Featured Do-Gooder: Equal Exchange Fundraising

From time to time Smart Green Tips will feature an organization that is a “Do-Gooder”: a group that works to help both people and the environment. The Do-Gooders may be companies, nonprofits, or any organized group that focuses its efforts on making the world a better place.

Need to do a fundraiser with your school or church group, but tired of selling candles, wrapping paper, and other overpriced items people don’t really need or want? For an entirely different fundraising experience, I encourage you to try Equal Exchange.

Equal Exchange is a Fair Trade Co-op, which means that fair wages are guaranteed to the farmers who produce the products they sell. From the Equal Exchange website:

As a Fair Trade and organic fundraiser, Equal Exchange’s fundraising program is an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional fundraisers. Organic farming practices ensure no chemicals or pesticides were used in the production of Equal Exchange products, protecting farmers who grow the products, the surrounding environment, birds and other wildlife, and consumers. Coffee in particular grows best in a shaded environment. Fair Trade principles also encourage environmentally sustainable farming practices so that farmers are able to remain on their land and enjoy productive harvests. Additionally, many of our farmer partners are involved in reforestation efforts, diversification projects, and other environmentally sustainable projects within their communities. Equal Exchange fundraising materials are printed on 100% post-consumer waste paper.

There are a variety of items available in their Fundraising Brochure: coffees, teas, hot cocoa, baking cocoa, chocolates, nuts, and dried cranberries.

In the Fall of 2008 I did a fundraiser through Equal Exchange with a group of teenagers and couldn’t have had a better experience. There are several reasons why I think this is the way to go for any fundraiser.

Their products are consumable. People don’t have to worry about cluttering up their homes with more stuff. Also, it allows them to replace items they would buy anyway with products that are socially and environmentally responsible.

The profit margin is excellent. Based on my experience with other fundraisers in the past, Equal Exchange provides the best opportunity for your group to make money while helping a worthy cause.

The quality of the products is outstanding. I purchased nearly one of everything offered in the fundraising catalog and I was impressed with all of them. I am a coffee and tea lover and these products are some of the best I’ve had. Our “customers” agreed.

Their website provides a wealth of educational materials. Equal Exchange makes it easy to educate your sales group and your customers about the importance of Fair Trade and organic goods.

The support and customer service are great. From the very beginning of our project, Ruthie helped us along. She answered questions, offered suggestions, and followed up to make sure everything went well for us. Once I placed the order, we received our products within days. The turnaround was amazing.

I should note that I am not being paid by Equal Exchange for this article. I really do believe they are a great company with a great mission. This is a fundraiser I feel good about. The teens I worked with felt good about it, too, and were excited by the opportunity to help the farmers.

If your group needs to raise funds, please consider Equal Exchange. You can find out more about their fundraising program here.

If you are a religious group and would like to raise money, you can get more information by emailing their Interfaith Program at interfaith@equalexchange.coop.


  1. Nice post. You might be interested to check out http://www.terracycle.net. They seem to fit your do-gooder profile.

  2. Thanks, Cara. Check out my post on Terracycle here: http://www.smartgreentips.com/2009/01/16/featured-do-gooder-terracycle/

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