Fundraising with fairly traded, organic and delicious products? Here’s an excellent tip to help you raise more money… let them taste it!
As the fundraising campaign organizer, it’s up to you to come through for your cause. You make sure your community knows exactly what your organization needs the money for and why you partnered with Equal Exchange to help raise it. Great work! Now, it’s time to boost your fundraising efforts by offering samples.
There are two different groups of people who have a stake in your fundraiser. Each plays a different, yet important, role in your campaign. Identify them, then give each what they need to raise the most possible.
The first group is your team of organizers and fundraising participants — the people who are passing out catalogs or soliciting orders. They are the ones who sell to their sphere of contacts. Your participants need to be passionate about your cause or project. Their passion gets their friends and families excited. They need to be able to talk about what the funding means to them personally. It’s up to you to get them jazzed up to generate excitement.
Your team also needs to know – and love – what they’re offering. You, of course, share Fair Trade and organic information with your participating children and adults to let them know the fundraiser also supports small farmers. Giving them a taste of the delicious products will let them describe “delicious” in their own words and help boost their individual sales.
The second group is the people who ARE your fundraiser. They are people your participants know — friends, family and coworkers. They may buy an item or two but if you train your team to offer a taste of decadent chocolate, a sip of freshly brewed organic coffee, or an inhale of aromatic steeping tea it’s likely order sizes will increase. Samples help you raise the most money possible throughout your campaign.
How to Order Samples For Your Equal Exchange Fundraiser
Small team? Let your group experience the quality of products in our sample variety pack. It includes a bag of coffee, a box of tea and two chocolate bars. (Items may vary.) The organic sample pack is $22.99, but fundraising organizers can order it 50% off when they sign up for an Equal Exchange fundraiser, or by calling 774-776-7366.
Large team? Browse the products that will be in your fundraiser and decide what you’d like to sample. (All are best sellers so you can’t go wrong!) Then, take advantage of lower discounted pricing when you order product by the case online.
The purpose of sampling is to raise more money. It will cost approximately $30 for a case of 12 chocolate bars. Unopened product can be sold in your fundraising campaign. If you calculate properly, you could even pull a small quantity from a case to use as samples, sell the rest at catalog prices and break even. (Example: 8 chocolate bars sold at fundraising prices can pay for a case of 12. Use only 4 chocolate bars to sample and sell the rest.) You can also plan to use products as incentives for your top sellers, thank you gifts for volunteers or supporters, and even silent auction items.
You are in need of money so ordering product by the case before starting your fundraiser may be difficult. Reach out to a few specific supporters and ask for their help directly. Your email could look something like this:
As you know, we’re kicking off our Equal Exchange fundraiser soon! When people taste the delicious, organic products we’re offering, they’ll purchase more and we can raise more money. Would you be so kind to donate a few cases of product that we could use as samples? You can keep some for yourself! Here’s what we need…
Then, make your sample wish list and include product links to make it easy for them to help. If you ask a few people, consider requesting different products with each request.
Share your ideas and experiences here or with other Equal Exchange Fundraising Organizers on Facebook so all can raise the most they can for their important causes.
We love to celebrate our many fundraising catalog partners. Each participating group makes a direct and positive impact on farming families across the globe as they offer their products to their communities. For this, we thank you!
Ballet 5:8 is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based outside of Chicago. They’ve been partnering with our catalog program for over 5 years, raising $10,126 for their organization in that time! Successful fundraising is a crucial part of their mission to bring high-quality ballet performances and educational programs throughout Chicago and beyond. They take fundraising very seriously.
Ballet 5:8’s Executive Director Amy Kozol Sanderson offered her insights about the nonprofit’s continued success with our fundraising catalog program. We asked Amy why an Equal Exchange fundraiser matches up so well with their organization. Here’s what she said:
Coffee and chocolate are great items that everybody loves! The items available in the catalog are great options especially for families that eat healthy and wouldn’t order other products such as frozen cookie dough.
We appreciate the generous profit margin of 40% that is available for nonprofit fundraisers. Many other similar fundraiser options only donate back 10-15%. The 40% makes this fundraiser very worthwhile for the time and effort of everyone involved.
The funds go directly to our dance education center, Ballet 5:8’s School of the Arts. This helps us keep our tuition low and accessible to community members of all walks of life, so all can reap the benefits of high quality dance education. The funds also help support our scholarship programs for students in particular financial need, as well as our professional-quality ballet performances, which we also work to keep accessible to our local community through low ticket prices and donated tickets. We are huge advocates of the ways the fine arts can strengthen and inspire communities!
We make sure to communicate very clearly to families about our mission and the nature of our organization as a 501(c)3 nonprofit that relies partially on donated funding. From there, with the enthusiasm about our mission, we communicate clearly on how families can help out with the fundraiser. Communication includes fliers and handouts, emails, and in-person reminders from instructors and staff people.
We ask each of the families participating on our dance education programs to take part in the fundraiser, and we give out prizes related to our school – Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts swag like t-shirts, and tickets to our upcoming Nutcracker production for the top sellers as an incentive to sell more.
We’ve found it is best to have one person in charge of collecting orders and inputting them into the order spreadsheet; this minimizes typos and other errors. Make sure to double check once everything is in. Then, when it comes to sorting the orders, make sure to have plenty of volunteers ready to help! We’ve found there are usually some human error made during the sorting process, but it helps if the volunteer coordinator and the volunteers all know to keep going back to re-check sorted orders until they find the problem. Most of the time it can be spotted even if it’s on the 3rd or 4th try!
We have several office staff people who are involved in organizing. As mentioned earlier, having enough hands to help is crucial, but for the sake of organization and accuracy it is also helpful to have specific, individual people in charge of each area of responsibility.
Thank you Amy and Ballet 5:8! Your fundraising success is also a huge win for small farmers. Keep up the outstanding work!
What has worked for your organization? Let us know in the comments below or share with other Equal Exchange Fundraising organizers on Facebook. If you or someone you know would like to receive more fundraising tips and news from Equal Exchange, click here and sign up for our e-newsletters.
At Equal Exchange, we’re proud to help schools, nonprofits and organizations of all sizes raise money with an easy catalog program. Participating groups often reach – and exceed – their fundraising goals while also supporting authentic fair trade!
“Silver Rail Elementary School is working to be a collaborative culture that encourages curiosity, critical thinking and problem solving as we engage in academics, wellness and service to the community.”
Silver Rail Elementary School opened in Bend, Oregon four years ago. As a new school in need of funding, the Silver Rail PTA is very active raising money for the school’s various programs including field trips, assemblies, reading programs, artists in residence, and a new LEGO® robotics program.
In the fall of 2018, Silver Rail PTA participated in the Equal Exchange fundraising program for the first time with a goal to raise $3,000. The campaign far exceeded that and they raised over $5,000! To learn just how, in their first year participating, their campaign did so well, we asked Silver Rail PTA President Brant Himes to share his insights to help empower others to succeed. Here’s what he said:
Equal Exchange was a good fit for the culture of our school. Our school motto is ‘kindness matters. Equal Exchange gave us an opportunity to participate in a fundraiser where we could feel good about promoting and selling fair trade and organic products that aligned with our values of supporting community.
We started actively planning for this fundraiser during the Summer before the school year started. We ordered sample products to share at our September PTA meeting, and then had catalogs ready to go home in October. The samples and catalogs arrived very quickly, which made it easy to get organized.
We also appreciated the educational materials that were available, so our students could learn more about what makes fair trade different, and how Equal Exchange works with local farmers.
We sent home catalogs and a letter with every student, and promoted the fundraiser on our Facebook pages and in the school newsletter. We also had a kick-off assembly at the school where we challenged them with our school-wide goal: if we raised $5,000 profit, then the entire school would earn an ice cream party. To help foster a larger sense of community at the school, we opted for a school-wide prize instead of individual seller prizes.
EE provided great resources for organization. I would advise making sure to review everything that EE provides as you go through the fundraiser. We devised our own system for counting and sorting orders, but then realized the EE had a great order form spreadsheet and so we ended up using that in the end.
We had our fundraising chair take charge of the organization for the launch of the fundraiser, and then our board helped support the fundraiser throughout, especially with counting and entering the orders.
We rallied a group of volunteers to sort the orders upon arrival, and things went quicker than we anticipated. Again, EE had great strategies for organization (like setting out all the products around the room in order of the order form), and this helped keep the process clear.
We had great enthusiasm for this fundraiser and I anticipate we will want to do it again next year. People loved the products.
Next year, we will promote more with local businesses to consider purchasing the gift packs for their holiday employee gifts, as we had a couple of large orders for these that really pushed us over the top of our goal. We will also be able to process the orders more quickly just having done this before. From beginning to end, this was one of the more smooth and successful fundraisers that we have done! Thank you for your support of our school!
We did meet our goal, and so it was exciting to provide the ice cream for the school!
Well done, Silver Rail PTA! Your success is also a huge win for small farmers.
Do you have fundraising tips to share? Join other Equal Exchange Coordinators on Facebook and let us know.
Fundraising with Equal Exchange is effective any time of year, but add in a special theme during the first half of the year can help you get to your goal faster. Here’s how…
Planning a campaign with a holiday or a seasonal theme gives you the power of suggestion. People automatically will view the fairly traded, organic products featured in the fundraising catalog >> as a gift-giving opportunity. Gifts are priced higher than the other items in the catalog, so you’ll raise more money. For example, five individual chocolate bars sold during your fundraiser will raise approximately $8.00 for your group. If those five chocolate bars were instead five gifts of the Equal Exchange’s Chocolate Bar Collection, you’d raise $62.00 instead of $8.00! It’s the same amount of work, but gifts will help you reach your goal much quicker.
Themes also inherently provide a special energy! People can get excited for Mother’s Day, for example. And, the deadline for your campaign becomes relevant to your supporters so they can get orders to you in time.
If you’re not sure how to promote your fundraiser, themes give you plenty to talk about throughout your campaign. (Click here for more tips to help you promote.) Use social media, newsletters, website, flyers and whatever works best for your group to tell them.
“Mother’s Day is a few weeks away! Our fundraiser ends Friday so order her perfect gift today!”
Every calendar year offers plenty of themes to choose from. And don’t overlook your organization’s special dates, such as an anniversary. Pick what works for you, then use this guide >> to plan your schedule. Here are a few springtime suggestions to kick off the new year with a successful fundraiser:
To raise the most, we suggest that you give yourself as much time as possible to run a successful fundraiser. Why wait? Request your free catalogs>> today and get the first step out of the way.
Equal Exchange fundraising organizers want to know! Share your fundraising experience with our special group on Facebook>>.
Distribution day is the day your participants and supporters have been waiting for! They’ve been anxious to see – and finally taste – the delicious, organic and fairly traded goodies that they purchased during your catalog fundraising campaign.
You’ve wrapped up your fundraiser and emailed your master order form to us. Now, it’s time to prepare space to receive your group’s shipment so that you — and any helpers you’ve recruited — can separate individual orders and package them up for supporters to take home! If you set up tables before the shipment arrives, you can avoid handling all the products twice by simply placing them where they need to be for distribution as you check them in. In order to accomplish this, you need to know the sizes of the products to make a spot for them all. This kind of visual guide for product placement is called a plan-o-gram or a schematic.
Fundraising orders that are approximately $2,000 will require at least four tables that are four feet in length or longer. Larger orders will likely need more space. If you can, avoid placing your tables against the wall as you may need the room behind (and under) them to stack extra cases of product. Also, leave enough room between the tables so you can comfortably walk around them during distribution.
Allocate one table per product category and place them in the same order as they appear in the fundraising catalog:
Using separate pieces of paper, write the name of each product in the fundraising catalog and place them, in the same order, on the matching product tables. (In the unlikely event an item was not ordered, still place a note to mark its place so people will be able to follow along the order form with ease.)
Once every product is indicated, use the diagrams below to plan the space on the table tops so everything fits. Arranging things in the same order as the catalog will expedite distribution and help eliminate mistakes. This is true whether you and your helpers prepare orders for each participant or whether you plan an assembly-line for distribution day where supporters pick up the products themselves. Should you choose the latter, be aware that more errors can occur –plan extra supervision to ensure all products go home with the correct people!
All measurements below are approximate. Products are measured from left to right.
Chocolate needs approximately 40” of table space.
We hope this guide helps you prepare enough space so you can have your best distribution day ever!
Do you have tips or photos to share from your distribution day? If so, please help others by sharing them in our small group of Equal Exchange Fundraising Coordinators on Facebook.
If you’re in the early stages planning your campaign, here are tips on Logistics and Collecting Orders. Also, we provide insights for schools to distribute their orders per class room which are helpful for any fundraising organizer.
Rally your troops to create a fundraising goal board and watch those dollars come in!
Creating a goal board as a team is a show of solidarity. It gets your group excited about your fundraiser so they can see exactly what the money means to your organization.
In addition, by showing that thermometer rising during your campaign, you can motivate supporters to buy more and help you reach – or exceed – your goal. So be sure to take pictures and share them frequently throughout your campaign. This invites your community to become part of your fundraiser. In turn, they’re more likely to share your news and progress. The more they share, the more people you’ll reach and the more money you can raise!
To get started, remember to order a free Equal Exchange goal poster when you request your fundraising catalogs (also free) as you sign-up for your fundraiser. The thermometer graphic is the perfect way to get started! The poster(s) will arrive with your catalogs so you can plan your goal board project on the day you hand out catalogs. What a way to kick off your fundraiser! If you wish to start making your goal board earlier, you can download the poster and just print it out. For more graphics, you can even print out other Equal Exchange educational resources.
The next step is to start gathering other materials. For inspiration, look at the supply list below. Keep in mind that it’s best to customize the goal board to be about your organization and what you need funding for. You can include information about your mission, Equal Exchange’s mission and anything else that will motivate!
Once you have your supplies together, be sure to have a specific dollar amount for your goal, what you’re raising money for (example: $9,000 for new lap tops) and the dates of your fundraising campaign.
We want to see! Share photos of the making of your goal board as well as your campaign’s progress with other Equal Exchange Fundraising Coordinators on Facebook. We look forward to watching you reach your goal!
The best way to set dates for your catalog fundraising campaign is to plan backwards!
As you know, the 40% profits you earn from our catalog program are immediate. You collect money as you sell, then simply pay wholesale pricing for your order. So the best way to plan your campaign dates is to pick the day that you want for people to receive their products.
This planning guide illustrates how create a successful schedule by allowing enough time for each step throughout your fundraiser. This way, you’ll have your delicious, organic and fairly traded Equal Exchange products when you want them!
Let’s say you want products from your catalog campaign distributed before December 25, 2018.
No matter the day, month or year for your campaign, you must make necessary adjustments for holidays and weekend days that fall into your timeline as they will affect shipping schedules.
Participants need time to pick up and distribute their orders before December 25th so you need to products to arrive sooner. Because the holiday season causes so many scheduling conflicts, we strongly urge you to allow plenty of time for you participants to pick up and distribute their orders and recommend you count back two weeks (skipping weekend days) and set your distribution day for December 10th.
We guarantee delivery within 10 business days so count backwards from December 10th (do not include weekend days or holidays), and send your catalog order to us before November 26th.
Please note: We highly recommend allowing as much time as possible for shipping, especially around the holidays. Orders too large for UPS require freight delivery, which may take more time. If you have any questions about shipping times, please call Customer Service at 774.776.7366. We’ll be happy to consult with you!
Allow 3 weeks for your fundraising campaign, but do not tell your team! Instead, allow them only two weeks to sell and turn in their orders to you. This way, you’ll eliminate unnecessary stress by giving yourself an extra week to collect late orders (you’ll be glad you did!) and send your order to us. So, counting back three weeks from when you have to send your order, your campaign’s start date is November 5th.
You’ll need catalogs and your fundraising goal board built before November 5th. Allow yourself a few weeks to receive all of your materials, build your customized goal board, plan your promotions and distribute catalogs. You need to order your catalogs and poster before October 19th!
TIP TO BOOST SALES – This is the perfect time to get your team excited for the campaign! Feel free to forward videos and other resources on our website. This can help you reach your fundraising goal faster.
This timeline example can get your order distributed properly before Christmas. For this time of year especially, you need to allow two and a half months to organize a smooth and successful fundraiser! This schedule did not take into account any unforeseen issue, such as a weather event, so do consider adding in even more time.
No matter when you plan to run your campaign, check one thing off your list today and reserve your catalogs now. Just tell us how many to send and when you want them by when you sign up. This way, there’s plenty of time for you to prepare for success!
Check out more tips for catalog fundraising to help you raise more money:
Do you have fundraising tips/ideas/photos that you’d like to share to help others succeed? Please join our conversation with other Equal Exchange Fundraising Organizers on Facebook.
Our new Fundraising Catalog is here! It’s time for your organization to join other community groups, schools, clubs and non-profits and help small-scale farmers succeed while funding your important programs.
Get free fundraising catalogs and posters when you sign up!
Keep your fundraiser on track with the new pull-out, color-as-you-go Goal Tracker thermometer.
Friends, family and supporters can now easily see the fundraising progress throughout your campaign. They’ll want to help participants reach their goals faster. (To determine how much each participant needs to raise, take your overall fundraising goal and divide it by the number of participants. To get an idea of what Equal Exchange products will get them to their goal, use our profit calculator.)
On the back cover, you can now find a cool, blank Doodle Space. Here, each fundraiser can personalize their own catalog by writing or drawing a message to describe what the funds mean to them.
Both interactive tools are designed to engage more people throughout your fundraising campaign to help you raise more money.
Fundraising tip: Ask your fundraisers to photograph their interactive features throughout your campaign so you can share with your community. Post on your social media channels, website, e-news, texts, and anywhere else you can think of to reach your supporters to help raise more money!
We can’t wait to see how much you raise for your organization with our new catalog! Remember, each purchase helps you raise money while also supporting small-scale farmers. The more you raise, the more you help.
The EE Fundraising Organizer’s group is a great place to exchange ideas and help other fundraisers be successful! Join us on Facebook. And, don’t forget to take advantage of our educational resources throughout your campaign.
You’ve started something special — let’s continue doing great things together!
By partnering with Equal Exchange’s fundraising programs last year, you not only raised money for the organization you care so much about, but you also supported small, organic farmer co-operatives around the world.
It’s not always possible for you to continue volunteering at your beloved school or serving your non-profit in the same capacity forever. With over two decades in the nonprofit world, I personally understand how quickly information can fall off the radar. People rotate in and out. Projects get handed-off. Email addresses change. With this kind of disconnect, it’s no wonder so much time gets wasted as people re-create the wheel time and again. Your goal is to raise money for your group. When there’s a lot of turnover, that goal suffers.
To continue the amazing work you’ve started, we ask you to help keep us in touch with your team. Just invite members of your group to join the Equal Exchange Fundraising community!
No time? No worries. Just copy and paste the letter below and send off to your committee. Feel free to customize to suit your needs!
We loved raising money with Equal Exchange’s programs offering their organic, fairly traded and delicious products!
They send out e-news occasionally about fundraising to help organizations like ours raise more. I recommend you stay informed about their programs so we can continue our partnership. To get in the loop, visit this link http://equalexchange.coop/ee-and-you/fundraising and fill out the form.
A big thanks from all of us at Equal Exchange and our small farmer partners!
As the school year winds down, it’s time to lock-in your successful fundraising plans with Equal Exchange. By doing so now, you can sit back, sink your toes into the sand, and relax this summer.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin
We’re all aware that budget cuts are hurting schools across the nation. Therefore, your help raising money is needed now more than ever. In order for educators, leaders and parents to properly forecast school budgets, they need to know your plans long before the school year starts. (To assist with planning, use this profit calculator.)
In general, catalog fundraising campaigns are successful because they involve a community. For starters, they can be organized by any one person who cares about the cause. Campaigns are short term, so funds can be raised quickly. Then, many people can participate to help. And, the entire process teaches students very important life skills. These include how to set a goal, work with others, meet a deadline, stay organized, and exchange money for product. All are keys to success!
What makes Equal Exchange’s fundraising catalog extraordinary is that it not only raises money, but it also supports small-scale farmers. It’s a great opportunity to educate about food sourcing, Organic farming and fair trade. This opens minds to global issues to promote a more equitable, sustainable and democratic food system. You can share all the videos, lesson plans and tools found on our website to help.
Then, you can get on with your warm and wonderful summer plans!
If you’re not sure where your school needs the most help, it’s best to ask a faculty or staff member. Often funding needs include:
Audio / Visual Equipment
Educational Trips (Domestic / International), Local Transportation
Laptops, Tablets, Technology
Special Needs Programs
Anti-Bullying Educational Programs
Sport Programs need Equipment, Uniforms, Score Boards, and Travel
Art, Music and Theater Programs
After -School Programs & Activities
With over a decade of fundraising success, Equal Exchange’s catalog has helped thousands of schools and community organizations across the US! To help your campaign reach its goal, utilize the resources on our website. You’re invited to join our Equal Exchange Fundraising Coordinators Group on Facebook to collaborate with other organizers. There, you can find and share fundraising tips, ideas and pictures.
If you have questions on how to get started, please email or call 774-776-7366.
Equal Exchange is proud to partner with non-profits, communities, individuals and schools with our fundraising catalog program. Not only does our catalog help you raise money, it also supports small farmer co-operatives world-wide!
Since Fall of 2017, our Fundraising Catalog raised over $250,000 for almost 400 groups! Schools have been able to fund basic classroom materials, educational trips, musical instruments, dance programs, sporting equipment, and much more! Non-profits and community groups also participated to raise money for medical expenses, gardening programs, animal rescues, etc. Read more.
“Signing up for fundraiser is painless, ordering is a breeze, Payment is easy, Delivery is quick and profits are great! What more could you ask for out of a fundraiser!”— Kim Carey, First Position Performance Troupe
In addition to raising money, you can also educate about the importance of fair trade and food sourcing with materials and resources for classrooms. As a result, you, too, will be part of building a more equitable, sustainable and democratic food system.
You can sell our best-selling, Organic and fairly-traded products while earning 40% profit! There are no minimums and no upfront costs. Catalogs, posters and other educational materials are free. And, we offer free shipping for orders over $135!
And if you plan early, you can qualify for a special offer! Simply sign up for your 2018 Fall fundraiser before June 1, and we’ll offer an additional 10% discount, applied to your catalog order. You pay less for the products, so your group earns more! (To qualify, Fall catalog orders must be over $500 and must be placed before 12/31/2018. The 10% discount will be reflected on your invoice, which you’ll receive in the mail with your products.)
Want to raise more funds with Equal Exchange? In addition to our catalog, groups also participate in our community table sales and serving programs to help raise money. Questions, feel free to contact us at 774-776-7366 or firstname.lastname@example.org.