Fundraising at Tenafly High School with Venmo


Kosei Dohi and Seren Park

It is a common sight at Tenafly High School to see students selling boxes of homemade brownies or cookies in front of the PITT after school. These fundraisers are generally managed by club members, event organizers, or the student organization, and the money earned contributes to their fundings. However, students usually have to pay for the goods with cash, which can be a hindrance for those who use their phone or credit cards to pay. With such complications in mind, students and staff at the school are starting to utilize a more convenient way to handle money electronically:  with Venmo.

Founded in 2009, Venmo has recently been used across the United States as a convenient mobile payment service, and has grown in popularity at Tenafly High School for fundraising. The app is relatively simple to use, and functions similarly to a Paypal account. The user links his or her bank accounts, credit cards, and debit cards to the Venmo account, and after connecting their information, users are able to complete a transaction on their phone. By doing so, students are able to pay for items with relative ease.

Venmo and other electronic methods of payment are more convenient than cash because they are able to collect money in an efficient way. The use of cash is not only slower, it is more susceptible to error because students have to count and record it. With Venmo, money can be compiled quickly and tracked without the use of pencil and paper. Still, there are pros to using cash, which is that it is simpler to set up and is used more widely. Currently, students who manage fundraisers for their grade, club, or event need special permission to be able to use Venmo. There are mixed opinions on the app:  some are positive, while others question the need for it.

Ally Waldman (’19), who was part of the Period 7 Senior English Psych/War class that organized the fundraiser for Vietnam veterans, said that “Ms. Malanka got approval for [using] Venmo for fundraisers, and students were more accepting of it since most people don’t carry around cash.”

On the other hand, Nathan Kong (’21), the founder and president of the Horticulture Club, has a different perspective. “It seems like a pretty unknown territory to me, and there could be all sorts of problems,” said Kong. “ I see how it could be convenient, but it seems mostly unnecessary. I’ve never seen an issue with the current system with counting money, so I don’t see any real advantages. For example, if a large donation was being made for a fundraiser, a student can just use a check, which is a much safer method of payment.”

With the increasing popularity in electronic payment, Tenafly High School is adopting more convenient ways for counting and receiving money. Despite some of the conveniences that come with the app, the potential use of Venmo for future bake sales and fundings is still being tested. Even if the app is implemented into clubs and fundraising, there is no guarantee that it will completely replace cash. Yet, there is a possibility that you may be able to pay for cookies with your phone in the future.