With over $12 bn in total assets, CUA is Australia’s largest Credit Union. The CUA School Fun Run is a fund-raising campaign for schools in Australia that is operated by CUA. Children create online profiles and encourage their friends and family to support them in an activity, such as a fun run. School’s keep 60% of the funding raised in cash. 30% goes towards student incentive prizes, with the remaining 10% going to running the program.
CUA have reportedly signed up over 900 schools to their Fun Run fundraising campaign with the top 100 schools averaging over $23,000 in raised funds and their top ten over $47,000.
Whilst the intent of the program is well based, numerous families are angry about what the campaign is teaching children about money and the risks of putting children’s profiles up on the internet amidst concern about the messages the program is sending about money, child privacy and the breakdown of the money raised.
Fundraise to win prizes?
The campaign encourages kids to raise lots of money, so they can win a great prize. Parents are questioning this approach, making the point of raising funds for a cause should be to encourage a charitable and selfless attitude. If so, the prize element defeats this noble purpose. Rather we should be encouraging children to run a charity race without any personal gain.
Parents take to Facebook to voice their anger
One mum kicked off the dialogue noting:
- It’s basically telling the kids to raise lots of money, so they can win a great prize. Isn’t the point of raising funds for a cause to encourage a charitable and selfless attitude? If so, the prize element defeats this noble purpose. I would like to think our kids are nice enough to run a charity race without any personal gain.
- I am striving to keep my children away from social media for as long as possible. That they are encouraged by the school to create an online profile and promote it on their social media (and assuming that they have free access to devices) is preposterous.
- Those kids who do have access to devices and have social media accounts are likely to compete amongst each other for who’s the most popular, who gets more likes… Is this to be encouraged? I think not.
I would rather the children ran a fun charity event and all the families supported them by donating what they can. No need for Instagram popularity contests, at this young and delicate age.
The campaign has certainly placed CUA front and centre at schools across Australia and is helping the organisation compete against CBA’s very successful Dollarmites program. Whilst many school have profited from the program the lessons, beliefs and behaviours being delivered to the children are questionable. The brochures advertising prizes looks suspiciously like a stepping stone to a credit card loyalty program, advertising prizes to kids of which 30% of the funds go to funding.
There is much banks can do to build fundamental life skills around money. We know that the beliefs, values and skills that we create early can stay with us for life. The reaction from many parents are casting doubt over whether this program is creating the right ones.