Tree hugger or not, there is no denying the amazing benefits of planting trees, under any circumstances, anywhere in the world. They fight climate change. They clean our air and water. They keep soil from eroding. They create homes for crawly critters and birds. And they are beautiful, improving nearly any landscape. That’s why, no matter your mission, your tree fundraiser will be very likely successful!
Amazing tree facts from the Arbor Day Foundation include:
- In one year, one acre of trees absorbs the carbon dioxide of a car driven 26,000 miles.
- Trees cool cities up to 10 degrees with shade and by releasing water vapor into the air.
- In Los Angeles, trees remove 2,000 tons of air pollution annually.
Here are 7 different tree fundraiser ideas:
1. Sell or Auction Trees for a Portion of Sales with Your Local Native Plant Nursery
Native plants and trees are critical for bird and wildlife habitat. They are also much easier to grow, naturally adapting to droughts and local climates. The United States has removed 150 million acres of native habitat, however, just from urban sprawl and what the National Audubon Society deems an “obsession with manicured lawns.”
You can help reverse this paradigm by supporting your local native plant nursery with a dual-promotion event.
- Find a native plant nursery in your area (or reach out to the one you already know!). A national directory can be found here.
- Buy plants at wholesale, bring them to your center or office, and either sell them directly or auction them off. (See our article here on how to pull off an easy online auction.)
This way, you can raise a bit of funding while connecting to something green and good for your community.
2. Trees for Change Fundraiser
Trees for Change works to reforest National Forests and Parks damaged by fire. They sell gift card kits for organizations to resell, offering 40% of the profits back to you for your efforts. The other 60% plants trees. Here is an example for this tree fundraiser: If just 25 participants sell 10 cards each, your organization raises $1,500. This opportunity is great for schools or programs that involve groups of children.
Also read: Fundraising for a Wind Energy Project
3. Memorial Gift Tree Fundraiser
If your organization has a center or a venue, you can promote donations for memorial trees. You can commemorate with just one tree and a plaque, with a tree line along a fence, or with any other combination depending on your available space.
Memorials can include remembrance gifts for a deceased loved one, anniversaries, births, or other special occasions. You have plenty of room for creativity!
Earth and Arbor Day Fundraisers:
Both Earth and Arbor Day are in April and are perfect opportunities to promote tree planting. Here are some ideas:
4. Tree 50/25/25 Raffle
Like a traditional raffle, ask ticket buyers to purchase a chance to win a portion of the proceeds of the total donation jackpot. Instead of a traditional 50/50, tell them that 25% will be donated to a tree-planting charity like National Arbor Foundation, or a local community organization. The other 25% will support your organization. (See our article here on organizing a raffle fundraiser for more logistical information.)
5. Adopt a Tree Competition
Plan to plant one or two native trees in front of your office, school, or center this season. Then advertise naming rights to the highest bidder. Rights can be in the form of a plaque, publicity on your website, or a scenic bench under the tree. You can organize this like a silent auction or a social media auction, asking bidders to send their highest bid amount by a certain date. Announce the winner on Earth Day or Arbor Day with a publicity event in the local media. Make sure you set a minimum bid amount and advertise the opportunity at least a few weeks in advance.
6. Tree Delivery Fundraiser
Many people want to plant more trees in their yard, they just do not have the time to prioritize it into their busy schedules. Again, pair with a local native plant nursery, or order trees online at wholesale price. Gather up your volunteers on Earth Day or Arbor Day weekend and sell tree planting crews. For a fixed price or for a suggested donation, the crew makes tree planting house calls. This is a low risk and high reward fundraiser if you have a good volunteer base!
7. Christmas Tree Removal and Recycling Fundraiser
According to the American Christmas Tree Association, 76% of American homes displayed a tree in 2017. That was 95 million households, of which 19% were real trees. Though the majority come from tree farms that otherwise would not exist (other than to meet Christmas tree demand), the result is millions of tons of wood harvested annually.
Some local communities collect trees on the curbside for free and recycle the material into compost or mulch. The National Christmas Tree Association claims that 4,000 local programs exist. The US has more than 3,000 counties and tens of thousands of local municipalities, however. The reality is that there probably is no tree collection and recycling program in your community. What you can do:
- Team up with volunteers that are off work for the holidays to collect those trees for a suggested donation. You can advertise on your social media networks and in a simple email blast to keep costs down.
- Organize teams of volunteers with large trucks or tractors.
- Partner with a lumber yard to deliver the trees and convert them into re-sellable mulch and compost.
- You can either ask the lumber yard partner for a contribution for the materials or sell the mulch and compost yourselves in a community pick-up day.
This project will have little overhead if you can rally the right volunteers and community support!
(Make sure you plan ahead for this fundraiser to make sure you have everything in place before the end of the year.)
Need more fundraising ideas? Click over to our list of over 100 Fundraising Ideas!
No matter what your organization’s mission, you can support the environment and your local community’s aesthetics by promoting tree planting (or recycling). Tree fundraisers can be especially useful if you are stuck on new ideas to get your volunteers involved or to recruit volunteers altogether. So go green!
More tree facts from the Arbor Day Foundation.