For those that know me, and know me well, you will know that I will do most things for charity. Every year I have a chosen charity who I donate a set amount each month to, I donate money to a chosen charity in lieu of Christmas cards every year and have taken part in numerous fundraising activities. I even ran a marathon pregnant because I did not want to let the charity down. I volunteered my time at a local school to help take the photos for their new website, I regularly donate items to charity shops and I am about to take part in another challenge with a well known charity which I am excited to share soon.
I do however have to draw the line when my former high school start pestering for money.
And yes I mean pester.
You see I was one of the [un]lucky few that got sent to private school, an all girls' school. A school which put great pride in its values and its girls. A school which made sure we looked smart, fitted the profile and acted with decency in public. It was the stereotypical all girls' school. Skirts the same length, we stood when an elder entered the room, and stopped in our tracks when the headmistress spoke. Manners were of the utmost importance.
It therefore comes as quite a shock when we. and by we I mean us 'Old Girls', a term which I find really derogatory and absolutely hate, receive begging letters in the post for a regular monthly donation for a new library. The school fees are currently £11,967 per year per pupil for senior school. Given an average of 120 pupils per year and 5 years and taking into account some pupils will receive scholarships, the school stands to bring in each year around £6 million. Now I appreciate that there are costs to running a school, but this income is still significantly higher than a state school.
When a state school requires money it fundraisers but it does so ethically. A summer fayre, a cake sale, a non uniform day or something similar it does not send letters to its former pupils requesting money. It does not send multiple letters asking for gift aid or to be left money in a will. It certainly does not get its current pupils to ring the former pupils to beg for money and it would certainly not keep ringing them until they seemingly get their own way.
What perhaps adds more salt to this wound is the school has just sold 2 very large art pieces for substantial amounts of money AND purchased a new site on which to develop the school further.
I want to make this perfectly clear that this is not a campaign against the school, this is however raising serious concerns with me. Given the amount of funding the school already receives from fees, why does it feel the need to pester its former pupils? Given the way the school used to conduct itself with such pride, why is it conducting business in such a manner? Given the values that were regularly drilled into us, why does it feel the need to bully us until we give in to their demands?
Because to me this is exactly what it is doing, it is bullying us former pupils, pestering us night and day by any means necessary until it finally gets what it wants, MONEY.
I have no objection to hearing from the school on how my former school friends are doing, and love to hear how a former pupil from the school is fulfilling their life and is happy at what they have chosen to do, but I do draw a line at this behaviour.
Dear former school, you raised strong willed and determined girls. You taught us that we could do anything and be anything, you drilled manners and respect into us. Please note therefore that the lessons you taught us hold true, we do not like to be pestered day and night for money. We do not like our emotions played with by using current pupils to contact us. We are strong, intelligent women and should we wish to donate our hard earned money to the very privileged few than we shall do so, but this is our decision to make not yours to pressure us into. Now please accept our lack of response to the letters you sent as a no, and perhaps look at more traditional and proven methods of fundraising that do not involve pestering your former pupils.
Signed An 'Old' girl.