised but because the end was met does not justify the means.
Mamma

Mckinney, TX

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#12
Sep 19, 2010
 

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These things are a ripoff. I do not allow my child to participate and we don't participate.

GOD BLESS, BRETT. I hope the realities of your organization are brought to light so you can stop profiting off the kids.

PARENT, please take your concerns to the district!!!
Parent

Allen, TX

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#13
Sep 19, 2010
 

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Mamma, I sent e-mails to the PTA and the board. The PTA solicited questions of the parents but didn't answer them when they were asked. The district didn't want to get involved because they don't seem to have any control over what the PTA does.

Just keep spreading the word.
Tired of this topic

Allen, TX

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#14
Sep 20, 2010
 

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The reason companies like Brett's need (yes need) to exist is because parents are not willing to do thier work themselves. PARENT, if you are so against a BUSINESS making a PROFIT while HELPING your school raise funds, they you can only blame yourself! Step up and lead a fundraiser yourself. Get involved in your school and make a difference. Parents are too lazy to invest the time it would take to raise the funds that Brett's company does, but they are not too lazy to sit their rears on the couch and type blazzing posts.

Sad thing about this is, although there was plenty of talk about this program within the PTA and the school board meetings, parents like PARENT find out about the program through the feedback from their kids. If they would only get involved at the school, they would know about such issues before the fact.
Parent

Allen, TX

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#15
Sep 20, 2010
 

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Tired, You can not show me an instance of this being mentioned at a school board metting.

I found out about Booster from my fellow soccer coach last season. Even though I ooached for the last FOUR seasons I have been to more board meetings than you.
Parent is Lazy

Allen, TX

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#16
Sep 23, 2010
 

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Really Parent. You sure about that?

I have an idea. Go to the school and tell them you are willing to provide everything that Bretts company will provide for fundraising and will promise that the schools proceeds will be egual to or greater than what Brett's company will pull in. Do all this and promise to do it for free. Then convince the numerous parents it would take in order to actually pull this off. If you do all that, then you have a right to complain. If you are not willing to handle the fundraising, and nobody else is either, what should be done.
Parent

Allen, TX

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#17
Sep 23, 2010
 

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Did your mother call you names when you were little? I'm sorry.

Do you really need to provide 50 cent T-shirts and 20 cent plastic toys to motivate kids to run a 1/16 mile lap for a dollar? All three of my kids ran at least 35 laps and they were not allowed to collect a single pledge.
My kids even commented about the lack of a challenge with the event. I'm not saying the PTA didn't raise money but as I discussed the split and the tactics of Booster Inc. with parents at Boy Scouts,Girl Scouts, Gymnastics and Ice Skating I saw many come to the realization that they had been DUPED and had duped others. In fact another parent told me this weekend she intended to call people she had gotten pledges from and ask if they still wanted to contribute the money after knowing the facts.

As far as your great idea. The fact is you would only have to raise half of what Booster Inc. raised on the Boosterthon to be able to give the same amount of money to the school. Don't forget the commitment fee that Booster Inc requires from the PTA before they will even book the date. I have asked but not been told how much the c fee was. It may have been as much as $2,000.
You did not answer

Allen, TX

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#18
Sep 23, 2010
 

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Are you willing to commit the time, or do you know ANYONE who is?
Parent

Allen, TX

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#19
Sep 23, 2010
 

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IF the PTA came forward with a NEED I would champion that particular cause. They can't show a need. I will not take action to raise money just to raise it. As far as what should be done in the future, Just about any fund raiser that has an exchange of value is preferable to the Booster Inc. Funrun.

I still won't buy much or solicit family/friends until I am shown a need.
I already pay close to $8,000 a year in property taxes between Allen and another city so if they can't get it done with that I'm sorry.
People

Mckinney, TX

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#20
Oct 1, 2010
 

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Seriously, make your kids smarter than this. My kid isn't working his butt off for a stupid cheap frisbee or stress ball.

I get out the Oriental Trading catalog and show him that the frisbee is 30 cents. Then I put 30 cents on the table and ask how hard he will work for 30 cents. Guess what, NOT INTERESTED, because he is SMART.

Have a bake sale or car wash and keep all the money instead of doing dumb stuff that has no real value.

They don't think of that because GOD forbid they actually do something other than outsource and go through the drive thru at Chickfila.

Oh and GOD BLESS Y'ALL.

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