School fundraisers have earned a mixed reputation.
Fundraising is a powerful tool that allows students to select and support causes they believe in, fund new opportunities, clubs, sports teams, and events, deepen their connections to their community, and develop valuable organization and leadership skills. For example, in 2019 public schools across Ontario raised over $583 million for charities, improving school resources and infrastructure, and funding student opportunities.
However, many of the fundraising options readily available to students include sugary or highly-processed foods. In fact, 80% of fundraising organizations offer candy as a sales product, leaving schools to struggle with the mixed-messaging of promoting sustainability and healthy lifestyles while also filling backpacks with plastic-wrapped candy bars. Parents then find themselves bringing home boxes of unhealthy, cheaply packaged goods just to support their child’s latest initiative.
At a time when young people are increasingly anxious about the health and wellbeing of our planet, and one third of Canadians rank climate change as the most important issue facing our country, it’s no wonder traditional fundraisers leave a sour taste.
Low Impact ≠ No Impact
In response to the outcry for greener alternatives, more ‘eco-conscious’ fundraising products have popped up in recent years including reusable water bottles, metal straws, and beeswax food wraps.
While this is certainly a step in the right direction, let’s look at the lifecycle of these products more closely. They still need to be manufactured, which is a resource and energy intensive process. They must be shipped to the schools, which involves carbon emissions from transportation and delivery. Schools need to order large quantities to meet a minimum order threshold, and are left with wasteful duplicates if any remain unsold. Finally, even if used for many years, these products almost always end up in landfills. Despite being greener alternatives, eco-products are by no means zero-impact.
So what’s the answer?
Grow Forests with Every Fundraiser
Smart Forest Fundraising is a first-of-its-kind fundraising opportunity that allows schools, classes, and clubs to fundraise for their initiatives, with every seedling purchase growing a healthy, biodiverse forest across Canada.
How it works: You digitally sell tree seedlings and Canada’s Forest Trust uses those seedlings to procure, prepare, plant, preserve and protect a healthy forest in Canada. A portion of every seedling sale is also used for the fundraising initiative of your choosing.
All the fundraising is done digitally and securely through a custom fundraising platform, so there is zero waste, zero plastic, no shipping required, and no unsold goods to deal with. Plus, it helps you reach net-zero carbon emissions.
In terms of accountability and transparency, students, teachers, and supporters will have access to information about all the forests through CFT’s digital Smart Forest Intelligence Dashboard. The dashboard shows the location of the forest, photos of it being planted, and ongoing reports of the carbon sequestration and ecosystem benefits. It’s a one-stop shop for everything you would want to know about the forest.
A Green Gamechanger
Smart Forest Fundraisers can now help grow forests, combat climate change, empower students and foster hope for the future. The program also offers additional benefits to schools including free forest and climate education modules for students, Indigenous Land Knowledge resources, youth leadership workshops, and opportunities to access scholarships and earn volunteer hours.
Canada’s Forest Trust believes in doing good for your community, your school, and your planet through easy and accessible programs. So we made Smart Forest Fundraising free.