Have you ever found yourself at a loss for fundraising ideas for an organization or cause that you are passionate about?
As teens, it can be frustrating when we find causes that we care deeply about but struggle to find the “right way” to ask other teens or members of our community to make monetary donations. While bake sales, penny drives, and candy-grams can all be effective ways to raise money through a school community, thinking outside the box and utilizing your networks and resources to mobilize a larger group in support of a cause can be a very powerful tool when it comes to grassroots fundraising.
Last month, the Girl Up New York Regional Coalition had the privilege of partnering with Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), the largest electronics recycler in the nation to support and raise money for Girl Up, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation. As I have previously blogged, Girl Up mobilizes teens in the U.S. to raise awareness and funds for the world’s hardest-to-reach-adolescent girls. Through ERI and the Girl Up New York Regional Coalition, we set up drives in seven different schools in NYC to collect unwanted small electronics such as laptops, cellphones, tablets, e-readers, cameras, gaming devices and ipods. Electronic Recyclers International reconditioned the small electronics collected for resale or recycling in an environmentally proper manner utilizing their certified processes. The profits will go directly to help keep girls safe, counted, educated, and become leaders in their community.
Although we still must determine how much was raised through this fundraiser, I believe it was already a success because it brought schools together with the common goal of raising awareness and funds by providing an environmentally friendly service to our respective communities. Instead of asking for money, we asked for people’s old electronics that were sitting in desk drawers or under their beds so that we can help girls receive the opportunities they so often lack in many countries around the world. Seems like a no brainer, right? This model of combining the efforts and resources of different people and organizations allows for funds to be raised more easily by larger groups while simultaneously raising awareness about a cause. Always remember that while alone we are strong, together we are stronger.
**Stay tuned for a toolkit so that you too can organize an electronic recycling drive in your community to benefit Girl Up**