Green School Fundraisers

Lora Shinn

What’s the profit for the school? Profit margins can range widely, but aim for around a 50-50 split to ensure your efforts pay off. For supercool products, you may want to make an exception (they’ll sell better).

Is there a minimum purchase required or minimum amount to sell? Once you know the answer, you can determine whether that’ll be hard for your school to meet.

Can I see a sample? Samples can make or break a sale for you—and the parents you’ll need to convince.

Is this the right fundraiser for us? What to ask potential partners: Wrapping paper, mugs, candy… It can feel like the only thing worse than buying the stuff for a school fundraiser is having to sell it. If you’re a parent trying to live healthier and lower-impact, it can be hard to decide which matters more—those values or helping your school. Fortunately (for everyone), you don’t have to choose anymore: There are plenty of organic, healthy, and fun fundraising options.

  1. Eco bath supplies. Natural—and organic, when possible—soaps, lotions, and bath salts from the School Garden Company won’t be a hard sell, and the business’s profits go back into school garden programs. Schools get 50 percent of the profits. (schoolgardenco.com)
  2. Fair-trade coffee and tea. Equal Exchange’s fair-trade organic coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and more give a fundraising jolt to your school, which earns 40 percent of the fundraiser’s profits. (equalexchange.coop)
  3. Organic chocolate. Sweet Earth Chocolates offer fair-trade ethics and delicious organic sweetness. Profits vary by the item you choose to sell; the best deal is the chocolate bars, which will bring in a 50 percent profit. (sweet earthchocolates.com)
  4. Reusable bags. Everybody can use another bag for groceries, right? Virescent offers bags with fantastic patterns that can be customized if you’d like. Profits range from 35 to 50 percent, depending on the type of bag and how many you sell. (virescentshopper.com)
  5. Heirloom seeds. Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit group, offers a Seeds to Grow program: Parents can choose from six different sets of four seed packets, like the Pizza Party set, which contains pepper, basil, tomato, and oregano seeds. Schools earn 40 percent of the profits. (seedsavers.org)
  6. Lunch boxes. Help other families make waste-free lunches with Lunch- Bots reusable, stainless-steel food containers. The profit margin is smaller than some fundraisers (around 20 percent), but it can be lucrative if parents are eager for the items. (lunchbots.com)
  7. Fruit. Sell something healthy! Fruit- Share offers boxes of organic apples, pears, and citrus. Ten percent of every sale goes to the school, and the fundraiser can last all year long. (fruitshare.com)
  8. Charity. The “virtual shoe drive” offered by Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that buys shoes for disadvantaged people around the world, couldn’t be simpler: Students collect money for shoes, then the organization returns 40 percent of the raised funds to the school. (soles4souls.org)
  9. Recycling. Have families bring in old cell phones, laptops, and ink jet cartridges. Your school can earn from 10 cents to $500 per item, and shipping the items is free. (recyclingfundraiser.com)
  10. Green shopping. Want to let parents pick out their own green gift from an online catalog? Check out Green Benefits, which offers a wide variety of environmentally friendly items. You can even get wrapping paper—only this kind is recycled! (greenbenefits.com)

Is this the right fundraiser for you?


What to ask potential partners:

  • What’s the profit for the school? Profit margins can range widely, but aim for around a 50-50 split to ensure your efforts pay off. For supercool products, you may want to make an exception (they’ll sell better).
  • Is there a minimum purchase required or minimum amount to sell? Once you know the answer, you can determine whether that’ll be hard for your school to meet.
  • Can I see a sample? Samples can make or break a sale for you—and the parents you’ll need to convince.

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