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Emily Reers

Fall Fundraising 2017: Photo Gallery

5th Grade Class

Congratulations to all of the groups who ran a successful fundraiser this fall! We are excited to share some customer photos from this fundraising season. Thank you to all those who participated and supported small farmers and authentic Fair Trade through your efforts!

 

Photos submitted by Jessica Swan, the fundraising organizer at Cien Aguas International School.

Photos taken by Pam Barclay and Anne Pacheco from St. Martin of Tours Academy.

 

 

Holiday Recipe Ideas

Now that the fundraising is over and your kitchen is stocked with fairly traded ingredients, it’s time to get cooking! Here are six recipes that will impress your holiday guests or shine at the party potluck!

Recipes the Whole Family will Love

Chocolate Sugar Cookies: A classic, delicious dessert. Make them festive by using holiday cookie cutters!

  • 1/3 cup Organic Baking Cocoa
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached white pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until light. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and form into a thick dough. If the dough is soft, wrap it in plastic and chill for 1/2 hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter a baking sheet. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness and cut into shapes. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with confectioners sugar, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the centers of the cookies are firm. With a spatula, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

These crisp chocolate wafers may be rolled out and cut into shapes suitable for any festivity. Store the cookies in a tin with a tight-fitting lid to keep them fresh. (Yields 18)

From the Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites, published by Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. 1996.

 

Classic Love Cocoa: Stay warm this holiday season with our delicious hot cocoa recipe.

  • Organic Baking Cocoa
  • Milk
  • Sugar

Fill your mug with your milk of choice – pour milk into a pot. Add 1 heaping Tbsp. of both high-quality sugar and Equal Exchange Organic Baking Cocoa (or to taste). Whisk together.

Place on stove on low heat, constantly stirring with whisk. Do not let boil or stick the bottom of pot. When it’s hot enough for your taste and all has been dissolved, pour into mug and enjoy!

Lilla Woodham, Equal Exchange Customer Service Representative and a professional baker, shares this traditional recipe

Holiday Recipe Ideas

 

Brownies: Always a favorite! Make your favorite brownie recipe even better with Equal Exchange chocolate.

  • 1/4 c. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 bar Organic Milk Chocolate (or 12 Organic Milk Chocolate Minis)
  • 10 Organic Milk Chocolate Minis (or 1 bar Organic Milk Chocolate broken into small pieces)
  • 1/3 c. Organic Baking Cocoa
  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) butter
  • 1 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch baking pan.

Melt butter and the 1 large chocolate bar in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until smooth. Add olive oil. Remove from heat, cool to lukewarm. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, beat well, until mixture is thoroughly mixed and glossy.

Stir remaining ingredients into the chocolaty mix.

Pour batter in pan and even out. Insert the minis into the batter at an angle in a spoke or other even pattern. Cover with a thin layer of batter. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a fork/knife/toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.

Yields 9 generous servings.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes: Have family staying over for the holiday? Start the morning with festive cheer by whipping up our favorite pancakes.

  • ½ c. Organic Bittersweet or Organic Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 ½ c. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ c. milk
  • ½ c. Equal Exchange bananas, mashed (check your local food co-op!)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix milk, banana, egg and vanilla until well combined. Stir into the bowl of dry ingredients. Add in ¼ cup of the chocolate chips.

Spray your griddle with cooking oil and place over medium heat. Pour batter onto the griddle into the pancake size you desire.

Cook for about 2 minute, or until the tops begin to bubble. Then, flip the pancake and cook for another minute or until golden. Work your way through the batter, reapplying cooking spray as needed.

Top your pancakes with more chocolate chips and serve.

Adapted from Food.com

Holiday Recipe Ideas

Recipes your Friends and Colleagues will Love

Extra-Special Chili: In charge of bringing an appetizer to the party? Try out our chili recipe, created by one of our customer service representatives!

  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Organic ground coffee (not prepared): 3 – 6 tablespoons (depending on size of Sauce Pot!). The coffee goes especially well with chili that has meat in it.
  • Organic Spicy Hot Cocoa. The great thing about our Spicy Hot Cocoa is that it does NOT have milk in it, so the chili can be vegan but you can add ground turkey or beef, too. You should taste-test it several times as you are adding something with a nice, spicy kick!
  • Sugar

Use your regular recipe for the chili base. As you near the end of cooking your chili, add any of the products with either the suggested serving sizes, or be creative and adapt to how much chili you are making and what you like.

Amount to add:

10 – 12 people = about 1 to 2 heaping tablespoons

15 – 20 people = about 3 to 4 heaping tablespoons

25 – 30 people = about 5 or so heaping tablespoons, depending on your taste

Shared by Phil Berry, Equal Exchange Customer Service Representative.

Mint Chocolate Filled Cupcakes: A dessert that is both refreshing and sweet! Stand out from all of the other cupcakes at the dessert table.

For the batter:

  • 1/2 cup Organic Baking Cocoa
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

For the filling:

  • 1 bar Organic Mint Chocolate, chopped finely
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt

For the frosting:

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For Batter: Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda) and then add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Mix well. Put cupcake papers in a muffin tin and fill 1/2 full with the batter.

For Filling: Cream together cream cheese, egg, sugar, and salt, and stir in chocolate. Put a spoonful of filling into center of each cup of batter.

Bake at 350F / 180C for about 25 minutes.

While cupcakes are baking, whip up the frosting. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Frost the cupcakes after they’ve had time to fully cool.

Makes about 32 cupcakes. Contributed by Katie Hanson, Davenport, IA from a 1960s church cookbook in North Dakota.

Holiday Recipe Ideas

Products in red are Equal Exchange products.

Adapted from equalexchange.coop/recipes. 

 

 

Holiday Gift Ideas

Is your school running an Equal Exchange fundraiser this fall? It’s easy to find a gift for family and friends using our catalog! Our gift boxes are pre-assembled and packed with delicious products that will fill any home with good cheer.

Explore our gift box selections belows! We can help you decide which is the best gift to give the special people on your list.

Classic Gift Boxes

 

Equal Exchange Fundraising: Holiday Gift IdeasCrowd Pleaser Gift Box:

Enjoy a little of everything with this gift box of customer favorites. It includes some of our bestsellers in each product category and is perfect if you want to give a gift with variety.

Includes: 2 Chocolate Bars, 1 Coffee, 1 Tea, 1 Cocoa

“I ordered this product for my grandparents as a holiday gift and they were absolutely smitten! […] As for the products, they loved the presentation and variety available. This is something I would definitely recommend as an excellent gift for loved ones.”

-Webstore Review of the Crowd Pleaser Gift Box

 

Chocolate Bar Collection Box:

This one is for all the chocolate lovers in your life! Give them the gift of 9 different organic chocolate bars which range from our Milk Chocolate to Equal Exchange Fundraising: Holiday Gift Ideasour Extreme Dark Chocolate 88% bar. This box includes flavors like Mint and Almond, as well as customer favorites like our Dark and Milk Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt bars.

Includes: 7 Dark Chocolate Bars & 2 Milk Chocolate Bars

“I love dark chocolate in the 50-65% cacao range, and this gift box is perfect for that! I bought them for myself as a Christmas gift! Others I have gifted them to in the past have loved them, too!”

-Webstore Review of the Chocolate Bar Collection Box

 

New Gift Boxes

 

Coffee Lover:

Equal Exchange Fundraising: Holiday Gift Ideas

The perfect gift for the person who can’t survive without their morning cup of coffee. The gift box includes three ground coffees, ranging from medium to dark roasts. Our talented roasting team brings out the best in these amazing coffee beans, sourced from our partner farmer co-ops around the world.

Includes: 1 bag of Organic French Roast, 1 bag of Organic Breakfast Blend, 1 bag of Organic Mind, Body, & Soul

“I stumbled upon this coffee because it was a gift and it is some of the best coffee I have ever had. I will be buying more and spreading the word. It makes it even more awesome that the coffee I’m buying is fairly grown, traded, and sold.”

-Webstore Review about the Organic Mind, Body, & Soul Coffee

 

The Baker

Who doesn’t love to bake around the holidays? This box packs essential ingredients for the baker’s pantry! Share our recipe page for bonus recipe inspiration.Equal Exchange Fundraising: Holiday Gift Ideas

Includes: 1 can of Organic Baking Cocoa, 1 bag of Organic Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, 1 bag of Organic Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

“This cocoa is by far the best I’ve ever used. It has a rich taste. I use it specifically for chocolate cookies and pies. No-bake cookies using this cocoa are awesome. It’s what makes them so great.”

-Webstore Review of the Organic Baking Cocoa

 

See the rest of the gift boxes that we offer through our fundraising program by checking out the PDF version of the fundraising catalog.

 

Make your Own

Want to customize your gift boxes? There’s tons of potential to make the perfect gift for anyone! For inspiration, take a look at some of the baskets we put together.

Equal Exchange Fundraising: Holiday Gift Ideas

 

6 Tips for Your Holiday Fundraiser

Believe it or not, the holiday season is the perfect time for a fundraiser. People are on the lookout for great gifts and will be happy to support your fundraiser while taking care of their holiday shopping. We have 6 ideas for how to make your holiday fundraiser festive, fun and successful!

1. Decorate! If you are having a table to promote your fundraiser and give out samples, use a festive tablecloth, decorate your table with lights, or set up a small basket to highlight our products and get people in the gift-giving mindset.

2. Use our holiday posters. Hang up our holiday-themed posters around your table or in your school hallways. If you would like us to send you a print version of the posters, please email fundraising@equalexchange.coop.

4. Emphasize how well the products work as gifts. Coffee, chocolate, cocoa and tea are universally-appreciated kitchen essentials, and ours are organic, fairly traded and exceptionally delicious! As gifts, these products say that you care about quality, taste and sourcing.

5. Share the mission. Make sure your community knows that your fundraiser benefits both your community and farming communities worldwide. These products support equitable, alternative supply chains, environmental stewardship and democratic co-operatives — and that’s something to get excited about! Our posters and brochures will help you explain Equal Exchange’s mission and trade practices.*

6. Make distributing the products fun! Turn distribution into a fun and festive group activity with just a few craft supplies. Set up a table in your distribution room with construction paper, ribbon, markers, glitter glue or whatever else appeals to you. After the participants collect their products, encourage them to visit the crafts table and decorate! They can wrap their coffee or tea so they are ready to give as gifts, create a card to put inside the gift boxes, or even dress their chocolate bars up like snowmen! Check out more DIY craft ideas here.

7. Send a holiday message. Before your school break, send a holiday message of good cheer and gratitude by email or on Facebook. Thank everyone for participating and wish them a happy holiday and new year! Encourage people to send in photos of them giving their gifts to family and friends. Next year, you can share these with your community and show how much these gifts meant to the people that received them.

If you have not signed up for your fundraiser yet, click here to get started!

 

*If you plan on including the photos in printed materials, please include “Photo courtesy of Equal Exchange”.

Fair Trade Events & Fundraising Ideas for Your Community

There are lots of opportunities to raise money while supporting authentic Fair Trade. Here are some suggestions to try out with your community group, school, club, or congregation.

Table Sale

A table sale can be really effective if you are interested in running a special fundraiser on your high school/college campus or at your congregation.  You will receive discounted prices when you order by the case and then you can mark items up, keeping the profit. If you are unsure of what products to order, give our customer service team a call at 774-776-7366 and they’ll help you determine what’s best for your goals or you can read our FAQ’s. We recommend selling the products at 1.5 times the cost that you purchased them for, but you can go higher or lower depending on your fundraising goal. Selling pre-packaged bags of dark chocolate minis using our mini chocolate packing kit is also a wonderful way to fundraise.

Table Sale

 

If  you’re looking to hold a table sale on your campus, think about setting up the table outside a sports game, in your dining hall, or at a concert or festival. Fair Trade Month (October) and Earth Day (April) are great times to sell. Promotion is key with this type of fundraiser. Put up posters around campus before the event letting people know where, when, and what they can purchase. Post on social media and share our short videos leading up to the sale and during the sale. And don’t forget to let everyone know what you are raising money for. Giving out samples like our bite-sized chocolate minis will attract people to your table.

If you are looking to hold a table sale at your congregation, consider doing so after services. Put a notice in the bulletin, explaining more about Equal Exchange and your fundraising efforts. The perfect time to have your first table sale is around the holidays! Check out this blog post with tips for holding a holiday sale.

Fundraising Events

Create a new tradition and lasting memories by putting together a community-wide fundraising event! This is a great way to get your everyone involved in a fun and exciting way. From bake sales highlighting  fair trade ingredients, to silent auctions of Fair Trade gift baskets to a walk-a-thon serving fairly traded iced coffee and tea, there are hundreds of events you can choose from. One of our favorite fundraiser event ideas is hosting a coffee and chocolate pairing event and charging a small admission fee for participants who get to sample a few different varieties of chocolates paired with different roast levels of coffee!

With an event, you have a platform to share more about your group and why you are raising money. While you can include this on posters and social media posts, at an event you can meet people face-to-face who are interested in helping your group. This is a great opportunity to share more about your group, your mission and how the fundraising event will help your group achieve your goals. 

Identifying and communicating the “why” regarding why people should support your group and why these products are special is the key to success.  Here are some talking points to get you started on the product side.

However you decide to fundraise, we hope you reach your goals, share your mission and engage your community through positive action!

How to Make your Fundraiser More Eco-Friendly

You already know how important it is to care for the environment through conservation and smart buying choices. Another great way you can make small but impactful changes is with your fundraiser! Here are a few tips to make your fundraiser more eco-friendly.

Go Digital

PDF Catalog: Use less paper by sending out the PDF version of our catalog instead of handing out the print version. Folks can easily browse the product selection and fundraiser info online!

Email Orders: Encourage people to submit their orders via email! We have created an Excel version of the order form that is included with the print catalog. Participants can fill out this order form and then email it to you, the organizer. Not only will this save paper, it’ll make your process easier:  instead of typing every order into the Master Order Form, you can simply copy and paste the information from the “Subtotals” column into the Master Order Form.

Below is the template for an email you can send along with the PDF catalog to introduce your fundraiser, your monetary goals and what you are raising the money for.

We are kicking off our annual fall fundraiser! This year we are partnering with Equal Exchange, a worker-owned co-operative that sells fairly traded, organic products sourced small-scale farmers from across the globe.

We are offering delicious chocolate, coffee, cocoa, tea, gift box assortments and more! The items are reasonably priced and our group makes 40% of the profit on every product we sell.

Our group’s fundraising goal is $X,XXX.

Together we can raise the funds to support:

  • ___________________
  • ___________________
  • ___________________

This year, we are going eco-friendly and will be using an online version of the fundraising catalog. Please consider saving paper by sending out the PDF version of the catalog to family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues who will be purchasing items.

We have also attached the order form to this email. You will fill out one column per customer. Once you have collected all your orders, please email this to me at [Enter Email]. Order forms are due on [Enter Date].

Please make sure you collect the payment at the time of the order. Customers may pay by cash or by check. If they decide to pay by check, they can make it out to [Name of your School/Organization]. Please also turn this in on [Enter Date].

Thank you for your support and please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns!

Promote Your Fundraiser on Social Media

Instead of hanging posters throughout the hallways of your school, use social media to promote your fundraiser. Here are some tips on how to promote your fundraiser online.

Recycle

If you’d prefer to hand out the hard copy version of the catalogs, that is okay too! The catalogs are recyclable, so please make sure you communicate that with participants and your fundraising helpers. At the end of your fundraiser when you are distributing the products, make sure that you recycle all the boxes and packing paper .

Go one step further and share information with your participants about how to recycle our bags and wrappers, some of which have special requirements due to the nature of the products. Listed below is the recycling and composting information for each product.

Chocolate Wrappers: The outer paper wrapper is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and also recyclable. If your local recycling center accepts No. 5 plastics, then the white plastic wrapper is recyclable.

Single Serve Cups: The cup is #5 recyclable plastic. The aluminum lid is recyclable and the filter is 88% compostable.

Tea Bags: The tea, bag, tag, and string are compostable. If the tea leaves are removed from the bag, the bag, tag, and string can be recycled.

Coffee Bags: To maintain freshness and quality, we use a foil and poly bag with a degassing valve in both applications. Unfortunately, there are no recyclable coffee bags available that can provide a needed barrier to keep coffee fresh.

Purchasing Organic and Fairly Traded Products

Just by choosing Equal Exchange’s organic products, you are supporting environmental stewardship and eco-friendly practices. Not only do organic farming methods protect farmers, the land and you from harmful chemicals, they contribute to healthier ecosystems, biodiversity and farm resilience.

As part of our alternative trade partnerships, farmers receive above-market prices for their crops along with an additional premium. These funds help farmers invest in their land, from farm renovation projects, to development of organic materials, to sustainability projects and more.

For example, our Peruvian cacao partners at Oro Verde are currently working hard to identify high quality, productive and disease-resistant cacao trees to build up an elite tree program allowing them to provide their farmers with improved varieties for the future. This includes a reforestation project that involves planting two million trees to help the co-op achieve a carbon footprint of zero! Learn about the work that our farmer partners are doing in their communities here.

Fundraising Feature: Mattole Valley Charter School

For the past two years, we have had the pleasure of partnering with Mattole Valley Charter School at the Mt. Shasta Learning Center in California for their Fair Trade fundraiser. With just two fundraisers, they raised almost $5,500 which was used towards classroom art supplies and field trips throughout the year, including trips to a pumpkin patch, an indoor climbing studio, Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and much more.

We wanted to hear more about this school’s impressive and inspiring fundraising efforts, so we spoke with Claudia Carpenter, the fundraising organizer, about her school and the Equal Exchange fundraiser.

“For the past two years, I have truly enjoyed supporting our school program with an Equal Exchange fundraiser! Our students, parents, and teachers especially like participating in a fundraiser where they can sell products that are socially and environmentally sustainable in support of small farmers around the world. Everything about the fundraiser lends itself to education. We can study geography, commerce, fair trade, the origin of food products. There are so many related topics that can lead to interesting educational discussions and activities for all ages.

We have a very small group of only 30 students in our elementary program from kindergarten to 8th grade. Yet, with Equal Exchange, the students have been able to raise enough money for all our field trips for the entire year.  Our students are able to enjoy programs and activities such as live theater performances, nordic skiing, ice skating, science and art projects, and camping trips. The kids like the chocolate too!”

Congratulations to Mattole Valley Charter School on their successful fundraising efforts!! Below are some photos of the students at Mattole Valley Charter School enjoying their field trips!

Fundraising Feature: Mattole Valley Charter School
 Fundraising Feature: Mattole Valley Charter School
 Fundraising Feature: Mattole Valley Charter School

If you’re interested in running your own Equal Exchange catalog fundraiser, you can find out more information and sign-up on our website.

10 Social Media Tips for Fundraising Success

In the digital age, promoting your fundraiser on your social media accounts is integral to your success! Is your fundraiser being seen by friends, family and coworkers as they browse their news feeds each day? Spread the word, send updates, and increase participation in your fundraiser by making the most of social media. Here’s how!

  1. Visuals are key. Use product photos and logos so people know right away what you’re offering. Pictures are eye-catching and will help you stand out in a stream of text updates.

  2. Start early. Make your first post two weeks before your fundraiser begins. Let people know what you’ll be selling, where they can get it, and when the fundraiser starts.

  3. Share your goals. Make your second post about the goals of your fundraiser. How much are you hoping to raise? What are you raising money for? People will be excited to know specifically what they are helping you do. Emphasize your start date here again.

  4. Announce the catalogs. Post a photo of the fundraising catalogs with a caption “Catalogs have arrived! Who is excited for our fundraising kick-off?” Make sure you emphasize the start date so parents will know to look out for the catalog.

  5. Upload a video. On your kick-off date, upload a video with a few students and staff members to announce the start of your fundraiser and share your excitement. Be creative and have fun!

  6. Make your posts public. Be sure that all the social media posts you make are shareable. That way, the parents who see it on their page can share it will their friends and family.

  7. Post updates! Throughout the fundraiser, keep people engaged by sharing fun facts about what you’re selling, quotes from kids excited about achieving your goal, or a photo of the stack of order forms that have already come in. These posts are a good way to remind folks when orders are due, too.

  8. Make a last-minute reminder. The day before the order forms are due, remind everyone with a fun graphic.

  9. Announce when your products have arrived. Take a photo of all the boxes and let folks know when they can come by to pick up their order.

  10. Share your success! After the fundraiser is over, share how much you raised or a photo of what the money went towards. This is a great time to thank everyone for their participation and set the stage for a great fundraiser next year.

Example posts from the Equal Exchange fundraising team:

We are excited to announce that we will be partnering with Equal Exchange for our fall fundraiser! With this fundraiser, we will make 40% profit from our school’s sales of fairly traded chocolate, coffee, tea, cocoa, and more. Look out for posts from us in the upcoming weeks to learn more about Equal Exchange.

 

This fall our fundraising goal is $5,000, which will go towards purchasing new laptops in the middle school. Our fundraising kick-off will be next Monday, September 25th, so don’t forget to check your child’s backpack for the catalog (pictured above) when they get home from school!

 

Our fundraiser kicks off on Monday! Interested in learning more about Equal Exchange, our fundraising partner, before the fundraiser starts? Watch their 2 minute video about Who They Are and What They Believe In!

 

We did it! We reached our fundraising goal. Thank you to all those who participated and helped make this possible! We hope you enjoy your products and check out the new laptops we were able to purchase with the money we raised.

And don’t forget to check out our Promote your Fundraiser page for more tips and resources!

Celebrating 11 Years of the Equal Exchange Fundraising Program!

This year marks the 11th anniversary of Equal Exchange’s Fundraising Program! The program started with Virginia Berman, a co-owner and the Organizing Director at Equal Exchange at the time. One of the roles of the Organizing Department was to find supporters of Equal Exchange and provide them with the resources to spread the word about authentic Fair Trade, and conscious consumerism.

Equal Exchange’s Organizing Team began receiving requests from parents for a fundraising catalog.  Some parents had been fundraising on their own with Equal Exchange products, but many parents had trouble convincing their PTAs to choose Equal Exchange without the benefit of a traditional catalog.

In response to requests, an entrepreneurial member of the Organizing team, Julia Khodebandeh put together Equal Exchange’s first fundraising catalog and the school fundraising program was born!  Equal Exchange co-director Rob Everts, was excited to reach a younger audience and create educational resources for  teachers and parents to use alongside the fundraiser.

The first catalog included just four products: two coffees and two cocoas! Still, the program gained momentum right away through word of mouth. Parents talked to other parents, shared the Equal Exchange mission, and the program kept growing! By year four, it was thriving.

Through the years, the catalog and program expanded, largely in part to strong relationships with like-minded organizations and groups. Two relationships that were integral to the success of the program were with the Montessori Schools and the New York State United Teachers. Both relationships helped us reach new groups of individuals and helped put our shared social justice mission into action. These relationships helped us boost our sense of purpose and fine tune the educational aspects of our program. We were also very lucky to have partnered with Ten Thousand Villages for six years, offering fairly traded crafts as part of our fundraising catalog. With this partnership, we were able to offer communities more ways to support farmers and artisans through their purchases.

One of the best aspects about the fundraising program is that it is constantly innovating! Over the last 11 years, the program has never been stagnant — we are always thinking of new ways to help make fundraising easier for our customers and to keep things fresh and exciting.

We’re proud to offer a fundraising option for schools and groups that they can feel good about bringing to their communities.  In particular, we’re pleased to offer parents and educators tools to help introduce their students to the important concepts of Fair Trade, conscious consumerism, climate change, gender equality, income equality, and so much more.

While thinking about the future, we continue to ask ourselves how can we get to the next level and establish a greater presence in the fundraising world. We also continue to ask ourselves how we can improve our process to make things easier for participants. Beyond that, we hope to reach new audiences and create more incentives, materials, and guides for the groups that are currently using our program.

One idea that we are interested in bringing back is the creation of a fundraising advisory team, made up of parents and administrators who will gather ideas and provide us with insights about what their schools, friends, children, and community are looking for out of this fundraiser.

Celebrating 11 Years of the Equal Exchange Fundraising Program!
Photo of Virginia at the American Montessori School Conference in Boston in 2010.

Thank you to Virginia Berman and Rob Everts for reflecting on the past 11 years of the program with me! I started in this position about a year and a half ago, so it was a great experience to learn more about its beginnings, how it has changed throughout the years, and what they would like to see in the program’s future.

Virginia Berman has moved on from Equal Exchange and has created her own organization called Invent Boston. One of the inspirations for her starting her own company was experiencing the everyday challenges of running a home, with jam packed schedules. Here is a information about her first product,  Toothbrush Timer, a Two Minute Turtle, which was created to make brushing teeth easier for children and parents. You can find out more about her organization on her website. We wish her well! 

 

Get Kids And Parents Excited To Fundraise With Equal Exchange

The school year has just begun, your fundraising kickoff is coming up, and all the logistics are figured out. Now it’s time to start building some excitement! Putting up posters in the hallways, sending out emails to parents, and offering samples at Back to School Night are great places to start. But there is more that needs to be done to make sure that kids are excited to start selling and parents are excited to start buying!

Let’s start with the kids! How can you get your students excited to raise money over the fall season?

  1. Incentives! Incentives are the best way to get kids excited to fundraise. We suggest low-cost, fun experiences that let the class celebrate as a group and take a break from their normal routine. Some memorable and popular ideas we suggest are pizza parties, movie showings or dress-up or dress-down days. To keep up momentum, keep track of your progress throughout the fundraiser with charts in the hallway where each homeroom can mark their progress for all to see. For fun, unique incentive ideas check out a great list compiled by Believe Kids!
  2. Engaging lesson plans. Get kids excited to sell fairly traded foods by using our lesson plans. By connecting the fundraiser to what they are learning in class, it will take on greater meaning for them. Help draw the connection between small-scale farming communities and the things they see in the fundraising catalog with our videos, presentations and more. They can also take what they learned and use them as talking points when discussing the fundraiser with potential buyers!

And now to the parents. As we all know, parents are busy people, and sometimes important things (even your catalog fundraiser!) can get lost in the shuffle. Here’s how to keep parents engaged and ready to support your cause. 

  1. Show them how an Equal Exchange fundraiser is different. This isn’t your usual popcorn, artificial candy or cheap knickknacks! Be clear about what you’re offering: organic, fairly traded and truly delicious coffee, tea, chocolate and more — things they’ll be excited to try and share with friends and family.
  2. Emphasize the goal of your fundraiser. When parents know that their money is going toward a specific project, trip or resource, their participation in the fundraiser becomes more meaningful. Remind folks what you are working toward with every fundraising announcement. And don’t forget to follow up! When the fundraiser is over, make an announcement through social media, email or a letter to thank parents for participating and show them how the money was used and how much you raised. This will lay the groundwork for a great fundraiser the next year, too!

Interested in more ideas, or want to share your own? Email fundraising@equalexchange.coop or join our Facebook page for Equal Exchange Fundraising Coordinators! Good luck this fall!

How To Pack & Distribute Student Orders

Welcome to the last step of your school fundraiser! You’ve placed your master order, received your products and now: it’s time to pack and distribute orders to students. This may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Why not make it fun? Reserve a space, invite volunteers and bring your packing party supplies. Watch this short video to see how to efficiently set up your packing space, pack your orders in an organized way and get it all done while having fun. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Convincing Your Committee To Fundraise With Equal Exchange

The beginning of a new school year is a busy time for any parent. From adjusting back into your normal routine to making sure your kids are prepared for school, sports, and other extracurricular activities, it is guaranteed to get a bit overwhelming! Why not eliminate some of that stress by planning your fall fundraiser now? It is never too early to start! At your next PTA or committee meeting, pitch Equal Exchange’s fundraiser with these helpful tips:

1. Introduce the program in an exciting and engaging way.  How do you encourage your group to choose an Equal Exchange fundraiser instead of the boring popcorn, holiday gift wrap, or cookie dough fundraiser you normally run? Start by showing them our new video: Who We Are and What We Believe In. This will introduce your group to Equal Exchange and give them a better understanding of what we’re all about. Next, explain the unique benefits of fundraising with Equal Exchange by presenting this Prezi!

2. Have our fundraising catalog on hand. Bring our 2015-2016 catalog to the meeting so your group can get a better idea of the quality and variety of the products that we offer through our program. You can request a free catalog by filling out our prospect form, which can be found on the right hand side of our Fundraising page.

3. Share samples.  This is the most effective way to get the rest of your group on board. By having samples at the meeting, your committee can experience firsthand the incredible quality and delicious taste of our products. Brew a pot of our Mind, Body, and Soul Coffee and offer pieces of our Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt. Having samples available will make a huge difference!

For a limited time, we are offering a 50% discount on our Organic Foods Variety Pack! Shop here and use the code ORGANIC16 to access this discount.  

4. Bring the story behind the products to life. At the core of Equal Exchange is our relationship with small farmers. We work directly with over 40 small farmer co-operatives in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to bring you amazing products. This fundraiser is a meaningful, age-appropriate way to introduce or further educate your children on a multitude of issues, ranging from conscious consumerism to environmental sustainability. We have a variety of videos from our trips as well as different educational resources on our website, which can be found here. Show one or two of these resources to your committee to highlight the educational aspects of our program as well as to emphasize the impact that running a Fair Trade fundraiser will have on your local community and farming communities around the globe.

If you would like more ideas or support please give us a call at (774) 776-7366. We also recommend that you join our Facebook group, where you can share tips, questions, and best practices with other fundraising coordinators!