School fundraisers are often necessary to supplement funding for clubs, organizations, field trips and school activities. Generally, these fundraisers involve selling items like unhealthy candy bars, cookie dough, or sugar-laden baked goods. With initiatives like these, it’s no wonder childhood obesity is on the rise.
Luckily, you and your school have options. Ditch the candy bars and sell something that promotes the overall message of a healthy school and lifestyle. You can raise funds by selling non-food or nutritional-food items, or by holding a wellness-promoting event. Healthy fundraisers set a good example and help the school consistently promote a healthy message.
We won’t sugarcoat it; here’s a list of healthy fundraising options to get you started:
Health-food junkies. Forget the candy bars and opt for healthy food options. Your school can sell anything from fruit to granola bars to coffee. The Equal Exchange Fair Trade Fundraising Program partners with farmer co-ops to offer products such as organic tea, coffee, chocolate and almonds. (www.equalexchange.com) Fashionable funding. Some companies offer all-natural clothing and accessories your school can sell. Eco Sprouts (www.ecosprouts.com), launched by a mother of three in Alabama, offers fundraising options for schools with its partnered clothing line, earth creations. Or choose from jewelry, handbags, silk scarves and more from the Global Goods Partners (www.globalgoodspartners.org).
Light the way. Candles make a wonderful gift and can be sold year-round. Try looking for soy candles (like the ones offered at www.itsasoy.com). Be beautiful. Selling all-natural beauty products is a great way for your school to promote health while raising funds. The School Garden Company offers fundraising opportunities with its natural products, including moisturizers, soaps and lip balms (www.schoolgardenco.com). Plant the seed. Sell flower or tree seeds in the spring to help area residents start their gardens. Better yet, plant the seeds in recycled yogurt cups and sell the baby plants.
Get together. Holding an event to raise money can be a great way to bring parents, students, teachers and administrators together. Try organizing a walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon in which participants gather sponsors who will donate money for every lap around your school’s track or gym. Or hold a karaoke or game night and charge admission.
Pool your resources. Collect favorite healthy family recipes from parents and publish a cookbook, to be sold through the school and community. There are several companies who enable groups to gather their recipes, upload them and create their books (http://www.fundcraft.com/fc/home.asp). Or gather unwanted goods from parents, teachers and administrators to hold a silent auction, sell them on ebay or hold a yard sale. One-stop fundraising. Greenraising offers both online-only and traditional fundraising opportunities, and their products include fair-trade teas and coffees, recycled gift wrap, soy candles and reusable lunchtime supplies (www.greenraising.com).
Turn your trash into treasure. Encourage your school's students, parents and teachers to collect old wrappers and send them in to the Terracycle Brigade program (www.terracycle.net). Terracycle will pay you for plastic bottles, yogurt containers, cookie wrappers, juice pouches and Clif Bar wrappers, then turn them into a product that will be sold in stores. For example, pencil cases made from Honest Kids juice pouches are available in Office Max right now.