5 Tips for Funding Your Campaign

Morgan June 1, 2018

Across the country, Fair Trade campaigns continue to organize and propel the Fair Trade movement forward in their communities, even when funding might be hard to come by. Campaigners get creative with free events and outreach activities, and collaborate with local organizations and businesses to support their Fair Trade advocacy. Here, we’re sharing suggestions, strategies and resources to help grow your campaign and keep the momentum going.

1. Partner with Organizations

When building relationships with other organizations, remember to focus on organizations that align with the values and ethics of your campaign. In doing this, you not only find the opportunity to help each other by splitting costs or labor, but you also have the opportunity to show the connectivity that Fair Trade has to other social justice issues.

Emma Willard Fair Trade partnered with UNICEF to collect notes from students to be placed in student mailboxes. The notes included both Fair Trade’s and UNICEF’s messages, supporting each organization’s goal of educational outreach. Emma Fair Trade is also forging new partnerships, one being with their school sustainability club, Emma Green, in the hopes of raising environmental awareness on campus through the dual lens of sustainability and Fair Trade.

Alternatively, get creative and focus on unlikely or unexpected partnerships! This can help to spread out the responsibilities of running a campaign, and will also provide an exciting opportunity to educate a new audience about Fair Trade. Although a group may characteristically be different from yours, their goals may match up with your campaign’s ultimate goal of helping others across the globe. Are you on a college campus, or in a college town? Try partnering with Greek organizations, or perhaps an athletic organization. Do you spearhead a Congregation campaign? Try partnering with local businesses during community events, or offer educational outreach events while you serve Fair Trade tea and coffee.

Remember, these partnerships must be mutually beneficial! When approaching a new organization about a potential partnership, clearly explain what’s in it for them. Whether you can offer volunteers, promotion, or new networking opportunities, demonstrate the value that your campaign brings to the table.

2. Partner with Brands

Partnering with a brand provides opportunity for growth and recognition for both your campaign and the brand you partner with. Make sure to target brands whose Fair Trade products would drive interest in your specific community. Consider various ways that people in your community can incorporate new Fair Trade products into their lives, and show them brands who can help them accomplish this.

When partnering with brands, it is important to professionally and politely request their support. Have a clear plan before reaching out to the brand. Introduce yourself and your campaign, outline what sort of support you’re seeking, and explain how showcasing their brand through a partnership with your campaign can benefit them. Remember, be flexible with your expected outcome! If you ask for a financial donation, be open to accepting a product donation or a marketing partnership. Be flexible and grateful for what they can provide, knowing that any little bit can help!

Ryan Midden, of Fair Trade Boston and Ben & Jerry’s, suggests focusing your ask on product donations. During his time working on Fair Trade Boston, Ryan never received monetary donations, but had great luck getting donated product. From the brand perspective, Ryan explains that providing this type of donation is easier for brands because you are helping them market their product. When asking for a donation, be prepared to explain to the brand how you would use the products, and how you’ll recognize their support.

3. Fundraise

Brainstorm fun fundraising events to host in addition to your usual campaign events! Host a Fair Trade bake sale, or a Fair Trade coffee hour. Events like this are fun, provide a tasty snack to guests, while also providing an educational opportunity.

Remember to look for wholesale options that Fair Trade brands have available to organizational groups to cut costs for these events. A few examples of brands who provide bulk discounts are Equal Exchange and Divine Chocolate, but you can also try and reach out to a brand’s sales team to request a wholesale account.

Several organizations and businesses offer Fair Trade-focused fundraising programs. Find a list of options, plus more fundraising ideas, in our guide to Fundraising with Fair Trade.

4. Grants & Scholarships

Do your research and see if there are scholarships or grants available in your local community. Check with your local government or stop into your town’s community center to see if there are any resources that they may provide.

If you are affiliated with a school, college or university, there may be additional funding resources available for student clubs and other campus groups. Talk to faculty and staff to see if they have any suggestions, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your school administration or financial aid office directly.

In March 2018, dozens of students obtained campus funding to attend the Fair Trade Campaigns National Conference. Check out the recommendations and resources we provided to help students find financial support, and adapt these tools for the project you’re working on!

5. Low and No Cost Campaigning

Fair Trade campaigning doesn’t have to be a costly project! Fair Trade Campaigns has dozens of free resources, and Fair Trade USA has free promotional materials (just pay shipping). And don’t forget to sign up for Fair Trade Campaigns’ annual programs, like Valentine’s Day and Fair Trade Finals, for event kits and other support.

Get creative! Manufacture your own materials and marketing tools to save on costs. Enlist volunteers to paint signage while your bond over Fair Trade chocolate and tea, or develop marketing materials using free online sources like Canva.com. As a Fair Trade campaign, you also have access to the Fair Trade Campaigns Branding and Style Guide which features usable templates, logos, and directive on how to incorporate the Fair Trade marketing style into your own campaign’s marketing.

Have participants bring their own materials to your event! Holding a tie-dying event using Fair Trade cotton? Have participants bring their own tie-dye colors and their own bags to carry away their shirts. Better yet, have them bring their own Fair Trade cotton t-shirts!

Have a passive fundraising strategy in place such as a donation collection jar, open a fundraising link using websites such as youcaring.com, or use services like Squarecash or Venmo so that anyone can provide a donation at any time!

Lastly, do not be afraid to ASK ASK ASK. Donations can be easy to come by if you share your message with stakeholders in your community. Always have your campaign in the back of your mind when speaking to local business owners, leaders and community influencers. You never know who might connect with the Fair Trade message!

As many campaigns have demonstrated, how you run your campaign and how successful your campaign becomes does not have to be based on how much funding you receive. Stay dedicated, stay passionate, stay focused, and your goals for your campaign will be achieved.

Looking for more information and tips? Check out some of our free resources, including our event guide, 101 guides, and Fair Trade film list. And remember, conversations are FREE. A few moments is all it takes to educate and ignite awareness.

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