Ink Cartridge Fundraiser

By organizing recycling fundraisers, nonprofit groups and public school classes can earn some money while doing something positive for the environment. Most people are familiar with municipal recycling programs for such items as newspapers, aluminum cans, plastic jugs, and glass bottles. But innovative programs also offer cash or reward points for other items, such as used cell phones. Some companies offer ink cartridge fundraiser opportunities for school children to earn such rewards as technological supplies or recreation equipment for their classes. Efforts such as these have been beneficial in reducing the amount of municipal solid waste (a fancy phrase for trash) that ends up in the country's landfills. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the amount of municipal solid waste going to landfills has decreased each year since 1990. In the fifteen-year period between 1990 and 2005, municipal solid waste has decreased by nine million tons. About a third of all municipal solid waste is currently recycled. This is positive news for everyone who cares about being a good steward of resources. It's an important principle. The historian Luke gives this account in his gospel of Jesus' teaching: "And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. . . . He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:1-2, 10).

Research, organization, and leadership are important factors in establishing profitable recycling fundraisers. Since several companies offer ink cartridge fundraiser programs, a teacher or responsible parent will want to research how each one operates and compare the various opportunities for receiving either cash or reward points that can be traded in for other items. This information can be gained from looking at the company's website and reviewing its buy-back prices, shipping policies, and reward catalog. Most companies have a cash reward option, but will also offer other items that can be redeemed via a point system. Usually the company encourages the fundraising groups to redeem points rather than taking cash by offering items at what amounts to a discounted price. This way the fundraising group can redeem items in exchange for points that are of greater value than taking cash. Some companies offer technological items for schools, such as blank compact disks. Others have recreational items in their reward catalog that classes can "purchase" for the school.

To help children's classes conduct a successful ink cartridge fundraiser, some companies provide advertising materials to the school. In addition to flyers that advertise the rewards and incentives, the companies may provide sample letters for parents and potential corporate sponsors. The letter to the parents explains the program and encourages parents to assist the children in sending information about the fundraising initiative to businesses in the community. Corporate sponsors are asked to donate the office's used ink cartridges to the school children. Arrangements for picking up the donated cartridges will be explained in the letter to the potential sponsors. The enthusiastic cooperation of the children, parents, and the community will enable the school to reach fundraising goals and earn rewards for the classrooms. An ink cartridge fundraiser provides cartridge cases to entrepreneurs who sell refilled cartridges to consumers at reduced prices. The redemption value of the cases depends on that old market axiom of supply and demand. Popular printer cartridges are more highly valued because the demand for them is so high.

Other recycling fundraisers may require additional adult leadership. Nonprofit groups can work with community businesses to create drop-off points for the common recyclables of newspapers, aluminum, plastic, and glass. Containers or bins are needed for each type of recyclable that the group plans to collect. For the initiative to be a success, people living in the community will need to be made aware of the available drop-off points and what recyclables are being collected. Additional volunteers can form a marketing campaign to spread the news about the drop-off points and the fundraising initiative. Some advertising ideas include making up fliers (on recycled paper, of course), placing announcements in church bulletins and civic newsletters, putting up posters in storefronts, and requesting public service announcements on a local radio station. A successful recycling program will need volunteers to pick up the recyclables from each drop-off point on a regular basis. These volunteers will need training on how to properly handle the items, especially glass, in a safe manner. Some volunteers and appropriate vehicles will be needed to transport the recyclables from the drop-off points to the redemption centers where the cast-off cans and piles of papers can be exchanged for cash.

A specific initiative, such as an ink cartridge fundraiser, provides a fun way for children to learn the value of reusing products while gaining cash and rewards for the classroom. General recycling fundraisers not only provide nonprofit organizations with a way to raise money, but they also play an important component in the recycling cycle. The collected and redeemed recyclables are reformulated into raw materials that are used for innovative new products. Amazingly, glass can be used in roadway asphalt (glassphalt) and plastics can be turned into carpeting. When consumers purposely seek out and purchase recycled products, they contribute to the positive recycling cycle.

Car Wash Fundraiser

Raise money for organizations with a car wash fundraiser or basketball fundraisers. There are many ways to raise funds for a school, sports team or other cause. Two of the most popular are holding a car wash or selling products at basketball games. These activities take some planning, but yield profitable results. The increased sense of unity resulting from such efforts makes these fundraising drives well worth the effort. One activity which is welcome is a car wash fundraiser. Many people like to have their car washed on a weekly basis for appearance's sake and also in order to guard against the corrosive effects of grime upon the exterior finish. Most would be glad to take a break from this chore, especially if the money is going for a worthy cause! With proper planning and a team of dedicated volunteers, a car wash can bring in some much-needed funds.

Assemble a team. Have interested individuals meet to determine the date of the car wash fundraiser and outline the course of the fundraising program. Select a date which does not conflict with holidays or community events. (Sometimes it is possible to piggyback on another event and attract additional customers, if the locations are near each other.) Clearly explain the purpose of the event and how funds will be used to benefit the team or cause. Express appreciation for the volunteers' willingness to help. Ask for a specific volunteer to fill each job which must be accomplished. The person in charge of the event will need to periodically check up on these helpers to be sure that each aspect is proceeding on schedule. If the volunteers are mainly young people from the sports team or school, be sure to enlist adults to help with coordinating the event and to assist in keeping order during the fundraiser.

Select a location for the car wash fundraiser in a place with high visibility and great traffic flow. Obtain event insurance if needed. Sometimes schools, churches or other property owners already have insurance which covers fundraising activities. Another person may coordinate supplies such as buckets, hoses, soap, sponges and towels. Try to have individuals who can not otherwise participate donate these items. Some businesses may be willing to sponsor particular aspects, in return for the opportunity to advertise their company through signs or coupons. Consider pre-selling tickets to the car wash. Although this may take some effort, many may be willing to buy a ticket. Even if these individuals never show up at the event, the money for the cause is already collected. Keep a record of any tickets distributed, and payment received from team members, so that there is clear financial accountability. This person will deal with finances on the day of the fundraiser as well. He or she must have money available for making change on the day of the event.

A publicity person will be needed to advertise the event in free sources such as community calendars or local newspapers. Radio stations can make a public service announcement of the event. Local reporters may be interested in the fundraiser as a human interest story, especially if the money raised will benefit local youth or be contributed to aid a certain cause. Flyers displayed in local businesses may help drum up further support. Make highly visible signs for the day of the event, so that passing cars will be able to notice the opportunity to make a contribution. Be sure to have an adult present for safety concerns. Some fundraisers also have coin toss areas set up on both sides of the street near the car wash, so that passing motorists who can not stop to have their cars washed can still assist in the effort. After the day's activities, let participants know the financial results of their work. Thank volunteers for their time and send letters of appreciation to local businesses which may have provided materials or services.

If a car wash fundraiser seems too involved, consider selling products during events such as basketball fundraisers. There are a great number of products available for selling during basketball or other sporting games. These range from sports lollipops or other candy items, to pizza cards for discounts to local pizzerias, to tubs of cookie dough in popular flavors. A variety of other items may be sold as well: bracelets, car magnets or other items personalized with team names, beverages or bags of chips or popcorn. The items can be varied as the season progresses. Audiences attending sports events are likely to be made up of those who are willing to contribute to the cause. This fundraiser does not need a large team to coordinate the program. Of course, someone will be needed to order supplies, have money available for change, and to keep track of the selling process. Helpers who move throughout the crowd selling items are likely to make more sales than those selling from a central location. Have adults accompany the sellers, for safety and to avoid problems from strangers or classmates who might seek to take advantage of the situation.

Other types of basketball fundraisers are special events where the school basketball team competes against a team made up of faculty members. Students are often curious about the outcome of such games and relish the opportunity of seeing their favorite teachers display their sports prowess (or lack thereof). Basketball fundraisers generally sell tickets for somewhere between $5-10. Sometimes a popular sports figure may be willing to donate time to speak briefly at halftime at such events, especially if the profits are to be given to charitable organizations. "In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury", says the writer of Proverbs 14:23. Car wash and basketball fundraisers are just some of many activities which can be attempted. Actually trying one instead of complaining about the current state of team finances will result in a positive outcome. In addition, working together will solidify relationships between team members.

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