We’ve all done our share of fundraising. We buy things we don’t want, we sell things we don’t believe in and we eventually end up with a freezer full of cookie dough that will last longer than the freezer. We justify it because it’s easy, it’s what we’ve always done or we tell ourselves, “we’ll find something better next year.”
How do we break out of our bad habits and select fundraisers that support a local business, promote a “green product” or support companies dedicated to sustainability and the environment? While we don’t profess to be fundraising experts, here are a few suggestions we’ve complied from our creative teacher and student fundraisers over the years:
•Look for local fundraisers. Select a fundraiser that supports a local, family-owned business. Local businesses can send representatives to help with the fundraiser, deliver orders and promote it at their location. Also, product doesn’t have to be shipped across country and you don’t have to worry about the carbon footprint.
•Select “green fundraising” companies that offer sustainable products. Type “green fundraising” into your search engine and it will return an array of options from fair-trade and organic certified coffee to on-line fundraisers, organic chocolate, shopping bags, flower bulbs and more. Look for companies that offset the carbon footprint associated with their business.
•Contact local businesses, restaurants, yogurt shops, candy stores, etc. that offer a marketable product. Just because they don’t advertise a pre-packaged fundraiser, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love to support your organization. What business doesn’t want the chance to promote their own service or product?
•Contact your local community newspaper and pitch them a story about your fundraising efforts. Many local reporters are happy to have a story delivered to them. This is a great way to gain support for your fundraiser, educate the community about your cause and connect with individuals or businesses who want to support you.
•Don’t be afraid to just ask for support. Identify businesses that might be interested in supporting your cause and ask for a donation. This could be in the form of a phone call, email or both.
•Conduct a letter writing campaign. If you’re working with students, this is a great way for each student to get involved and promote their own reasons for fundraising. A hand-written letter by a student to a local business or individual can be very powerful.
•Forget the fundraising prizes. Instead of incenting your group with a list of “prizes,” come up with a fun activity you can do together if you reach your fundraising goal. If it’s a school group, offer an “extra” recess. Offer top fundraisers, special privileges for the day. Ask a local business if they will donate pizzas for a pizza party or a free day of bowling. This fosters team work and gives everyone the opportunity to win.
Thank you to all the EcoTeach student travelers and teacher trip leaders who have shared their fundraising ideas with us. Best of luck with this year’s fundraiser!