15 Best Environmentally Friendly Fundraising Ideas

Posted on September 19, 2017 | Last Updated On: July 14th, 2021 by

Many people like the idea of fundraising to find cash for a variety of good causes. For example, many parents and grandparents help their children to sell various goods and services to raise money for their school or activity.

But what if it is unsustainable products or services that are being sold to raise the funds? Many of us want to only fundraise when what is being sold is clean, green and environmentally sustainable. That is why we have compiled the list below of incredible ways to fundraise with some fantastic eco-friendly ideas. Whether you want to sell a product, organize an event or an activity, we have some great, eco-friendly ideas for you.


Reusable Shopping Bags

One of the best products to sell if you want to fundraise in an environmentally responsible way is to sell custom reusable shopping bags. Encouraging more Americans to use reusable shopping bags is a great way to both raise money and save the environment. Why?

Other popular reusable bag styles used by schools and organizations include custom laminated tote bags, custom non woven tote bags, custom canvas tote bags, custom recycled plastic tote bags and more.

Plastic shopping bags are one of the most environmentally unfriendly products on the market. They are seldom recycled, with less than 1% of such bags being recycled in the US. Plastic bags also are made from petroleum oil, and take as many as 1,000 years to decompose. And in terms of affecting animal life, plastic bags are the worst. It is estimated that one million birds, turtles, and various sea animals choke to death on plastic grocery bags.

Your school or organization can make a real statement on behalf of the environment by selling custom reusable shopping bags. They typically are made from eco-friendly materials such as hemp, cotton twill or ripstop nylon.

This is a really simple and environmentally friendly way to raise money. It is a great choice for cheerleading teams, sports teams, and various school clubs.


Can you get more eco-friendly than running a fundraiser that leads to trees being planted in environmentally sensitive areas? We didn’t think so! There are companies out there that will help you to market ‘tree gift cards’ for many types of fundraisers. Every card you sell means there is a tree planted in a US national forest.

Organic Seeds

A great product to sell in the spring months is organic herb and vegetable seeds. Brochures from companies that sell these organic products typically have individual heirloom seed packs as well as bundles of various seeds. There also are window ledge seed options for people to grow their own herbs and spices in their kitchen window.

Various Energy-Saving Products

There has been great progress made in the last decade in a huge assortment of energy-saving products on the consumer market. There are companies that sell many types of these products, such as compact fluorescent lightbulbs, power strips that save energy, LED holiday lights, and an assortment of water-saving products for the home.

Fair Trade Chocolate and Coffee

The coffee and cocoa business is frequently tied to the systematic exploitation of workers and severe environmental damage. Today, schools and many other nonprofit organizations are raising money for their activities by supporting coffee and cocoa farmers around the world.

Farmers who participate in the Fair Trade system work on a cooperative basis and are guaranteed to earn a fair wage for their nation of residence. This allows them to live a healthier life, which leads to a better community and environment in their area.

Chocolate companies routinely sell Fair Trade Certified chocolate from countries in Africa. Schools can purchase these chocolate bars at the wholesale cost, resell them at the retail price, and keep the difference for their group or organization. Selling this type of chocolate also ensures that it was grown in an environmentally responsible way, without genetic modifications, dangerous pesticides or fertilizers.

Also, some coffee companies sell 12 ounce bags of organic, Fair Trade coffees. These products are bought in bulk at a major discount and then are resold for retail price.


Hunger Games

This is a fun fundraiser that is environmentally responsible and can be adapted to the ages and skills of those involved. People pay an entry fee of a few dollars to participate.

Some of the skills competitions can include:

  • Trivia, such as questions from the Hunger Games movies
  • Archery
  • Paintball target shooting
  • Obstacle course
  • Food fight
  • Eating contests
  • Water balloon fight
  • Design contest

The proceeds of the event then can be donated to your cause.

Organic Fair

You can host either an indoor or outdoor organic fair that is a great way to bring attention to local businesses who feature organic products. There are many types of organic products that can be featured at your organic fair:

  • Beauty products
  • Cleaning products
  • Solar energy products
  • Electric cars
  • Fashion products
  • Foods

Cow Pie Bingo

This is an incredible, family-fun event where you sell raffle chances to accurately guess where the ‘cow pie’ will drop on a large field with cows that has been marked off with numbered squares. Obviously, waiting for the cow pie to drop involves quite a bit of standing around. So this fun activity makes sense to combine with other activities, such as a school carnival.

To attract more people, try having live music, a bounce house, games, eating events, pig kissing contest and more. Remember, the more you make the event, the more people will attend and buy raffle tickets for the big cow pie event!


Recycle Electronics Fundraiser

There are many types of electronics today that can be easily recycled for cash:

  • Cell phones
  • MP3 players
  • iPods
  • Laptops
  • PDAs

A nice thing about recycling small electronics: It can be a year round activity! Some schools and other organizations establish a drop off box so that people can put their recyclable electronics there whenever they like. There will continue to be a large supply of out of date electronics that need recycling year after year. There are plenty of companies out there to choose from that will accept and recycle these electronic devices.

Watershed Cleanup

If you care about the environment, try this great fundraising idea: Raise cash by participating in a community cleanup event. The idea is to get pledges from the community for a dime to a quarter per pound of the trash collected.

It is very common for creeks, rivers and lakes to become nasty dumping grounds for various junk. Keep in mind that you may run across large items, such as tires and washing machines. In that case, it is recommended to set a limit on what each person can pledge dollar wise. Many participants are able to get five or more pledges, so a $20 or so limit might work.

Earth Day

Earth Day is every April 22, and is a fine time to hold an eco-friendly fundraiser. As this is spring, it is a good move to sell various green-related items such as flower bulbs, seeds, saplings, organic fertilizer, much and much more. Try to work with local gardening suppliers to get them to deliver the bigger items, such as fertilizer, much and bags of soil.

Rubber Duck Race

This activity involves creating a floating rubber duck derby, where the numbered ducks float down a creek or stream to the finish. You can sell raffle tickets for $5 per duck and award cash or prizes to the first, second, third place finishers. In many of these events in the past, the minimum number of ducks was 3,000. Some schools may have more. Some students and schools make it a true family event with food, face painting, water balloon fights and other fun activities.

Collect Bottles and Cans

A simple way to raise money and to help the environment is to organize a neighborhood clean up in your area. Teams of students with adult supervision can comb streets and parks and look for aluminum cans and plastic bottles. These products can be bagged and taken to the local recycling center for a certain amount of cash per pound. This helps to clean the community, save energy and conserve our natural resources.

Rummage Sale

A good green idea is to repurpose a variety of consumer goods that would have gone to the landfill. All you need to do is get the word out in a few neighborhoods that you are holding a big yard sale at your school or church, with the proceeds going to your activity or organization. Then, arrange for a pickup service and/or a point for dropping off goods. Then, publicize the rummage sale on social media and neighborhood flyers. Students can even run the entire event, with some adult supervision.

Product Labels

There are many consumer products where you can collect labels and wrappers and trade them in for cash. Many elementary schools often organize a box tops program where box tops can be collected for 10 cents each.

Another option is Tyson Chicken product labels fundraisers; each label may be worth up to 24 cents, with schools able to raise as much as $12,000 per year.


About the Author

Douglas Lober Chief Product Specialist

Doug Lober is Co-Founder and Chief Product Specialist for ReuseThisBag.com. Lober is a passionate environmentalist with roots in the Southern California surf culture. Over the last 15 years, Lober has launched and supported a number of environmental initiatives around the land, sea, and air. Today, he continues to provide and support the use of eco-friendly promotional products for small, medium, and Fortune 500 companies. You can learn more about his extensive background in the industry on Linkedin.com, Quora.com, Instagram.com, Twitter and Alignable.com

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