Earth Day Fundraising Ideas

This year, Earth Day falls on April 22. It’s a day to celebrate our planet and how it sustains us, but many may be unaware of the history of Earth Day.


Earth Day was first celebrated in Seattle, Washington, in 1969, when the idea of environmentalism was still in the hands of what we considered hippies. Unknown to us then was that it would be at the forefront of most political campaigns forty years later.

Waste and pollution were a large concern in the 1960s. The Baby Boom of the 1950s resulted in an explosive growth in population. The 1960s also saw a wider use of plastic, making many things disposable, and pollution reared its ugly head, an outward display of our disregard for the earth.

Today, more than 140 countries around the world celebrate Earth Day every April 22, and make efforts to clean up the planet for a cleaner, healthier, and better future. Earth Day is not only the perfect time to reflect on the effects of waste and pollution on the planet; it’s also the perfect time to bring some earth-friendly practices into our daily lives.

That’s why many fundraisers that occur in early spring have an Earth Day or Green Fundraising theme.

Green fundraisers combine all sorts of earth-friendly practices that are easy to integrate into our everyday routines. While Earth Day is just one day, making some green choices can have long-term positive effects.

Some changes, like buying organic produce, recycling, composting, and using earth-friendly cleaners and cosmetics over those that are aerosol-based or tested on animals, are easily incorporated into our lifestyles.

Green fundraisers are a popular choice to celebrate Earth Day because they are product-focused, and it’s the products we use that can help us to help the planet. Use Earth Day as a reason to bring some green products and practices into your life, such as:

Reusable Shopping Bags

This is an easy way to help the earth and reduce the mountains of plastic that are clogging up landfills and putting toxins into the earth and air. Using a reusable bag every time you go grocery shopping saves roughly 5 to 10 plastic bags from the trash a week. That’s 500 bags a year!

You can sell reusable bags for $1 to $2 a piece, and you can even offer grocery coupons (approach your local grocery store for these) as an incentive. Most grocery stores will be eager to offer coupons in exchange for your sending customers to their store to use them.

Seed Sale

Planting your own fruit or vegetable garden is a fantastic way to keep gardening local, organic, and nutritious. This green fundraiser entails volunteers selling seed packets or kits in exchange for donations. Donors can use the seeds to plant their own fruits and vegetables, or as gifts to family and friends. Seed packets even make good wedding favors.

Street Clean-up

This is a perfect project for a school fundraiser or any large group. If children are involved, keep it supervised and safe. Each volunteer gets a roll of garbage bags, a pair of gloves, and a shovel or garbage pick, and performs a walking clean-up of the designated area.

All you need to do is set a date and time, and get volunteers to collect pledges from family members, friends, local businesses, and neighbors in your community. The pledges can be a flat rate, or per bag, kilo, pound, or truckload of trash collected. This is also a great competitive fundraiser where neighboring communities, schools, or teams see who can collect the most trash in one day.

Some great choices for clean-up areas are:

  • parks
  • vacant lots or parking lots
  • riverbanks or streams
  • beaches and lakeshores
  • ditches or bike paths
  • outdoor stadiums and bandstands
  • schools
  • churches

Book Fair

Ask community members to donate their unwanted books, then sell books at greatly discounted prices, or just ask buyers for a flat donation for the books they choose.

It takes a bit of organizing, and you’ll need a place to set up all the books so people can find what they want, but a book fair keeps books out of landfills while promoting literacy in your community. If you like, you can also sell snacks and beverages to shoppers to make a little extra money.

Soda Bottle/Can Drive

Ask your local grocery and hardware stores if they are willing to exchange cash refunds for cans and bottles. Then ask volunteers to go out and collect these items in exchange for a contribution to your charity organization or team.

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