Green Fundraising: Profitable and Good for the Earth and Our Souls

Eco-fundraising with iHospitality's Sustainable Dishware Concept

Eco-fundraising with iHospitality’s Sustainable Dishware Concept

A couple of years ago, I provided a list of green fundraising ideas since I was so tired of receiving yet another paper wrapping request.  Given how many people read this article, I know they must feel the same way as me.  As time goes by, I try and update each of my articles to keep you up to date with the trends. Kermit tells me that everyone wants a piece of him so consequently green fundraising has really taken off.  So here are some more fundraising ideas listed below.

But, before I start, don’t get me wrong. I support school fundraising.  Our PTA sponsors tremendous programs because of their fundraising efforts.  However, I believe  it possible to combine saving the Earth by supporting our schools.  Don’t you?

The Original Green Fundraising Ideas

Just to give you some background, in my first article, I highlighted the following:  Ecophones (gives cash for a multitude of items,) TerraCycle, who pays for items that ordinarily go in the trash, and Staples, who now gives Staples money for print cartridges along with Laptop Lunches, and many others.  What I love about this prior article is the amount of comments from people providing additional green fundraising sources. So, be sure to check out this article for great ideas.

What Am I Doing at My Own School?

Presently, I am collecting 14 different trash items such s Lays Potato Chip bags and yogurt cups for the school   The PTA gets paid by TerraCycle  2 cents an item.  Before, you say, “gosh, Anna, that is too much work for trash.”  It adds up.  My school district is small so I can imagine how well you would do in a larger district.  Last year we made $400 on trash combing the TerraCycle collections with milk carton recycling via MilkMuny and print cartridge recycling via Ecophones.

Want to get an inside view of my collections?  Um, you are going to have to check tomorrow for my  Gloria Swanson “All right Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up,” video.

Some New Green Fundraising Ideas

Listed below are some new green fundraising ideas:

Used Book Fundraiser:

Run a used book fundraiser through Got Books? Book collection fundraising  is only available in  Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont.   However, I was told by a company spokesperson if you can drive your books to a nearby location if you don’t live in one of the above states.   Just contact them to discuss the details.  The company has plans to expand, so keep checking the site for further information.

Used Books, CDs, and DVDs Fundraisers:

Media Exchange 123 offer fundraising opportunity by collecting new and used CDs, DVDs, books, video games, and text books.  Before you get too excited, read  the Company’s conditions.  Basically, they accept gently used products.  Most importantly, you must have the original case, artwork, and instructions if you want the Company to accept your videos, DVDs, and CDs for funds.

Other websites that buy used DVDs. CDs, and games:

  • Second Spin.  (You must have a 12 digit UPC from the item.  You can sell in bulk, but to be honest, I think this might be very time consuming.)
  • GarotsMedia:  same requirements as MediaExchange 123

Hand Held Electronic Equipment:

Although in my previous green fundraising article, I mentioned Ecophones as a source for phone, iPod, and other assorted electronic equipment fundraising, BuyMyTronics has gotten into the fundraising game as well.  Both take broken electronics.

I wrote about BuyMyTronics a couple of years ago when they were a start-up and I am happy to say they have been so successful that I can’t keep up with their progress.  Lesson learned.  Go for your dreams.

So, stay tune.  I will be sending them a shipment soon to see how their prices compare with Ecophones.

Ice Skates Fundraisers

If you want to make money for your skating club or team, you can sell your figure skating dressesfigure skates and blades at  My Skating Mall. The team receives 90% of the money less any charge associated with PayPal.  See here for more information on how it works.

Sell your Gold or Silver:

Do you have a drawer of unused gold or silver from disco days gone by?  Or perhaps you were a Madonna wannabe in another life?  Well, you can sell your gold, silver,or platinum  for cash as a fundraiser.  Listed below are some companies to get you started on your research:

Party Supplies Fundraiser  (Dishes, Glasses, To Go Ware)

Note, iHospitality is no longer offering fundraising but they still offer great green party ware. A party supply fundraiser seems odd but hear me out.  Think of this fundraiser like a Tupperware party without the plastic! How many of you have large birthday parties for your kids?  Or large gathering on Memorial Day or July 4th? And what do you use?  Um, Styrofoam plates?  Not too green.

I know.  Who has service for 25 or more?  So, why not a sustainable partyware fundraiser?  iHospitality offers the following sustainable items for your next fundraiser party:   compostable palm leaf plates similar to Verterra, which I reviewed, recycled content glassware, on the go bamboo utensils and stainless steel containers.  I love the palm leaf plates because they make such a statement at your table. Edgy and modern with a touch of green.

Eco-Friendly Note Card Fundraising

Twisted Limb Paperworks produces 100% recycled content invitations, holiday cards, stationary and other paper product right in Hoosier land (Indiana.)

I absolutely adore this company’s environmental stance.  According to their website,

“Their paper is 100% recycled using a combination of office paper, junk mail, and grocery bags, embellised with grass from their field and ferns from their woods. No dyes are used; colors are obtained directly from the recycled materials. Water is recycled from the studio’s air conditioner and dehumidifier. 22% of profits is donated annually to environmental and community groups.”

As part of their offerings, they have a fundraising program for schools, teams, and charities where you can sell bookmarks, stationary, and scrap-booking paper pieces.  Your organization receives 40% of the proceeds.  What’s not to love?

So, check out my fundraising ideas in my oldy but a goody original green fundraising article and the new ideas listed above.  If I left anything out, please add them in the comments. I would love both article to be go-to-sources for eco-fundraisers. There can never be too many ideas when it comes to helping our charities and loving the Earth.

Join the Conversation:

  • Have you instituted any green fundraising campaigns at your school or charity?
  • If so, which campaigns have been the most successful and why?
  • Are you using another company that I didn’t mention above for your eco-fundraising?
  • How do you think your school or charity would react to this type of fundraising?


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Comments

  1. 1

    says

    I started TerraCycle in our schools. We officially started May 1, 2010. As of today, we have raised over $1800! We have the town participating as well. We have drop off locations at the library, community center and local businesses. I can be a lot of work, but the lessons the kids (and parents and grandparents) learn is priceless!

    • 2

      says

      Kristina, wow. At 2 cents a product, you must be swimming in recycling! How big is your district? That is amazing your community is behind you. Mine was worried about mice, etc.

      What are you collecting? Anna

      • 3

        says

        We are now over $2000. Yes, we are swimming in recycling – well, my garage is LOL. Our town has a population of about 25,000. I think the school population is around 7500. I’m guessing. For the most part the community is behind us. We definitely have our share of mice-phobia here too. And in some cases, people thinking it will be more work. The key I have found in the schools is to get a couple of teachers on board with you. They will pave the way with the other staff. Where I have teachers on board, the program is soooo unbelievably smooth. I will be working on getting more teachers on board at the other schools.
        We are collecting: chips, candy, cookies, energy bars, drink pouches, writing instruments, glue, coffee bags, oral care.
        By far, the most profitable – Energy Bars! It’s 30% of our total.
        Good luck!
        Kristina (The Greening of Westford)´s last blog post ..Stony Brook Goes Solar!

        • 4

          says

          Kristina, you are such an inspiration. I agree. It really helps if the teachers back you. 7500 is a large school system. We only have less than 800. Energy bars, yogurt cups, and lays potato chips are are most profitable.

          Terracycle is collecting coffee bags and oral care?

          • 5

            says

            Thanks Anna. I think anyone who takes on any project like this is amazing – so back at ya! TerraCycle started collecting coffee bags last April – Starbucks is sponsoring, but they will take any brand. I have our local Starbucks on board too – they save their cofffee bags. The oral care is toothbrushes and empty plastic toothpaste tubes. Did you see they are now collecting ALL personal care product packaging? They have added quite a bit lately.
            Kristina (The Greening Of Westford)´s last blog post ..Stony Brook Goes Solar!

          • 6

            says

            Kristina, the problem is my principal doesn’t want me to keep collecting more. I am already collecting about 11 projects. There is only 2 of us on my committee and I collect most of it. We might do the plastic cups. I am wondering if I can get my dentist to collect the oral care products. Hmmm. You got me thinking.

            How did you get the town aboard?

          • 7

            says

            That is hard when the principal isn’t behind you. M Sister-in-law had the same problem. It varies at our schools, it is definitely easier at schools where the principal is behind you. One other thing that helped here – after I was established my children’s school (this is the one doing the best!) I got together with a non-profit in town and we approached the Superintendent. Luckily he was totally on board and invited us to one of his leadership meetings (principals from all the schools). to present the idea. After that 4 more schools signed on. Once other schools saw what was going on at these schools and around town, a few more jumped on board.
            As far as the town, they just naturally flocked to it. It was so easy – not a hard sell at all. I think this was because I joined with a non-profit who runs our farmers market. I was at the farmers market every week last summer talking up the program. People loved it.
            If you can get local businesses in town doing it, that is so e asy! Think abou what thy use and could save for you. Great PR for them! When TerraCycle was paying for wine corks, we had 4 restaurants saving them! We picked up about every other week, boxed and shipped them.
            I have helped a few other towns in our area get started. I’m not sure if my situtation is similar to yours or not but I would be more than happy to brain storm with you. Feel free to email me directly if you want or continue this way.
            Here is the website for our progrm: http://www.westfordfarmersmarket.com/upcycle.html

          • 9

            says

            I do have quite a bit of help. I ahve a point of contact foreach school – they handle picking up. I also have a few people who pick up from our public drop offs. There are also a few girl scout troops and the Environmental Club at the High School that help out. It is somewhat random though, but so far people have been very reliable and willing to help out when I ask.
            i would LOVE to make a business somehow. I just have no idea what it would be, who would pay me and for what. Any ideas? LOL
            Kristina (The Greening Of Westford)´s last blog post ..Stony Brook Goes Solar!

  2. 10

    says

    I posted my comment on an older fundraising post that you did, but here it is again.

    My business partner and I started a brochure based fundraising company selling reusable bags, all-natural hand sanitizers and soaps and green household cleaners. We were frustrated with the typical frozen foods and wrapping paper options and decided to do our part in making a change. We wanted to offer a catalog of green and practical items that parents and community members could actually use. Check out our website, http://www.goodcleanfunds.com/ – hope you enjoy it!

  3. 11

    says

    Hi Anna! Just found your site as I was browsing for Green Fundraising topics on Google. I have a green fundraising company that is called Green 4 Good Fundraising. We help schools and non-profits generate funds by selling environmentally and socially responsible products. I like to call it “fundraising with a conscience.”

    Nearly all items offered for sale by Green 4 Good utilize recycled, repurposed and / or organic materials and are sourced primarily from U.S. based manufacturers in order to support our local and national economies. In keeping with the company’s mission, some items like tea, coffee and chocolate, which are not produced in the U.S., are purchased only from Fair Trade certified companies which support environmental and humanitarian issues around the world.

    Another added bonus is its Green 4 Good Fundraising’s exclusive web-based sales portal http://www.green4goodfundraising.com All fundraising efforts are handled through the website so there is little that schools really need to do in the way of recruiting volunteers, handling payments, placing orders and managing student sales activities; it’s all handled on-line! In fact students never need leave their houses to generate orders. Instead a simple series of email notifications are sent to parents, friends and family across the country to enlist support. People interested in supporting the fundraiser then visit the Green 4 Good Fundraising website and purchase products like they would at any other retail website. At the check-out, customers highlight the school or non-profit they wish for their purchases to be credited to. Participating organizations receive 30% of the total purchase price from each transaction. Products are then shipped directly to the customers so the students, parents and schools never have to handle the orders, money or products. The website application makes the fundraising process so easy it practically runs itself.

    In a few instances, G4G will sell products that have a significant social responsibility. Examples include zulugrass necklaces made by the Maasai tribeswomen in Kenya as a means to replace income lost due to drought or hardship, and jewelry made by women in Asia who have been rescued from exploitation and abuse.

    In addition to fundraising G4G also offers valuable environmental and social information to its participants and customers that helps them make more enlightened buying decisions in the future, thereby promoting greater environmental awareness and stewardship for our planet’s natural resources.

    I’d love to know what you think of the program. Please let me know your thoughts!

    Greenly,

    S.

    • 12

      says

      Sue,

      Your program sounds great. How do you get people to buy your products without a catalog. I know you have emails but when I ran a green online fundraising project at my school, people just didn’t buy any products. One green fundraising site told me that people have to be able to look at a catalog to actual buy. This is what they found. What are your findings? Anna

      • 13

        says

        Hi Anna!

        I have a website that people visit to see the products…It’s just like any on-line shopping website but at the check-out you choose which of the pre-approved schools or non-profits you want to benefit from your purchases. Plus because it is a website, there is no paper waste. Everything is done electronically!

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