Strength in Numbers

Sarah August 28, 2018

All of you Fair Trade campaigners out there you know that gaining and keeping members and volunteers involved with  your campaign is crucial to your success. Here at Fair Trade Campaigns, we’ve thought of a few tips to help you do this!

Passion as a Motivator 

A key strategy to keep in mind as you seek out others to help start or continue a campaign is to look for people’s passions and then use their skills to strengthen your campaign. People will work harder at the things they care the most about! Assemble your team and divide the work based on their skills and interests. This will distribute the work evenly and make your events much more effective and efficient.  


When it comes to recruiting, try to draw people in by finding common ground. If you’re in a town that is known for a certain product, like chocolate, find out if local companies are sourcing Fair Trade cocoa. Say your campus specializes in social justice, see if they would be interested in holding events, like panels, to discuss how to align the Fair Trade movement and their ambitions.  

Building Your Network 

Businesses and other organizations are going to be necessary to attaining your designation. Whether sourcing Fair Trade products or creating a network to increase your outreach, seeking out local partnerships will strengthen your campaign. Do a quick search of Fair Trade near you and reach out. Don’t be afraid to ask! We are a community with a common goal and are always willing to help. Plus, partnerships can help everyone involved by raising awareness about their organization or business.

Resources for Your Campaign

Sustainable Leadership 101
Sustainable Leadership 201
Connecting Campaigns Across Campaign Types
Event Guide: Fair Trade Fashion Show

DePaul University Fair Trade – A Case Study in Building Partnerships 

Any campaign knows that your Fair Trade community is your best friend. They can connect you to larger networks, help you coordinate events, and teach you the tricks of the trade.

At DePaul University’s Fair Trade campaign, they increased the impact of their events and multiplied their membership base by talking with organizations in their area and requesting certain products to showcase. In the spring, the campaign hosts an annual Fashion Revolution event where they gather Fair Trade clothing and jewelry from the different businesses and showcase it in a runway.  

Chicago Fair Trade – A Case Study in Volunteerism 

Chicago Fair Trade (CFT) is a non-profit coalition that partners with large networks socially and environmentally conscious retailers, wholesalers, and colleges in the city of Chicago.

Making use of your volunteer base is essential, and certainly something CFT has practiced. Volunteers can come from any age and any background and are a main component of an organization’s success. Never put a task past a volunteer because you’re unsure if it’s too difficult. Give them chances to grow and learn and eventually you’ll grow from it too! Use their on the ground insight for events because they will know what will draw people in. Sometimes, for those of us with our heads constantly buried in Fair Trade, it’s easy to reel in others like us but harder to connect with people with less experience. Listen to their interests, passions, and frustrations and you will locate that spark.

One example of CFT’s wonderful volunteers supporting an amazing event was their annual World Fair Trade Day in 2018. Gathering on Michigan Avenue, they held a large fashion runway, vendor fair, parade, and much more!

Here is our call to action for you. Fair Trade’s strength lies in our volunteers, our fans, our members, retailers, organizations, and the list goes on. Each of us are a working component to uphold the larger picture. Use the talents of those who volunteer or have joined your organization because their passion will highlight our main goal: to form partnerships, not just booming businesses. Too many people exist on this planet for us to ignore our neighbors next door and across the hemispheres. One purchase at a time we alter the world and give futures, education, food, and stability to families worldwide.    

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