4 Great Ideas For Holding Green Fundraisers

Sometimes fundraising efforts get stuck in a rut and you need some fresh ideas. You've held one too many cookie dough or pizza fundraisers and your tired of selling people junk they don't really want. It would be a lot better if you give your donors something useful and sustainable for your next fundraiser. So for your next fundraising event, why not try something that's a bit more socially or environmentally responsible?

Previously, we have shown you some of our favorite environmental organizations that will put your donations to good use. You don't need to be an environmental group to hold your own environmental fundraiser. Whether your raising money for your school or your sports team there are plenty of things you can do to raise your supporter's awareness to green issues.

Raising awareness for your cause while bringing attention to environmental issues is a win-win situation. Your donors will be only too happy to help two great causes at once. So let’s take a look at some things you can do for your organization.
Ink Cartridge Recycling Fundraiser

Recycling Ink Cartridges

Most of you probably have access to a printer, whether it be in the home, office, or school. Today it's easier than ever to print out a document or photo, and with this readily available access to printers comes a need for lots of ink and toner. Millions of print cartridges are bought every year and most of them end up in landfills when they are empty. These cartridges are made from plastics that are not biodegradable, and any ink left in them is toxic and could potentially leak into the water system.

Luckily, most cartridges can be recycled and you can raise some good money by holding an ink cartridge recycling fundraiser. What happens is you collect the empty cartridges, then they are then bought by companies that will re-manufacture or refill the cartridges, so they can then be sold at a much lesser value than the original brand names. Please note you will not receive money for every cartridge you collect, as some will be unusable. To start off your ink cartridge recycling fundraiser you need to contact a company that does ink cartridge recycling.

There are a lot of companies now offering printer cartridge recycling, so make sure you check out their lists of accepted cartridges and compare how much each company will pay per cartridge. Another thing you need to consider is if there will be any shipping costs incurred to send the cartridges to the recyclers. A company like InkBank will actually pick them up for free. Once you have signed up for a program you will be sent your kit to get started. This will usually come with some kind of drop off box where you can collect the empty cartridges. Once you have this set up, all you have to do is get the word out. Who wouldn't want to help a great cause and help save the environment at the same time? Holding an ink cartridge fundraiser takes minimal effort and it can be ongoing even after you have reached your goals.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Fundraisers

A great way to raise awareness about energy consumption is to sell compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL's) for you next fundraiser. This fundraiser is particularity good for your school fundraising efforts, as it will teach your students about how CFLs can reduce greenhouse gases and about energy conservation. A lot of people are still using incandescent light bulbs in their homes because they are very cheap to buy. However, when you factor in the amount of electricity they use and the life of these bulbs, it's actually a lot cheaper to purchase compact fluorescents.

It's estimated that you can save $30 or more in energy costs by swapping one regular light bulb for a CFL bulb. On top of this, compact fluorescents last eight to 15 times longer than normal light bulbs. You can see how much you will save using compact fluorescents with the LightbulbsAmerica energy savings calculator. With a CFL bulb you not only save yourself money, but you can help fight global warming by using less energy. It's easy to see why this is becoming a very popular fundraiser.

To make this fundraiser a success you will take orders from your potential donors. Some donors are not going to be happy with the price, so this is your chance to educate them about the benefits switching over to compact fluorescents. Once you have all your orders, you then send your order form to the fundraising company you have chosen. When your shipment arrives it's up to your team to distribute the bulbs to your donors. Another thing you must be aware of with CFL's is that they contain a small amount of mercury, which is harmful to the earth. Make sure your team knows about your local recycle center that can handle dead CFLs. If you do not have a local recycle center that can deal with CFLs some companies like Green Market Fundraising offer a package that allows you to ship your spent bulbs to a recycling facility.
Fundraising with Natural Candles

Beeswax Candles

Selling candles is a perennial fundraising favorite and with a myriad of styles and scents to choose from, it's easy to see why. Candles can add a nice warm glow to any room and the romantic flicker makes them perfect mood lighting. Most of us have our favorite scents we like to burn, but we never pay attention to what we are actually burning. The most commonly found candles are made from paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is a by-product of the petroleum industry and when burned releases the carcinogens benzene and toluene into your home. Add to this that the petroleum industry is not sustainable, and you might want to think twice before lighting another candle.

Thankfully, most candle companies now offer alternatives to paraffin wax candles. Some of the most popular candles at the moment are soy wax candles. Made from soybeans, the waxes in these candles are from a renewable resource and are 100 percent biodegradable. Soy wax candles are clean burning, soot free, and burn much longer than traditional paraffin candles. Look for candles that are made from American grown soybeans and if they are scented check to see if they made with essential oils, as a lot of other scents could potentially be toxic.

If you want the ultimate in candles for your next fundraiser then why not consider beeswax candles? Beeswax candles are made from a by-product of honey and are the most natural candles you can get. Beeswax candles have their own natural honey scent and burn much longer than soy and paraffin candles. The greatest thing about candles made from beeswax is that they release negative ions when burned. Negative ions can actually clean the air by attracting air-borne allergens like pollen, dust and pet dander into clumps, which are then heavy enough to fall to the ground. Also there is plenty of medical proof that negative ions can actually improve your mood. Beeswax may be a tougher sell because of their much higher price but the benefits are worth it.

Tree Planting Fundraisers

Planting trees is a great fundraiser for school children. They will learn the importance of trees like how they supply us with oxygen, plus they will have a chance to get their hands dirty. What child doesn't like getting their hands dirty? If your school doesn't have the space to plant trees, try contacting your city and they may be able offer a space or, even better, they might get totally behind your project and give you some free promotion. Once you have a location ask around local nurseries to see if they will donate trees for your event. Even if you can't get a nursery to donate them for free you should be able to find one that will give you a great deal.

Work closely with your nursery, as they will be able to assist you in picking the right trees for the type of soil and climate they are going to be planted in. Plan out where each tree is to be planted on your lot — here you may be able to get the help of a landscaper. As you can see, this event will take a lot of planning, but once you have everything in place it's all about raising money.

To raise maximum awareness for this fundraiser plan ahead so the planting coincides with Earth Day. When promoting your fundraiser, set smaller goals than your target. You will plant a tree for every time you reach these small goals. For example if your target is $1000 for each $100 you raise a tree will be planted. If you reach your target of $1000 that's 10 trees! Another way you can raise money for your tree planting effort is to give your donors the chance to sponsor a tree.

Set a value for tree sponsorship and anyone that sponsors a tree will get a plaque at the foot of the tree with their name on it. This is a great way to get local businesses and companies involved. You can even tie this in with a ceremony at the planting and present your tree sponsors with certificate for their participation that they can display in their offices.

These are just a few of the ideas you can implement to make your fundraising efforts a little greener. To get people to help your cause while promoting awareness to environmental issues will make your participants and donors fell good about making a difference. If your group has held any environmentally friendly fundraisers we would love to hear about them.