Green Fundraising Tips
Schools are desperate for funds, but how to raise money without lowering environmental standards?
Wrapping paper? Destroys ancient forests for brief disposable pleasure and long-term landfill waste.
Bake Sale? Contributes to childhood obesity rates. Time-strapped parents purchase low-nutrition baked goods for the sales, send their children to school with money to buy them back, and end up paying twice.
Candy bars? More sugar.
Here are some healthier, greener options:
Auctions: Auction items are more fun when they include experiences with teachers or senior staff. Parents can bid on a hike and picnic for 6 kids with their beloved 3rd grade teacher; a middle school teacher or the principal can cook a gourmet dinner for 6 in the bidder's home.
Consider a plan that doesn't cost parents a penny: More than 350 million printer cartridges are thrown away and 35 million cell phones are replaced and discarded annually. Instead, recycle e-waste for cash, reducing the volume of waste in landfills while benefiting your school.
- Cartridges for Kids: Pays schools and non-profit organizations cash for empty laser and inkjet cartridges, used cell phones, laptops, PDAs, GPS devices and iPods. Earthtone Solutions and Funding Factory have similar e-waste recycling fundraising programs. Office Depot's free program, "Recycling Rules" accepts all brands of ink, toner and small electronics in exchange for Office Depot
Gift Cards to be used for free school or classroom supplies.
- Terracycle pays students and schools to collect empty juice packs and wrappers. Terracycle makes bags, pencil boxes, and other items out of the packaging, which is not generally accepted in standard recycling programs. Terracycle was highlighted in our article focusing on reducing waste.
Solar Fundraising Program: Sungevity, a Diamond-certified solar installer based in Oakland, is partnering with public and independent schools in California, Arizona and Colorado to raise money for schools while helping school communities go solar.
For every Solar Lease customer a participating school sends Sungevity’s way, the company will donate $1000 to the school (or the school can choose to split the referral fee with the customer). To learn more and enroll your school, contact: Erica Etelson
Walk-a-Thons, Bowl-a-Thons, and other sports-related fundraisers promote physical activity for students and can be lucrative for schools.
Sell Eco-Friendly Products & Services: The following organizations will help you raise money for your school by selling eco-friendly products, with up to 40% of profits going to the school.
Eco Sprouts Fundraising: Eco-friendly t-shirts
Equal Exchange: Organic & fair trade foods & gifts
Go Green Fundraising: various eco-friendly products
Greenraising: various eco-friendly products
KORU Fundraising: various eco-friendly products
One Small Step: Reusable Lunchware: waste free lunch supplies
Participation is usually free, and most companies accept unsold inventory so you're not stuck with leftovers. Frequently, there are no up-front costs to the school. Some, like Equal Exchange, even offer curriculum resources so kids (and parents and teachers) can learn about the positive ripple effects of their fundraising efforts.
Chinook Book: Formerly the "EcoMetro Guide," the Chinook Book is a savings book with over 300 coupons for organic food and dining, local arts and culture, green home, gardening, travel, and recreation. Chinook Book users can save money while exploring their community and supporting local, sustainable businesses.
Chinook Book staff will assist you in reaching your fundraising goal. They will provide you with copies of the book, promotional materials and support prior to and throughout your fundraiser. There are no up-front costs - just return what you don't sell.
The retail price of the book is $20 and your group will keep 35-50% depending on the total quantity of books sold. Currently available for the Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis and at ChinookBook.net.
For a comprehensive directory of recycling and other fundraising opportunities go to:
The following websites offer a good overview of the issues surrounding school fundraising, and provide examples of what other schools have done: