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Service Learning Fundraising Ideas

In addition to general fundraisers: car washes and candy sales--that we are familiar with--I thought it would be important to implement cause-based fundraisers for this course. It feels important to choose something that relates to the mission of the course as well as gives back to others in some way. Here are a couple ideas we have used. This is still a work in progress, and I would love to hear if you have any other ideas! 


Wristband Sales

Equal Exchange Product Sales 

COMPASSION IT is a nonprofit and global social movement inspiring compassionate actions and attitudes. They help people to “compassion it” in their daily lives. This is an awesome idea to spread at schools and they have a fundraising program with their reversible bracelets...start your day in the dark side and when you choose to COMPASSION IT during the day, you can flip it to the light side. Find more info here

(Find more info on their curriculum here)

Equal Exchange is a product and catalog sales company that benefits farmers and artisans in developing countries. They partner with NGOs and local people to produce items that are beneficial to both the consumer and the creator. They will let you take items on consignment or use the catalog for pre-orders. They also have simple candy bar sales as well. Their customer service is very helpful and offers quick and thorough responses to questions. We did the catalog sales before the holidays which was successful.  

Goodwill Clothing Drive 

Goodwill offers a fundraising program for gently used items. They will come to your school on a weekend day and set up a drop off point where for each filled bin they will give your organization $50. The bins are not huge, but they do hold a lot of stuff so the key here is quantity. You will want to have your students collect from neighbors, friends and family if possible. If you can store items for a few weeks before the drive in order to offer pre-collection, that is best. Otherwise people are only able to drop off on the day of the drive and you will be at the mercy of their schedules. Have students make posters/flyers to hang around school beforehand and then at highly visible intersections near your campus on the day of the drive. Also utilize your school bulletin and other marketing outlets. Students will need to volunteer on the day of the drive as well. 

Other Ideas: 


Do you have any local volunteer agencies that offer volunteer training for teens? We have a local agency that charges teens $10 for an hour long seminar for a "VolunTEEN" certification that participants can list on resumes and applications. I asked them if they would teach the training on our campus and split the proceeds with Service Learning. They did so and it was mutually beneficial for both organizations. Having the training on our campus offered them a larger audience, and this is an easy fundraiser for my students and I organize. 


I add a "We Could use These Types of Supply Donations" section to my syllabus. Parents sent items such as wrapping paper and blank cards that we were able to put to good use for various projects. We also completed a rummage sale this past year which was very successful. Every student had to bring a kitchen sized trash bag of items to donate as "homework" and then many communities members donated as well. We did it in our school parking lot on a Sunday morning. 


Ask if any of your students have parents with jobs or companies who could provide supplies? For example, one student's parent owns a printing press and was able to do some banners for us. 


Students and parents, when socio-economically able, are willing to purchase their own project supplies. I was shy to ask at first, but I realized some of my time could be freed up for more important tasks when I let go of some of the fundraising tasks and just asked others to pitch in. 


Consider what projects can you do for free or have them underwritten? For example, there is a church near our campus that sponsors a food program for a local low/no cost after school program. If we cook dinner for the kids, they will reimburse my class for the groceries and supplies. 

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