Many charities and nonprofits raise money by selling goods. However, many don’t consider the potential dark side to this form of fundraising—promoting products that are harmful to the earth and people.
Animal conservation nonprofits make the mistake of selling stuffed animals made in sweatshops with polyester fabric that will never break down. Parent-Teacher Associations sell chocolates that have been made from cacao grown via child slave labor. When you’re raising money for your organization, you want to better the world overall, not just raise funds for your cause.
Fundraising with organic and Fair Trade goods helps to ensure the greater good is served. While you earn money to support your organization, you’ll also be supporting workers’ rights, environmental conservation, and educating your donors about an overall better way to shop. Read on to discover the importance of going organic and choosing Fair Trade, and why integrating these products into your next fundraising campaign is crucial.
Align Your Product Offerings with Your Values
Donor360 recognizes the potential in connecting charities, nonprofits, and organizations to the booming eCommerce industry. We also know that to make the biggest and best impact, it’s important to pay attention to the details. This means ruling out brands, companies, and products that don’t align with the vision to create a better world for all.
Fundraising with organic and Fair Trade goods benefits your organization by providing a high-quality, sought-after product your donors will love, but the value doesn’t stop there. Choosing to promote these products helps to continue advances towards global, fair living wages, safe and consensual work environments, conservation of wildlife, and less pollution of the Earth.
Organic Products Helps Preserve Earth’s Resources
Currently, around 50% of the Earth’s ice-free surface is designated for agricultural purposes. The resulting deforestation has lasting impacts on plant and animal populations as well as devastating long-term, (sometimes permanent,) changes to soil composition. Conventional agricultural practices rely on toxic fertilizers and pest control substances that quickly disperse to surrounding land and water sources.
With our Earth’s green spaces rapidly disappearing - plant and animal diversity along with them - there has never been a more important time to go organic. Selecting products that are USDA certified organic ensures that their producers maintain or enhance the natural areas they use through practices like crop rotation, mechanical or hand-weeding, and use of natural fertilizers and pesticides. Organic farming methods greatly reduce the risk of water and soil contamination, soil erosion, and the destruction of fragile ecosystems associated with conventional farming methods.
Organic Product Spotlight - Equal Exchange Coffee
Conventional coffee production often utilizes specially modified, hybrid coffee plants that survive in the sun, making harvesting faster and easier. This need to produce more, faster, leads to the clearing of forests which destroys animal habitats and makes the entire area susceptible to irreversible soil erosion.
Equal Exchange, one of the eco-minded brands you’ll find in the Donor360 product catalog, is dedicated to creating organic, Fair Trade coffee. They are an entirely worker-owned co-op that believes in honoring each employee’s vote and voice in the quest for a better cup of coffee. Equal Exchange is now one of the largest democratic worker co-operatives in the US.
Their coffee is grown as nature intended - in forested areas instead of on cleared land, allowing plant and animal species to continue life as usual. Soil stays in place and biologically diverse as the forest’s ecosystem is not threatened by erosion or toxic chemicals.
Support Fair Trade
Farmers that produce some of the world's most popular goods, from bananas to cotton, struggle to make enough to feed their families. For example, despite chocolate being one of the most highly traded commodities in the world, the average cacao farmer earns less than $1.00 a day, with some female farmers earning as little as $0.23 per day. This is far below the extreme global poverty line of $1.90. Out of desperation, this leads farms to cut corners on safety and quality measures and even opt for child or slave labor to continue operation.
Fair Trade standards mandate that farmers are not only paid a fair living wage but also ensure that farmers receive a premium to reinvest in social, economic, and environmental projects that can further benefit their businesses and communities. This vital capital can go towards new equipment, educational programs, or diversification of income. From 2016-2021 the annual income of Ivorian Fair Trade cocoa farmers grew 85%, and the number of farmers living above the extreme poverty line increased from 42% to 61%.
Fair Trade Product Spotlight - TCHO Chocolate
One of the Fair Trade chocolate brands you’ll find in the Donor360 catalog is TCHO. Through their program, TCHO Source, they work directly with chocolate farmers to get Fair Trade chocolate and help farmers develop better practices.
Many chocolate farmers have never tried the chocolate that comes from their own cacao beans. TCHO Source provides equipment and training for chocolate growers to continually produce better-tasting cacao. This helps them create continuity and growth in their businesses. Because these farmers get paid Fair Trade prices or better, they can pay their workers fair wages and continue the cycle of growth and investment.
We love this brand for its versatile and diverse chocolate bars. We recommend trying one of their six-packs, where you can try a little bit of everything.
Elevate Your Organization, Your Donors, and the World
Fundraisers on Donor360 are good all-around—good for your organization, good for your cause, good for the earth, and good for people.. Offering your donors high-quality products that come from thoughtful, fair origins feels better and does more for the world. By choosing organic and Fair Trade products for your next fundraising campaign, you can rest assured you are promoting brands that align with your wish and ours: to see the world a better place.
Ready to start your first Ethical eCommerce Fundraiser? Sign up here—it’s totally free! Just pick your products and start sharing your fundraiser.
Need more help? Get in touch with our fundraising synergist and storyteller email@example.com.