Do I have to sell junk food to raise money this year? As the first day of school approaches, teachers, administrators and parent volunteers across the country may find themselves wrestling with this question. For years, candy bars, tubs of cookie dough, and pizza kits have been the “go to” for school fundraisers. These highly-processed products are full of empty calories, are low in nutritional value, and go against everything we are trying to teach our children about healthy eating. In fact, most of these products would be illegal to sell in schools under the federal Smart Snacks nutritional requirements, if the industry lobbyists hadn’t managed to sneak an exception into the legislation. The final insult of junk-food fundraising is that a big chunk of the sales price goes to out-of-state or foreign corporations, taking money out of the local economy and hurting local businesses.
So, what are some healthy school fundraising options? If you’ve had enough junk-fundraisers and are ready for a new, healthy way to raise money for your school or organization, we’re here to help. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. FarmRaiser’s Healthy Local Food Fundraiser. Our core mission is to connect local farms and food artisans with student fundraisers, keeping 85% of the money in the local economy, and helping you teach students to be champions of healthy, local eating. FarmRaiser champions are not miniature salespeople–they’re informed advocates for eating healthy, local food who connect your supporters to amazing local products. Get started here.
2. Fun Run, Move-a-thon, or Read-a-thon. With pledge-based fundraisers like walk-a-thons or read-a-thons, kids don’t sell products at all. Supporters donate money in return for a pledge from a student to exercise or read for a certain time or amount. Email us to learn how you can use FarmRaiser’s easy online platform and mobile apps to support your pledge-based fundraiser, by making it easy and convenient for your supporters to make pledges, and for your student champions to collect donations.
3. Community Service Projects. Raise money for your cause by helping those less fortunate in your town with FarmRaiser Community Baskets. When students sell Community Baskets, FarmRaiser will purchase surplus fresh fruit and veggies for local food banks and return a portion of price to the school. In a community basket fundraiser every $20 cash donation typically provides 10 pounds of fresh produce for the foodbank and up to $15 to your school’s cause. Students receive certified community service hours for participating.
4. Healthy cookbook fundraiser. Make a collection of favorite healthy recipes from families in your community. You can either put the cookbook together yourself or have a company do it for you. Make sure to stress that, while homemade cookies and candy are great, you’re collecting healthy recipes. Maybe even throw a party to celebrate the publication of the cookbook where students bring dishes their families contributed!
5. Hold a silent auction or Pop-up farmers market at your next parent event. Auctions are great ways to keep your fundraising profitable and healthy. Local businesses are often willing to donate their products to support your cause and raise their profiles in the community. Don’t forget to include healthy, family-friendly options like mini-golf passes or trips to local farms for berry picking. If you’re interested in FarmRaiser contributing local produce to your auction, email us and we’ll talk you through some of the different ways we can help.