This is a guest post by Sarah Barrett of A Mom’s Guide to School Fundraising.
I’m a planner by nature, and love when things go according to my plan.
But sometimes, as a parent, that just doesn’t happen. Sometimes you have to toss the plan out the window and jump into something with both feet.
When my older daughter started elementary school I didn’t know what life would be like as an “elementary mom”. It felt a lot like high school and left me wondering where I would fit in.
I was plucked from the crowd by a very involved parent who thought I’d be perfect to run the school’s annual silent auction fundraiser. I was so honored, but my husband saw through the “snow job” and said, “They want you to work for free.” I didn’t care. I had found my place in the school.
For a few years, I honed my skills and got to be a pretty good fundraiser.
It wasn’t what I set out to do, and it certainly wasn’t on my list. But it fit me perfectly. I learned as I went, and made mistakes along the way. But by allowing myself to be open to something – even if it wasn’t what I thought I was looking for, I created a new identity for myself. I got auction items. People knew me at the school as The Get Girl. I had no shame. I would even put on a costume if it meant I could get another great item. Fear and embarrassment were not an option!
As I talked to parents at other schools, I learned that many parents didn’t know HOW to fundraise. People started asking me how to do it, and viewed me as someone to go to when they had questions. I thought, these couldn’t be the only parents looking for guidance, so I used my knowledge and experience to write a book about school fundraising.
My passion for fundraising wasn’t something I grew up with. It came from being in the moment, wanting to support my daughter’s school, and wanting to find a place where I fit in. Being open to the experience instead of checking it off a list made all the difference in the world.
Now, I’m helping parents across the country do more for their kids’ schools by raising money and awareness. I know I’m not curing cancer, but maybe there’s a kid out there who loves science and because his or her parents helped fundraise for their school, they got to have a fantastic science teacher who encouraged them and sparked their curiosity. Maybe that student will grow up to find a cure.
Knowing that my efforts are helping others gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. I didn’t set out on this journey to make a ton of money. I ended up on this journey, quite accidentally … because someone thought I should do something. And while the streams of money aren’t flowing strongly just yet, they’re rising every day.
Finding that thing that you’re passionate about, that thing that sparks a business idea isn’t always easy. But if you take a chance and jump in without expectation or hesitation, you may just become an accidental entrepreneur. I did.
About the Author
Sarah Barrett is a mom, a former teacher with an MA in education, and a small business owner who traded in her full-time career to dedicate her time and energy to fundraising for her neighborhood school. She has just published her first book, A Mom’s Guide to School Fundraising, which is available on Kindle or paperback through Amazon.