Monday, October 27, 2008

Greening School Fundraisers

If your school or community group needs to raise some cash, think about selling eco-friendly goods from the greenest businesses.
For several years, the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD, had held an annual fundraiser selling Sally Foster gift wrap to raise money for the sixth-grade field trip. But the gift wrap chosen for the sale contained no recycled content and couldn’t itself be recycled, which concerned a group of green-minded students so much, they called a boycott.

“This particular group of friends called themselves ‘the Treehuggers,’” says Miriam Glaser, who teaches sixth grade science at the school. “I got wind of the boycott, so I met with them, and we started working together as an official school group on green issues.”

As a result of the boycott, the PTO saw a significant reduction in the amount of money they earned, and it didn’t take them long to agree to meet the Treehuggers to discuss sustainable fundraiser alternatives.

Though it was too late to stop the Sally Foster sale, the Treehuggers decided to conduct a sale of their own, to raise money for compost bins and recycled paper for the school. Glaser helped them find, an eco-friendly fundraising company.

“I was very excited about how much we raised,” says Glaser. “We were all happy with the variety of green products, and the kids felt good that they’d made a difference.”

Are you a parent or grandparent who is tired of seeing your child sell unsustainable products to raise money for her or his school? Does your house of worship or nonprofit run fundraiser programs through businesses whose products could be cleaner and greener? Read on for a variety of responsible alternatives to conventional fundraisers.
Started by a group of eco-minded parents, exists to help schools and other nonprofits raise money from sales of useful green products. Many items come from members of Co-op America’s Green Business Network™, including: EcoBags reusable bags; Laptop Lunches reusable lunchboxes; Fair Trade Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, Ithaca Fine Chocolates, and Peace Coffee; and Earth Friendly Products cleaning supplies. offers three different fundraising options: 1) Your group can hold an ongoing Web sale, where supporters use your specially designated code on the online retail store. 2) You can hold a two- or three- week “Web site drive” and earn higher profit margins than with an ongoing sale. 3) You can run an in-person (recycled paper) Greenraising catalog drive.

Fair Trade Chocolate, Coffee
As many US students are learning, the coffee and cocoa industries have been tied to worker exploitation and environmental degradation. Now, schools and other nonprofits can raise money and support cocoa and coffee farmers through a Divine Chocolate or Grounds for Change fundraiser.

Farmers in the Fair Trade system work cooperatively and earn a living wage that allows them to improve their lives, communities, and local environment.

Divine sells Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate from Ghana. Schools and other organizations can buy 1.5-oz. dark, milk, and crispy rice Divine Chocolate bars at wholesale prices, then resell them at retail and keep the profits.

Through Grounds for Change, your group can hand-sell 12-oz. bags of organic, shade-grown, Fair Trade coffee, using the company’s order forms and information cards, or you can purchase it in bulk at a discount and resell it, pocketing a percentage of the profits.

Both companies will also provide materials to help you educate buyers about Fair Trade.

Fair Trade Gourmet Food
A catalog of gourmet treats can be a popular fundraiser, too—especially around the holidays. Equal Exchange’s program helps your group raise money by selling Fair Trade chocolate, coffee, tea, and cocoa, as well as certified-organic, US-grown cranberries, almonds, and pecans.

Equal Exchange will send order forms and recycled paper catalogs displaying its organic, Fair Trade, premium-quality products. Once your organization has completed its sales, you order the products at a discount and pocket the profits.

By request, Equal Exchange will provide recycled paper posters and flyers to advertise your sale and the benefits of Fair Trade. It also offers a Fair Trade curriculum for grades 4–9, as well as an incentive program where students earn green prizes for achieving certain sales quotas.

Fair Trade Crafts
If you like import stores like Pier One and World Market, you’ll love the Fair Trade craft items from A Better Footprint (formerly Worldgoods) and Global Goods Partners, which include recycled cotton handbags from India; glass pendants from Ecuador; soccer balls from Pakistan; and more.

Schools and community groups have four options for holding fundraisers through A Better Footprint: 1) The company will give you a special Web link to its online store, so you earn profits when supporters shop. 2) You can order a box of products on consignment and sell them at an event. Once the sale is over, you simply send back any unsold items with payment. 3) You can hold a catalog sale. 4) If you’re with a school in Wisconsin or Illinois, A Better Footprint can come to your school to sell products at an event.

A Global Goods fundraiser is held entirely online. The company gives your school or nonprofit a special code for supporters to use when shopping from its online store, and you’ll earn a percentage of the profits from those sales. For schools, it will also provide posters and other promotional materials.

Energy-Saving Products
It’s been hard to miss the fact that fuel costs are skyrocketing, and electricity costs are sure to follow. So selling energy-saving products from might turn out to be the best fundraiser your organization has ever held.

This Web-based company sells a variety of green items, including compact fluorescent light bulbs, energy-saving “SmartStrip” power strips, and LED holiday lights, as well as other household products like water-saving devices.

Organizations sell products through their own special URL on E3 Living’s fundraising site,, earning a portion of the profits, plus an additional two percent of your total annual sales at the end of the calendar year.

Reduce E-waste for Cash
Your group can provide a valuable recycling service for your community while earning needed cash with Project KOPEG’s e-waste recycling fundraiser. Your group collects unwanted cell phones and chargers, ink cartridges, MP3 players, digital cameras, and PDAs to send to the company for cash. As long as you’ve collected at least 30 cell phones, or 30 ink cartridges and 15 cell phones, Project KOPEG will pay all shipping costs. Prices vary according to items—you’ll earn at least $0.95 per pound of e-waste. offers a similar fundraising program for groups that collect cell phones or ink cartridges for recycling.

Neither company ships used electronics to overseas facilities, ensuring that everything is refurbished or recycled responsibly.

Books for Sale
Better World Books (BWB) helps high school and college students raise money through book drives to benefit their school and literacy programs around the world.

Students collect used books, including old textbooks, from their community. They ship the books to BWB at no cost to them, and then BWB resells the books online, donating or recycling those that can’t be sold. The school gets a percentage of the profits and designates one of four literacy programs to receive an additional portion: Books for Africa, Room to Read, WorldFund, or the National Center for Family Literacy.

BWB also offers a similar program to help libraries raise money in exchange for book discards.

Two other organizations provide green-themed books at a discount to schools and nonprofits, which can resell them at retail to raise money: Contact Kids Think Big to get its brightly illustrated children’s book, Think Green!, which is about simple ways kids and adults can help green our world. And Laura Bruzas, editor of Healthy Dining Chicago offers a useful 32-page booklet called “50 Simple Ways to Eat Well for Less,” on greening your food choices while saving money, no matter where you live.

Artistic Accessories and Decor
If you’re looking for a quirky and fun fundraiser, look no further than This Web store offers a wide variety of unique items, from bags made from old fire hoses, to jewelry fashioned from antique typewriter keys, to belts made from recycled rubber and bottle caps.

Schools and groups can sell Juicy Pear items through recycled paper or electronic catalogs. The company ships items directly to buyers.

Artistic Accessories and Decor
There’s no two ways about it—students need school supplies. Launch an ongoing fundraiser through, and your organization can sell school supplies and other necessities that are good for people and the planet.

MyEarth360 sells a range of green products on its Web store, from lunchboxes made from recycled drink containers to Fair Trade backpacks to pencils made from wood scraps. In addition, the store offers household items like water purifiers, compostable zip-lock bags, and more.

MyEarth360 assigns your school or organization a unique code for supporters to use when they shop the site, earmarking a percentage of the profits for your group. Four times a year, the retailer will increase that profit margin for a specific amount of time, giving even more to your group.

Artistic Accessories and Decor
Paper products tend to be a popular fundraiser. Now, through Twisted Limb Paperworks, you can ensure that the stationery, bookmarks, and scrapbooking papers your organization sells are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled content. The paper is all handmade at Twisted Limb’s Bloomington, IN, facilities and is often embedded with flowers and seeds.

You may choose to sell the papers first and then place an order, or purchase products to resell.

Recycled Greeting Cards
If your group likes the idea of selling greeting cards, consider offering the beautiful cards from Arbutus Images, made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and printed with soy inks.

Arbutus will provide order forms and samples to your group’s fundraiser. You sell each box of eight cards for $15 and keep $5.

For every box of Arbutus cards your organization sells, the company will donate ten cents to Trees for the Future’s Tree Pals program, which covers the cost of planting one tree for a school in a developing country. Schools can also sell Arbutus cards to fund participation in Tree Pals Sponsorship program, planting a forest for a partner school in a developing country.

Reusable Shopping Bags
Reusable shopping bags are increasing in popularity, so why not sell them and make some much-needed cash? is an online company that offers a different themed fundraising program for schools each year. This year’s theme is “reducing plastic,” so the company is providing reusable nylon bags for schools to sell for cash. The bags are sweatshop-free and can be compacted to fit in a pocket or purse. Green Benefits will provide your school with a special URL or even design a Web site for you to sell the bags online. offers several types of reusable shopping bags through its fundraising program, from organic cotton string bags to whisper-thin cotton produce bags. Your group purchases the bags in bundles of ten at wholesale prices (minimum $125 initial purchase) to resell.

AAh Haa! sells its recycled-canvas and recycled-PET reusable tote bags at wholesale prices to schools for resale. You can add a logo for a fee.

And offers organic cotton totes—and T-shirts—with environmental messages on them. You sell the items via catalog, and the company pays for shipping at least 50 items, giving your group a percentage of the profits.

A Final Word
Next time your school or organization suggests selling toxin-laden cleaners or conventional candy that may be tied to worker exploitation, feel free to hand out copies of this article and lobby for sustainable alternatives. With a green fundraiser, you can help spread the word about high-quality green products and support the green economy, while raising money for schools or causes that are close to your heart.

—Tracy Fernandez Rysavy

Article found here

Friday, October 24, 2008

Save $4,000 Next Year (And Every Year)

A 12-Step Plan to Save Money By Going Green

October 23, 2008 at 9:22AM by Diane MacEachern

You can save almost $4,000 every year if you live a greener life.

Here's how:

  1. Take lunch to work and stop tossing disposable takeout waste
    Annual cost savings: $1,560

  2. Sell your gas-guzzler and invest in a fuel-efficient model
    Annual cost savings: $884

  3. Drive smart to improve fuel economy
    Annual cost savings: $600

  4. Buy a reusable water bottle and stop buying bottled water
    Annual cost savings: $500

  5. Make your own non-toxic cleaners
    Annual cost savings: $300

  6. Skip one driving trip each week
    Annual cost savings: $225

  7. Install window and door weather stripping
    Annual cost savings: $129

  8. Get a programmable thermostat and use it to regulate heating and cooling
    Annual cost savings: $150

  9. Buy a smart power strip and really turn off energy-sucking electronics
    Annual cost savings: $94

  10. Install low-flow shower heads, and water-saving toilets and faucets
    Annual cost savings: $72

  11. Replace an old washing machine with an EnergyStar model
    Annual cost savings: $50 (plus 7,000 gallons of water)

  12. Swap out old bulbs for compact fluorescents
    Annual cost savings: $5-10 (per bulb)

    Total cost savings: $3,690 per year

PLUS: Swap, Trade Using, EBay, Craig’s List to save more $$$$$.

For years, naysayers have claimed that "being eco is too expensive." Not any more.

Want more ideas on how to shift spending to live greener and save money? Check out the One in a Million budget sheet.

Article found on

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's in It for Me?

[Editor's note: In this exclusive excerpt from Joel Makower's new book, "Strategies for the Green Economy," he describes how to tap into the prevailing mentalities of most shoppers in order to make green products appealing. Previous excerpts can be found here and here.]

Ted Levitt, the Harvard marketing professor whose name is often preceded by the word guru, famously said: "People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarterinch hole." Levitt's point is that people usually buy things because they have needs or desires that demand solutions or fulfillment. Rocky Mountain Institute cofounder Amory Lovins, one of the pioneers and innovators in energy efficiency and conservation, expressed the same sentiment: "People don't want heating fuel or coolant; people want cold beer and hot showers." That is, their interest is less in products than in the benefits those products provide.

When it comes to the environment, hardly anyone shops with a mind-set to "save the planet," despite what many marketing professionals seem to think. They want what everyone in developed economies want: comfort, security, reliability, aesthetics, affordability, status, and pleasure.

And yet, so many green-minded companies end up selling "quarter-inch drills." They'll explain:

  • Why the world needs their drill ("The polar bears are dying!" "We're running out of resources!")
  • The benefits of their drill ("Uses less energy and emits fewer toxic emissions." "Recyclable, so it won't end up in landfills.")
  • The drill's technical makeup ("Made of 100 percent plant- and mineral-based ingredients." "Uses 20 percent less energy than the competitor.")
  • What the drill doesn't contain ("No petroleum-based products or artificial dyes or preservatives.")
  • How it's better than competitors' drills ("The highest percentage of recycled material on the market." "Available wherever you buy organic foods.")
  • The benefits to the planet if everyone bought their drill instead of the competitors' ("We'd reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking 135,000 cars off the road." "We would save 11 million gallons of water, 23,000 acres of trees, and enough energy to power Toledo for a month.")

But little or nothing about the quarter-inch hole-about how this product will get the job done, whether the "job" is cleaning my house, transporting me from hither to yon, satisfying my hunger, or making me feel attractive and cool.

Much of environmental strategy and marketing seems disconnected from most people's lives. Indeed, research shows that many shoppers view the environmental movement as traditional, dated, and somewhat out of touch with current society.

This is ironic perhaps. Many environmentalists I know believe that they have a better understanding of the state of the world than do other people. And they might. But that's of little consequence. The millions of "Security Moms" and "NASCAR Dads" who haven't yet tuned into how climate change and fisheries loss might mess with their kids' future aren't about to be beaten into submission by the latest technical arguments or evidence. They're not about to make purchase decisions based on a maybe-someday rationale for stemming environmental problems. They want to know: What's in it for me, today?

So, big news: Most consumers may be shallow, misinformed, selfinterested, and unsophisticated, but they're also our neighbors, colleagues, and relatives. And they're likely your clients, customers, or employees. If you want to move them toward greener behaviors and actions, you'll need to deal -- carefully and creatively -- with all the sobering reality of the green economy: that the overwhelming majority of shoppers in developing countries are, to put it mildly, self-absorbed. They want what they want-a safe and cleaner world, of course, but also a life filled with comfort and joy. No matter that the former may be directly linked to the latter. In the day-to-day struggles of work, family, finances, and all the rest, most people can't be bothered with the bigger picture-shifting social mores, political trends, changing family values, or the declining fate of the Earth. They're important, to be sure, but for most folks, saving the planet usually takes a back seat to saving the day.

Consumers find no irony in jumping into a sports-utility vehicle with underinflated tires and driving several miles out of their way to buy their favorite brand of recycled toilet paper. It eludes them that the environmental impacts of getting to and from the store might outweigh any of the green choices they can make up and down the aisles.

We want it all: inexpensive products made by companies that don't pollute and pay their workers well; luxury without guilt; safe, roomy, classy cars that don't use much gas; wind and solar power plants, as long as they're not nearby or in view; simple solutions to complex problems; and changes without changing.

Some of this is possible, technically speaking. We may yet reach the day when vehicles are powered by sunlight and oxygen, emitting nothing but air and water. We may clean up conditions in factories in the developing world-the ones that manufacture our dirt-cheap goods -- without raising the prices of the things they produce. We may reinvent our manufacturing systems so that they use renewable resources and closed-loop systems, eliminating smokestacks, drainpipes, and dumpsters. We may even curb rampant consumption, somehow deciding that less is more and that the lavish lifestyles of a relative few are bad for us all.

Maybe. But the road to a greener, cleaner economy will be long and arduous, with roadblocks, speed bumps, and detours at every turn. It will be more evolutionary than revolutionary, and we may never reach the state referred to as sustainability, in which we are able to conduct our affairs and live the way we do for eternity while ensuring quality lives for others.

But we'll try, and smart companies will prosper in the process.

Joel Makower is executive editor of Excerpted with permission from Strategies for the Green Economy, by Joel Makower, published by McGraw Hill. © 2008 Joel Makower.

Article found on

Monday, October 20, 2008

Digital Ad Spend Up At The Expense of Traditional

According to a new Epsilon CMO Survey, Chief Marketing Officers at many of the biggest brands in the nation are seeing a major shift in the marketing landscape. 63% of the 175 marketing executives surveyed see an increase in their spending on interactive/digital marketing while 59% report a decrease in traditional marketing spend.

65% of CMOs say that the money spent on advertising as a whole will decrease due to the current economy. In contrast, 94% of CMOs and marketing executives agreed with the statement, 'A tough economic period is precisely the time when marketing plays a key role.'

When asked how their firm determines their target market for each channel:

  • 50% stated that they use data driven marketing techniques
  • 31% of respondents agreed that they use sophisticated modeling tools to analyze existing customer behavioral, preference and demographic data
  • 19% said that they analyze past purchase behavior
  • 28% said they made rough estimates based on past experience

Mike Iaccarino, CEO of Epsilon, says "... marketing executives are seeking accountability and measurable results. Data driven marketing is an increasingly important component of corporate marketing campaigns... "

CMOs of the biggest brands have been early adopters of new media with social computing and blogs receiving the most interest whereas instant messaging and interactive TV ads were the least popular.

  • Social computing (including word of mouth, social networking sites, viral advertising, etc.) was the most popular emerging channel with 42% of marketing executives expressing interest in adding it to their marketing mix
  • Blogs were the second most popular emerging channel: 35% of marketing executives want to pursue blogs and 19% already use blogs
  • Almost one-third of CMOs mentioned Podcasting as an area of interest: 31% are interested in adding Podcasting to their marketing mix and 18% already have.
  • Mobile devices also elicited interest: 29% are interested in Mobile Devices (Phones/PDAs) and 22% have added them to their marketing mix

Senior marketing executives anticipate further cuts, says the study, but are confident that they will be able to manage their budgets by focusing spending where it will have the greatest impact. As the overall marketing pool diminishes, the budget for interactive and digital marketing is dramatically increasing, while that for traditional marketing continues to shrink toward interactive, digital marketing:

Interactive/Digital Marketing:

  • Decreased... 14%
  • Increased... 63%
  • Stayed the same... 23%

While Traditional Marketing

  • Decreased... 59%
  • Increased... 13%
  • Stayed the same... 29%

Source: Epsilon, September 2008

The survey included 175 U.S. Chief Marketing Officers and marketing executives of some of the largest brands in the nation. 27% of respondents work at companies with $10 billion or more in annual revenues last year.

For additional information and a PDF file, please visit here.

Article found at

Monday, October 13, 2008

Complete LIME website up and running

Marketing, with a twist of LIME

LIME Marketing uses proven strategies to increase sales and build your business, but with a green mindset. We provide environmental marketing strategies to business and industry throughout Ohio. We work with you to determine and implement the most cost effective, environmentally sensitive methods of achieving your goals.

How green is your marketing?

Every business needs to be on the edge of technology. It’s how you stay ahead of your competition. The science of materials, processes and sales techniques are all coordinated to deliver the best results for your company.

Shouldn’t your marketing do that, too?

With a carefully-planned perspective and positioning of your products and services, we’ll help you use the power of green to differentiate your marketing and your company. To position you in your prospect’s mind as the leader in what you do, and how you do it.

Slices of LIME

LIME is a cooperative effort of five companies located throughout Columbus and Central Ohio.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Recycle Your Inkjet Cartridges

It's easy to reuse or recycle your inkjet cartridges, so get started today.

If you've been chucking your inkjet and toner cartridges in the garbage up to this point, you're not alone. Over 13 cartridges are discarded in the U.S. every second, according to

That's hundreds of millions of cartridges that end up in landfills every year, made with plastics that can take at least 1,000 years to decompose. Not a good thing.

It's actually easy to cut down on this waste. First off, some inkjet cartridges can be used more than once by buying a refill kit. If this seems too messy, take your empties (think copiers and faxes, too) to the nearest drop off center to be reused or recycled by others. (Plug your zip code into for nearby collection places.)

Many companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, take them back for free. They provide mailers or labels for you to ship them back to be recycled or refurbished.

It takes about 80% less energy to remanufacture plastic than to produce it new. And remanufactured laser cartridges use about half the amount of oil (a nonrenewable fossil fuel) needed to make brand new ones. So buy recycled cartridges to begin with. You'll save them from entering the waste stream.

This article was found here on