I know I am not the only ‘crunchy parent’ around here who would much rather that my children were bringing home fundraiser options that were good for our bodies and the planet rather than the usual sugar-filled, packaged food fare – I’m looking at you Cadbury chocolate boxes. I realise some people may think I am a stick in the mud for my thinking around this, but the statistics relating to our children’s health going forward are anything but rosy. If you take a look even just at sugar intake on its own (the health implications of too much sugar consumption are well established), the picture for our children is scary. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults do not consume any more than 24g (6tsp) of added sugar daily. For our children that means no more than about 4tsp per day. Current statistics show that on average boys 4-8 years old are actually consuming 52g or 13 tsp, for girls its slightly lower at 44g or 11tsp, and that goes up to 90g or 25 tsp for boys and 66g or 14 tsp for girls by the time they are between 14-18 years old. We have moved beyond the point as a society where we can just pretend that continuing to embrace a food culture that is obsessed with sugar and additive-laden ingredients, wrapped in packaging than can take hundreds of years to break down is in any way ok – particularly for our children, the planet and their futures.
So about a year ago, I started compiling this list of Fundraiser ideas that are much better options, not only for our bodies but also our amazing planet! Through this process, I came across some amazing companies who are really striving to make a difference in the way they go about all aspects of their business, by thinking about their impact on people, animals, the planet, and by thinking about profit for others rather than just themselves. That’s pretty cool as far as I am concerned. Maybe it’s just me but I would much rather support companies whose values align closely to my own than the big food companies whose interests are too closely tied to making profits to really care about anyone or anything beyond themselves!
Food Based Ideas
Who doesn’t love mangos? This is obviously an end of year fundraising option to tie in with mango season. Register your school on their page – print out the forms and return them by the 31st of October each year. Mangos are delivered for collection on a date determined by you. They have a minimum order of 64 trays. Trays are usually around $19 and you determine what markup to put on the trays and therefore what profit you generate.
Tropical Harvest offers a wide range of quality dried fruits, all available from snack size to bulk packets. They are all-natural, contain no preservatives or sulphur dioxide and not surprisingly are delicious. The process is really easy for schools. The school prints a short article in their newsletter about Tropical Harvest with a 5% discount code. Parents then purchase straight from the website. The school gets a 10% commission from all the sales that use the discount code on the website. There is literally no work and no monetary outlay involved at all.
Aussie made gingerbread that has no artificial additives from an ethical business that aims to care for ‘people, creatures, and the earth’. They also have gluten-free gingerbread house kits available as well. Another end of year fundraising option as the gingerbread houses would obviously go well in the lead up to Christmas time.
I was a little hesitant to include these given they do contain added sugar, around 2.5 tsp per serving. It would therefore be really important to take note of the suggested serving size and maybe include an educational note on the WHO recommendations on sugar intake as an educational tool. However, I have included them because they tick most other boxes including being additive and preservative-free. As a company, they also endeavour to consider their environmental impact with their cookies packed in compostable wrappers, and all cardboard packaging is made from recyclable, chlorine-free material. The Gingerbread Folk use Green Power and rooftop solar panels generating their own clean, green electricity to power their business.
The company that used to organise apple slinky fundraisers in Australia doesn’t exist anymore – but this is such a great option that it would be worth finding a way to still run an apple slinky fundraiser. Organising it yourself does add a bit of extra time, but it could be a simple as drafting up a simple form and getting families to pay upfront, that way you would have the funds ready to go and purchase the machines and then keep any profits for your school or child care centre. A store like Spotlight often sells slinky machines for around $12 which you could then sell-on for $20. Otherwise, with a little bit more research, you may be able to find a wholesaler who would sell them to you for your fundraiser.
A great way to get kids eating more apples and possibly a few other fruit and veg. My kids are not fans of raw beetroot but pop one through the slinky machine and they crunch away happily!
Download all instructions and order forms from their website. Makeup to 100% profit on each item.
Gardening, composting, worm farms, recycling
Beautiful bulbs – this is a great fundraiser for the beginning of the year. It is so much fun for your children who can help plant the bulbs and then wait eagerly for them to emerge in spring. They have a low minimum order of $150 with orders closing in early April each year. They offer a 40% profit.
Planet Eco provides a range of children’s gardening kits and accessories that are healthy, fun, and also good for the environment. Wherever possible planet-eco use organic, recycled, and renewable materials. No minimum order. You make a 30% profit.
I really love these kits and what this company is about – children can buy the bee pollination kits with 100% of profits going to the Beemunity™ Research to find a solution to Colony Collapse Disorder which is impacting bees globally – how cool is that. Their Mushroom and microgreen kits help to give children a homegrown food connection and curiosity by growing mushrooms and microgreens all by themselves. This is done in a fun, sustainable, and educational way. Win, Win & Win! They provide 5 free classroom boxes for every 100 ordered as well as a free educational kit. Orders are placed online and you don’t need to pay until after you have finalised your orders with parents.
Seed Creations have taken over from Living Fundraisers – they have a really interesting range of products including, Herb Growing Kits, Flower Growing Kits, Veggie Growing Kits, Grass Hair Kits, Birthday & Greeting Cards, Soy Candles, Seed-embedded Christmas Cards, Spring Flowering Bulbs and what they consider as Healthy Snacks. Again this is a fab way to teach children about where food comes from and experience the joy of raising plants and flowers. To be honest I would stay away from their nut-free snacks as most contains highly processed ingredients and/or additives that are really going to help nourish little or big people’s bodies. You can also set up your own web-based shop for people to shop from. Make up to 50% profit.
Chooktopia is another really interesting company whose core values are about ‘promoting grassroots sustainability without the misleading ‘greenwash’’. They stock products designed to promote a ‘healthy garden, healthy home, and a healthy planet’. Hit the ‘Request a Pack‘ button on their website to get more details on how the fund-raising process works.
Now that most Australian states and territories have container deposit schemes – Envirobank has established a fund-raising option for schools. You pay a small fee for Envirobank to provide collection bags and collect them once full and they take care of all the other logistics. All you need to do is encourage families to bring in their eligible recyclable containers and Envirobank takes care of the rest. In terms of funds raised – they say that if every student in a school of 250 brought in only two items a week each, the school would make around $2,000 every school year (assuming 40 weeks of school).
Clean up Australia Day
Many Australian schools participate in Clean Up Australia day each year. You could combine Clean Up Australia Day with a gold coin donation to be used toward purchasing composting, waste sorting or educational resources to place around the school.
Nude-food Lunchbox supplies
This is a great way to encourage parents to invest in some ‘nude-food’ lunch boxes, drink bottles, or reusable wraps, help them to reduce the amount of packaging making it into landfill plus raise money for your school. Profit margins aren’t huge, but could still be a good fundraiser if you think enough families will order.
Another fantastic way to encourage parents to invest in some ‘nude-food’ lunch boxes. $10 from every Munchbox sold goes to the school. You set up the account for the school on their website and parents can order directly from the website. Email them to register your school at email@example.com
School Community Cookbooks
This is a great way to draw together the creative talents of the school community and encourage home-cooked meals. You can have a focus for the cookbook such as a ‘Multicultural Cookbook’ to tie in with your multicultural day at school, or Mum’s or Dad’s favourite healthy recipes, to tie in with Mothers and Fathers Day. If you are keen to make sure recipes are ‘healthy’ just pop some criteria that you feel are appropriate to your community, on the instructions page you provide for those who would like to submit a recipe. For example, ‘Please provide your favourite healthy recipe that is ‘free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives’.
Eco or Re-usable bags, aprons & tea towels
This is a great way to combine your children’s creativity with gift-giving. Children get so much joy seeing the things they design actually getting used, day in day out. Can be run to coincide with special days of the year such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Reconciliation Day or Christmas. Their tea towels are manufactured from ethically grown 100% organic cotton and using 100% environmentally friendly inks.
Another great way to ditch the plastic. How beautiful are these reusable tote bags? The Three End Company is a team of three mums who have a heart for sustainability and design based in the Northern Rivers of NSW. Bags come in 2 sizes Medium (34×40) and Large (37x42x10) and a range of beautiful designs. For fundraising, you purchase the totes in boxes of 50 (you can choose a range of styles and sizes to make up the 50) and the markup is around 80-100% which becomes your profit. Find them on FACEBOOK or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Educational Games and Toys
This is play-based learning at its best – your children will discover through play why it is so important to make healthy food choices particularly around fruits and vegetables. In my own walk with my children, I have found that for them to truly take on board the importance of healthy eating for themselves and not just because ‘Mum says so’, it has been crucial to give them the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ behind healthy eating and how it makes a difference in their bodies. This game can be a wonderful tool in that ongoing educational process. The game consists of bright, colourful cards that capture their attention and when teamed with simple messages about healthy eating = loads of fun and a greater chance that they too will take on the importance of healthy eating for themselves.
School Community Gatherings
Family Movie Night at school
If your school has a gym or other large space with great AV you could run a family movie night – BYO picnic dinner and charge an entry fee per family. Not only is it a great family night out but it also helps to build community amongst school families.
We all know the three R’s when it comes to sustainability – Reduce, reuse, recycle. This is a great event for REUSE-ing some of our clothing rather than just buying more new. Start with a Marie Kondo style clean out of your wardrobe and return from this event with just a few fun new pieces to add a bit of fun to your wardrobe.
This is such a great event for building relationships within your school community whilst also decluttering and re-stocking your wardrobe with some new-for-you clothes. Here’s how it works: you ask for donations of quality clothes and hangers (you may choose to do women or kids’ clothing only events to simplify things). Once you have a location, date, and time, you then set up a pop-u style shop where people come and shop to refresh their wardrobes. You charge an entry fee (which becomes your profit) which allows people to choose a set number of pieces of clothing for their wardrobe. They can choose additional pieces for an additional monetary donation. To make things really fun you can ask a few people or local businesses to sponsor the events with some wine and nibbles, others you can keep things simple and just offer tea, coffee, and a few homemade treats. Advertise in your school newsletter and even use the school’s event booking system for people to purchase their tickets. That way you don’t have to worry about exchanging cash. A close friend of mine ran one of these at our school last year and it was a huge success. You will need a team of people to help bring it all together – but even that process is an awesome excuse for spending time with some friends within your school community or making some new friends. Any clothes left over after the event can be taken to charity or recycled through companies like H & M.
Quiz or Trivia nights
Quiz or trivia nights can be loads of fun and can be quite simple to organise. There are lots of great quiz question templates that you can find online. It can either be run as an adults-only or family event – some of the best fun comes from forming teams and then battling it out against each other. BYO snacks to keep things simple. Charge an entry fee to raise money. The best trivia nights I have been to are the dress-up ones, as it creates a great sense of fun right from the start. You could either set a theme for the night or each table can come up with their own theme that reflects their team name for the night.
Still to come: Active Fundraisers