School fundraisers
January 8, 2004 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Our elementary school's PTA is looking for an ethical and/or fair trade fundraiser. I have only found one decent resource. Anyone else had experience with this? [more inside ...]

We only like to do one schoolwide fundraiser per year, in the fall. There are only 240 kids in the school, and we can count on 80-100 of them to participate. In the past, we have had plenty of success, raising $8-12K per year, but the companies we were working with were not always desirable for the following reasons:

Sally Foster: A small catalog of quality products (the wrapping paper is especially good), but they couldn't verify the origin of their cocoa and the turnaround is very slow.

Kathryn Beich: A huge catalog with a wide variety of price points, but they are owned by Nestle. *cue Darth Vader theme*

The Nestle thing was the last straw, and now we are looking for an ethical annual fundraiser that can bring in $10K or more. Any ideas? What successful fundraisers have you been a part of?
posted by whatnot to Work & Money (8 answers total)
No personal experience with them (yet). But if I were approached by a cute little kid and he wanted to sell me a couple of chicks, or a cow, I'd have a hard time turning him down.

Heifer International
posted by zpousman at 11:58 AM on January 8, 2004

Best answer: Why not do something based with a local company or cottage industry instead of something far away or based on products which have built-in ethical concerns, like chocolates?

It seems that the schools that my nieces and nephews attend have gone that route. We have recently found ourselves beset with requests to purchase locally made foodstuffs, small company foodstuffs (at the holidays, one --parochial -- school does brisk business selling fudge made by monks, I'm sure that there are secular equivalents around the country) and gift cards to a well-known local family restaurant -- the cards were sold to the school at a discount and sold to us at face value.

The other thing that we've recently seen is the virtual book fair. Now I'm personally unaware of ethical dilemmas with large publishing houses, I'm sure someone could name some, but I'll spend a dollar or two more than the Amazon price on a few books if it's going to put money or more books into a school.
posted by Dreama at 12:52 PM on January 8, 2004

Best answer: Love A Tree


Coffee for a Cause
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:05 PM on January 8, 2004

Best. Chocolate. Ever. If you're selling these, you'd make $$$ lots of money. I usually buy several boxes whenever I get the chance.
posted by davidmsc at 4:11 PM on January 8, 2004

Our local elementary school does both a Jog-A-Thon, where students get folks to pledge either a flat fee or an amount based on how many laps they make around the school's track, and a Spell-A-Thon - same idea, only for words spelled successfully in a school-wide spelling bee, instead of laps around the track.
posted by Lynsey at 4:19 PM on January 8, 2004

This one because it's all about the flowers.. and because the the program has good feedback on gardening forums. The info on the page linked is for spring, but the fundraising program will be available again in fall.

And a second vote for Heifers Int'l - I'm saving their catalog and info 'til next xmas.
posted by vers at 5:11 PM on January 8, 2004

Response by poster: Thank you all so much! This has been a big help--Human-I-Tees looks particularly good.
posted by whatnot at 7:19 PM on January 8, 2004

If your PTA is organized enough, consider putting on your own fundraiser. Buying into corporate fundraiser "systems" is easier, but generally not as profitable. The biggest fundraiser of the year that our PTA puts on is an auction/speakeasy night for parents only, with donated goods and services from the community and parents and a proper adult party and night out (not yet another cheesy auditorium quasimeeting/potluck). Last year, it made more money than the candy and wrapping paper and book sales combined.
posted by majick at 7:24 PM on January 8, 2004

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