Fresh Produce Fundraiser

spring_produceLooking for a fresh idea for your spring fundraiser? Turn over a new leaf with a a selection of the season’s fruits and vegetables picked fresh from a farm near you. February and early March is the perfect time to book your fresh produce fundraiser to take advantage of spring crops like asparagus, greens, and herbs.

FarmRaiser can have your healthy fundraiser set up in less than a day. You get a customized online farmers’ market, our mobile app, a parent letter, marketing material, and easy-to-read reports that make distribution a snap.
Fresh produce fundraisers with a local farmer, CSA, or home produce delivery service are:
   1 – Effective: everyone needs produce, and we work with farmers to bring you the season’s best at great prices.
  2 – Educational: produce fundraisers are a great way to teach kids about where their food comes from, and how to eat healthy.
  3 – Sustainable: choosing to sell local farm products helps keep your food system resilient and your local economy strong.
  4 – Healthy and Delicious: the best way to get kids to eat vegetables is to serve them great-tasting farm-fresh produce.  Or you could cover it in cheese and butter — either way, you’re in for a treat.
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Higher Grounds is a Certified B Corporation

February 12, 2016 / All / Comments: 0

We wanted to share the good news about FarmRaiser partner, Higher Grounds Trading Company — just achieved their B Corporation Certification. The B in B Corp stands for benefit, and certification means that Higher Grounds holds their business to an exacting (and verified) standard of social, environmental, and legal accountability. Read more on their blog below:

When we first learned about the nonprofit B Lab and their work to build a global community of like-minded organizations called “certified B Corporations” who meet “the highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability,” we were immediately intrigued. Higher Grounds has always been committed to those very values, and pursuing the opportunity to engage with others who shared those values seemed like a no-brainer.

Source: Higher Grounds is a Certified B Corporation

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How to get great products for your FarmRaiser

February 12, 2016 / All / Comments: 1
fresh product
In some locations,  there are dozens of FarmRaiser producer partners with a complete range of healthy, local products for your fundraising sale. In others . . . maybe not so much. To see which businesses are active in your state, visit our producer-partner directory here. If you don’t find the farmer or artisan whose products you’d like to sell in your fundraiser, you can send us an email with their name and contact information, and we will reach out — or you can simply write them an email, using our template below.  We’ve found that 9 out of 10 producers will sign up as FarmRaiser partners once they understand the benefits for them
Hi Kristen,
I’m writing because    (organization name)    is hosting a FarmRaiser, to raise money for (details on what you’re doing). A FarmRaiser is a new kind of fundraiser where we sell healthy local products through their online farmers market and app — we can sell just about anything that is healthy and locally produced, and we would love to make your (product name (s) available for sale in our FarmRaiser! People in our community love your products because  (reasons why they are worth buying), and as a group, we want our money to support local businesses in our community. Learn more about growing your business with FarmRaiser
This is not a request for donation, but an opportunity to help reinvent the product fundraising industry while gaining customers and supporting your community. If you join the FarmRaiser Partner network, not only will we be able to sell your products in our fundraiser, other schools, bands, teams, and causes in our community will be able to select you as their preferred supplier for their FarmRaiser, which could result in hundreds of new customers for your business.  If you have questions, please email FarmRaiser’s Chief Cultivator, Lauren Smith (or call her at 571-279-8873). We’re really excited about being able to fundraise in a way that recognizes and strengthens our local food system and I would love for you to be a part of it.
Locally yours,

Copy and paste it into your email program, customize it and make it yours . .. or simply call the the business and explain, many will sign up while you are on the phone. Once a business has signed up, they will receive our complete guide to adding products, merchandising, and selling on the FarmRaiser platform, and you will be able to start your healthy fundraiser with your dream products.

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FarmRaiser Success Story: Tutu’s Pantry at Stevens Elementary Seattle

February 11, 2016 / All / Comments: 0

No kid should have to go hungry. See how FarmRaiser helped Tutu’s Pantry create a healthy fundraising campaign to fight weekend hunger at Stevens Elementary School in Seattle.

THE CAUSE: Each week, Tutu’s Pantry at Steven’s Elementary School provides backpacks with a weekend’s worth of kid-friendly, easy-to-prepare meals for children who need it. The program sources most of its food through targeted food-drives but requires money to shop for items when donations run low. –> Download the Case Study Here

Looking for more resources, ideas, and support for your healthy fundraising effort, our blog has plenty of resources and ideas to help. Want to get started with your own campaign, sign up here for free account. 

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Thaw. Learn. Grow — February 2016


plant early to harvest fundraising success

February is full of promise. While winter still holds us firmly in its grasp, the days start getting longer, and plants begin preparing for spring. Soon bold bulbs will peek above the cold and sodden ground, and overwintered crops will extend their first tentative green leaves, setting the stage for spring growth.  Now’s the time to plan our gardens, selecting seeds that will determine what we harvest throughout the year.

In February we also celebrate the Lunar New Year, Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, American Heart Month, Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent (and more). Each celebration provides an opportunity to connect with our communities, culture, faith, traditions, and families.

FarmRaiser can help you create authentic fundraisers around these traditions–as fundraisers, advocates for healthy food, and educators– instead of dressing up the same old fundraising appeals in a seasonal story. This issue of the Cultivator is about how to create the real deal, using the FarmRaiser platform–and we actually do sell garden seeds now from High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont!

If you’re ready to bring authenticity, connection and education to your organization’s spring fundraising efforts, read on, send us an email, or sign up for a free FarmRaiser account, and start planting the seeds to greater health and wealth in your community.

Locally Yours,

Mark W. Abbott Founder and CEO

“My father taught me that the fate of a seed can be predicted by the health of the soil where it takes root. This is true of summer crops. It can be true, in another sense, of people. We all need a healthy environment and a community that lets us fulfill our potential.”— Will Allen, urban farmer, author, retired professional basketball player, and MacArthur genius grant recipient.

Will Allen and the Growing TableIdeas for Creating Authentic Fundraisers with Themes, Books, and Local Businesses
Imagine you are a politician campaigning to create more jobs in America, and then you get your campaign t-shirts and yard signs printed in Hong Kong– how long do you think it would take before someone noticed, and called you on it? Now imagine you are raising money for a sports team or school gardening club that promotes health, fitness and connection to nature and you were selling candy bars.

FarmRaiser offers you three ways to create harmony between your fundraiser and your cause:
1. Add a thematic and educational element with books.  For instance, you can celebrate Black History Month with a book about pro-basketballer-turned-urban-farmer Will Allen, who has inspired a new generation of youth in Milwaukee and around the country to connect with food and farming. See the whole catalog of Readers to Eaters educational books here

2. Choose fundraising products to reflect the season: Try a Valentines-themed Fundraiser with a home-made meal kit, artisan dark chocolate, or a trip to local restaurant that your supporters (and their sweethearts) will be shopping for anyway. Another great winter or spring fundraising idea is a seed sale (see below).

3. Support the businesses that support your community: Local businesses are a cornerstone of every community — they provide jobs and opportunities and they create a unique character and flavor that makes the place you call home special. They also depend on you as a customer. When you sell local products in a fundraiser, the whole community benefits, and people are more likely to know about it and support it.

Sign up for your Free FarmRaiser account and get started today. 

If you’re ever need some inspiration or ideas for your next healthy real-deal fundraiser, stop by our blog. We’ve got dozens of posts, hints, tips and tricks to help you get the most from your fundraiser.

7 Reasons we Love Seeds Fundraising

High Mowing Seed Fundraiser

If you’re looking for an idea for a high-profit, easy, and healthy winter fundraiser, we have some great news for you: FarmRaiser has just partnered with High Mowing Organic Seeds to bring their seed fundraising catalog to your school, band, team or cause. Reach your fundraising goals by offering the highest quality, 100% certified organic and Non-GMO Project Verified seeds to your supporters and customers.

Seed fundraising is easy to do, can be set up very quickly, can be done anywhere in the country, and deliver high profits — read our blog post on 7 Reasons we Love Seeds Fundraising for the full story on how seeds can deliver the results you need to support your cause.

One secret to a great gardening and great fundraising is to get started early — now is the perfect time to plan your Spring FarmRaiser — Sign up, or Login today, and prepare for successful harvest.

A Trove of Ideas and Resources 
We’ve been hard at work this winter, moving our anecdotal experience and knowledge onto our blog. If you’re looking for tips for organizing an effective fundraiser, help merchandising your products on the FarmRaiser platform, or a collection of ideas for your next fundraising effort. Some posts we’d like to highlight:

We welcome your ideas and contributions in our comments sections — thanks for your help in creating a new generation of healthy, sustainable fundraising.


Start a campaign

Supply a campaign 

Learn more about us

Got news you’d like to share with FarmRaiser? We want to hear about it! Write it in the commenTweet to @FarmRaiser or email us at 


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Handbook for your Healthy Fundraiser

healthy fundraising guide

With instructions on everything from selecting and merchandising products and setting up your account, to managing volunteers, writing letters to supporters, and activating your student champions, the FarmRaiser  Fundraising Campaign Organizers Guide is an indispensable resource for first-time or veteran fundraisers. If you’re like me, the email with our guide to hosting your healthy fundraiser with FarmRaiser is buried under 2,732 emails in your inbox.

So, here’s your permanent link to our fundraising handbook: download it here

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Healthy Fundraising with FarmRaiser

How to talk to your friends about Healthy Fundraising

Ready to kick off your healthy fundraising campaign with FarmRaiser, but maybe the rest of your committee, group or PTO/PTA is not? If you want to quickly explain how organizations can raise money, support local farmers and artisans, and connect kids with healthy food, we’ve created some materials for our partner organizations to share with their networks, and for individuals who are interested in trying a healthy fundraiser at their school, nonprofit, church or athletic organization. You can download them, or simply fill out our referral form here, and we’ll reach out to them directly.

2016 School and Organizer Brochure

If you know someone at a school or non-profit, who might be interested you can share this link, add it to your web site, or simply download and print it out to share with your fundraising committee, coaches, teachers and others who are involved with fundraising at your school

FarmRaiser-organizer- brochure-2016

2015 FarmRaiser Video Introduction to FarmRaiser

If you want to share a multi-media introduction to healthy fundraising with FarmRaiser, here’s our video, featuring the incredibly energetic and dedicated staff, students and parents of Hemingway Elementary.



2016 Introductory Presentation

For an in-person presentation, you can download our introduction to FarmRaiser here: Healthy Fundraising with FarmRaiser. If you want to create your own, or customize it for a particular audience, drop us a line, and we’ll send you the original PowerPoint file.



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What if I Don’t Want Champs in my FarmRaiser?

Hi there! Lauren, your Chief Cultivator here! Congrats on being a current or future FarmRaiser organizer, aka one of the cool kids. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want individual students, organization members, staff, etc. (called Champs) to sell in your FarmRaiser. If not, your campaign will consist of one web market from which all customers will make purchases.

I personally encourage as much champ participation in FarmRaisers as possible. However, there are instances in which web-only sales are the best fit, and when properly executed, they work great. This decision is critical in determining the success of your FarmRaiser, so before you decide, let me share the key takeaways we’ve gathered from the 100+ FarmRaisers we’ve completed.

Takeaway 1: Sales are almost always more successful when champs sell. The reason behind this is simple: when champs sell, they expose their friends, family, and networks to FarmRaiser, resulting in more customers. As proof, every FarmRaiser that’s cleared $10,000 has included champs. Not only can champs share the link to their custom market (complete with an adorable profile picture) with supporters, they can also use our app for face to face sales. Champs add a personal touch and added manpower to your FarmRaiser that can be difficult to compensate for in a web-only campaign.

Takeaway 2: Web-only sales can be very successful when hosted by schools or orgs with 1) a culture of community-supported fundraising; 2) GREAT email lists; and 3) a commitment to stay engaged with those lists and networks throughout the campaign. Supporters need to be constantly reminded and encouraged to purchase products. McGilvra Elementary and Stevens Elementary in Seattle are great examples of successful web-only campaigns; organizers and staff at both schools promoted their FarmRaisers extensively before the start date and communicated constantly with parents and community supporters via email, newsletters, letters home, and social media throughout the campaign. They’re on their third year of FarmRaising, and each campaign is better than the last.


Useful Questions:

If you think hosting a web-only FarmRaiser is the right choice for your school/org, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to make sure:

  1. Have parents, community members, and other supporters in our area been receptive and supportive of fundraisers in the past? If the culture is there, the chances your web-only campaign will be successful greatly increase.
  2. Do I have the tools I need to properly publicize and promote FarmRaiser? This includes having access to great email lists (not just your own personal contacts list and Facebook account), school/org social media accounts, and other communication tools like newsletters, emails to parents, etc.
  3. Do I have the support I need to make our FarmRaiser successful? Web-only campaigns (and campaigns in general, for that matter) are successful when there is buy-in from teachers, parents, PTA, staff members, etc. These folks are critical in the continual promotion of your FarmRaiser, especially when champs aren’t selling.
  4. Are my helpers and I willing to stay engaged with our FarmRaiser for the duration of the campaign? An email and a Facebook post on your start date won’t cut it. Especially when students aren’t selling, organizers and their team members need to be ready to promote their sale in every way they can, to everyone they can, as much as they can.

Once you figure out the best fit for your school or organization, we’re here to help! Check out our tips for sales with champs here and our tips for web-only campaigns here. If you have ANY questions or need help deciding which is the best fit for your campaign, shoot me an email or give me a call at 571-279-8873.

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Cheat Sheet for Champs: Increase Sales and Hit Your Goal!

Hey there, FarmRaiser Champ! Check out the tips below for some quick ways to increase sales for your fundraiser. If you have any other tips that have worked for you, feel free to add them in the comments section!

1) If you’re not using the app, download it from iTunes or Google Play and get started! You can sell face-to-face with the app and take cash or check payments in addition to credit cards. Take a stroll with your family through your neighborhood and see if your neighbors would like to buy some healthy local products to support you! Parents, our app is also a great way to make quick sales to coworkers.

2) If you haven’t already, share the link to your market with everyone you know who might like to support you. Share via email, social media, texting, or even ask Mom or Dad to pull your market up on a tablet or computer at work and encourage their coworkers to buy something. When you share your link, include a personal note explaining why you’re selling these products and how they help the community. If you have questions about getting to your personal market link, email your Cultivator and we’ll get it to you ASAP!

3) If you haven’t already, log in to your champion account and upload a profile picture! It will show up when you share your market link, personalizing your FarmRaiser and further encouraging supporters to donate.

4) Encourage out-of-town supporters to make a donation or buy a community basket! Both are easy ways for them to support your fundraiser without needing to buy an actual product.

5) Remind friends to register and start selling! The more champions who are selling, the easier it will be to hit your goal!

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Tips for a Successful Web-Only Campaign

Ready to make your web-only FarmRaiser blow up? Here are some helpful tips to publicize and promote your sale!

  1.  Start publicizing your FarmRaiser in advance–let parents, community members, and other supporters know it’s coming (and what products you’re selling!) by putting up flyers, making an announcement on social media, talking about it in your school/org’s newsletter, etc. Don’t forget to include WHY you’re hosting a FarmRaiser–the products you’re selling are exciting, but what’s really awesome is raising money for your cause. A true win-win!
  2.  If you haven’t already, recruit several people to help you promote your FarmRaiser both before and while the campaign is happening. These might be fellow parents/PTA members, select teachers, or staff members. Try creating a mini-editorial calendar with assignments for each person so you know exactly when your FarmRaiser is getting publicized on social media, in the school newsletter, in a press release, etc. We know from experience that your campaign will not be successful if you only send out one or two emails. Supporters need to be reminded and updated o frequently to ensure success. You can’t talk about it enough.
  3.  If you can, host a kickoff event where you tell as many people as possible about what you’re supporting with your fundraising proceeds and the products you’re selling. Talk with your Cultivator about getting some samples of products for the meeting as well. Make sure to have at least one computer or tablet available at the kickoff so that supporters can make their purchases right there!
  4.  Tag the producers who are supplying your campaign in all social media posts so it shows up on their pages.
  5.  Send students home with a letter about your FarmRaiser. Make sure to include the link to it in big, bold letters. 
  6.  Select a few folks to register and sell from the app. Even though you’re not having everyone register, even a few dedicated folks selling face to face to their friends, coworkers, etc. can drastically increase sales.
  7.  Ask your school’s administration to remind students and teachers about the FarmRaiser and update them on how much as been raised at least a couple of times a week. Have teachers keep extra copies of a letter that includes an explanation of your FarmRaiser and the link to it, just in case kids need extra.
  8.  Post a flyer at your workplace with the link to your FarmRaiser so that coworkers can support you.
  9.  Ask the front office of your school or organization to leave your market pulled up on a tablet or computer (ideally with a sign that says “SUPPORT OUR FARMRAISER HERE! or something to that effect) so that anyone who enters will be prompted to support you.
  10.  Post a countdown on social media during the last week of your campaign, and/or email the countdown to parents if that’s appropriate.
  11.  PUSH HARD the last few days of the campaign–social media posts, email blasts, letters home, etc. Well-meaning supporters will often wait till the last minute to support a campaign and then accidentally miss the cut-off date.
  12.  After your sale ends, write a heartfelt thank you and summary of the campaign to your supporters (FarmRaiser provides this list). This will help develop a culture around FarmRaiser in your community.
  13. On Distribution Day, take pictures and post to social media, include in newsletter, etc. Talk to a few folks and get some quotes from on re: the products they received and why they supported your FarmRaiser. When people see the great products they missed out on, they’ll be sure to support you in the future.

If you want more ideas or want to brainstorm about other ways to publicize the sale, post questions in the comments section below, or  email your Cultivator!

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