Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles recent announcement that they will no longer be providing single-use plastic bags in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria mean almost every state and territory will have a ban on plastic bags within the next 12 months. This decision will affect the overwhelming majority of Australian families, meaning the time is perfect to plan a school fundraiser with top-quality, reusable shopping totes.
Although this post is sponsored by one of my advertisers, all opinions are my own, and I think they are great products I want to share with FRM readers – we have done this shopping bag fundraiser at our own school.
Shopping bag fundraiser in a nutshell
Fundraising Idea: quality 100% cotton drill shopping totes, customisable with images, logos or text
Suitable for: schools, sports clubs, playgroups, childcare centres, community groups
Profit: varies – could range from $5-$12 per bag
The decision to stop providing over 3 billion single-use plastic bags at the major supermarkets has been a long time coming, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still a shock when it was finally announced. The importance of reusable shopping bags has never been greater, and it is a perfect time to consider a bag fundraiser for your school or club. With a simple text only design, you can have bags printed and ready for sale within a month, perfect for end of year and Christmas events. Learn more about the plastic shopping bag ban here.
There are a number of companies that offer bags and totes for fundraising, but while the prices vary wildly, so does the quality. It is vital that this is taken into account, and Expressions will send a sample to any school or group considering a fundraiser.
The 100% cotton drill bags from Expressions are available in three colours – black, navy and white and measure 40x45cm. Both sturdy and roomy with a 10cm gusset, the bags have double 55cm handles and can be loaded with plenty of groceries. You will be assured of many years of use. Each bag comes with a label on the inside to write your name.
There are 12 standard colours used to screen print the bags, and the ink is long wearing and fade resistant. While the basic price includes a single print colour, you can also screen print with two or three colours (for an extra $1.50/$2.50 per item) or full-colour digital printing (POA).
The design and fundraising process for bags is similar to the tea towel fundraisers also offered by Expressions (see my review here)
Drawings: Ask students to draw pictures (for example, self-portraits or even pictures of fruit/veg), do hand prints or design a single mural-style picture.
Text: Alternatively, using text-only is a quick and effective option, for example we used the street names of every single student at our school.
The advantage of the street name/suburb option (or any text-based design such as ‘Windsor Primary supports the plastic bag ban’) is that it is much quicker than waiting for children to draw pictures, and the less personal style means it will appeal to a broader section of the community; you could easily sell the bags at a local farmers market. Obviously you can also create designs with a combination of pictures and text.
There is a very good reason Expressions are a finalist in the 2017 Fundraising Awards – customer service is prompt, helpful and very friendly. If you need help, there are in-house designers who can assist in creating your bag. We simply provided a spreadsheet with all the street names, and they sent back a proof within days. We were able to select which suburbs/streets were highlighted in the bigger print, and making changes was quick and easy.
Once the design is approved, it takes only one to two weeks for the bags to be printed and couriered out from Queensland (freight is $20 per order).
No money is required upfront and the invoice needs to be paid in full within 7 days of the bags arriving.
Once you have booked, you will be sent a coordinators kit which contains everything you need to run the fundraiser including colourful flyers, posters, a customisable parents letter and stickers for each child when they complete their drawing.
Costs and profit
The more bags you order, the cheaper they become. With a minimum print run of 50 bags, they start at $14.50 for 50-99, $13.50 for 100-149, $13.00 for 150-199, $12.50 for 200-299 and $12.00 for 300+ bags (single colour).
You can sell the bags at any price you choose, though most schools and groups tend to sell them at between $20 and $25 per bag.
If you sold 200 bags for $20 each, you would make a profit of $1,680.
We are selling at a lower price point: one for $20, two for $35 and three for $50. The minimum profit we will make is $813 or approximately $4.10 per bag.
Cotton tote bags are immediately relevant (due to the plastic bag ban), highly practical and have very long shelf life. If you are marketing them as replacements for shopping bags, then you will likely get people buying multiple bags, and should consider stepped price points to encourage multiple sales.
Consider getting sponsorship from local farmers markets, who can pay a proportion of the costs in return for a logo on the bag or a joint message such as ‘Willeton Primary Supports the Banksia Farmers Markets”.
Create a Christmas or festive design and sell in the lead-up to Christmas, such as having the students draw themselves with Santa hats.
For design ideas and inspirations visit the Expressions website here.
To book a bag fundraiser click here.