Frequently Asked Questions
How can I fundraise with Equal Exchange?
Equal Exchange Fundraising works as a wholesale program. Schools and community groups buy Equal Exchange products at wholesale prices and sell them at events or through Equal Exchange's Fundraising Catalog.
To buy product for a table sale or an event, create a wholesale account here and shop here.
To collect orders with our fundraising catalog, submit a Catalog Agreement Form. Catalog fundraisers earn around 40% profit. Groups that run a catalog fundraiser may also set-up an Online Fundraiser and earn 25% profit on online sales.
How does the catalog fundraiser work?
Once we receive your signed Catalog Fundraising Agreement, we'll send catalogs and posters FREE of charge! Once catalogs arrive, distribute them to participants. Set an end date and collect orders and money. All checks should be made to your organization (not Equal Exchange). Allow a few extra days for late orders before submitting your Master Order. Use our Master Order Form and place your order online. You will receive products within 10 business days.
How does the online fundraiser work?
If you're running a catalog fundraiser, you can sign-up to run an online fundraiser for the same selling season. Equal Exchange will provide a unique URL for your organization where far-away friends and family can place orders online that are sent directly to their homes. You can even personalize your store to share why you're organization is raising money. Profit margins for online sales are a flat 25% profit margin.
Organizations receive a higher profit margin for orders placed through the catalog, so encourage your participants to continue to collect orders via the catalog from local friends and family.
What kind of profit margin does Equal Exchange offer?
Through the catalog fundraiser, the average profit margin is 40% profit. The profit margin varies by item – as low as 33% and as high as 45%.
The profit margin for online sales is a flat 25% (excluding shipping).
For event and table sales, you choose the retail prices and your profit margin!
How much do the fundraising catalogs cost?
Catalogs and posters are free!
Can I receive samples to share with my group?
Variety packs are available for purchase. The Organic Foods Variety Pack is $15 and comes with 1 bag of coffee, 1 box of tea and 2 chocolate bars or 1 can of hot cocoa during warm weather months.
The Artisan Crafts Variety Pack is $65 and comes with an assortment of artisan items, including 2 scarves, 1 order of gift wrap, 1 set of kid's napkins, 1 candle and 1 wooden puzzle.
Both sample packs come with FREE shipping when shipped with catalogs!
Do you offer promotional materials to help our group sell?
Yes – we offer template letters and more! Find helpful tips and resources for your entire fundraiser on our Doing a Fundraiser page.
How long do you recommend orders to be collected?
We suggest letting your participants collect orders for 2-4 weeks. If your group is at a school, the best time to fundraise is at the beginning of the school year.
Online Fundraising stores will remain open for the appropriate season: Fall (September – December) or Spring (January – June). Orders placed after the selling season will not be credited to your organization.
Can we fundraise year-round?
However, chocolate may melt at temperatures above 70 degrees. If temperatures are above 70, we have to ship with cold packs and insulation. Additional shipping fees may apply depending on temperatures and the time of year – ask our customer service for more information.
Online Fundraising stores will be open for the season (Fall or Spring) in which your group also runs a Catalog Fundraiser. To keep your online store open all year, run a Catalog Fundraiser in Fall and Spring.
I have a small group or am an individual. Can I still do this fundraiser?
Yes – small groups are often very successful if everyone is excited or committed.
If your order is not as large as you hoped, you will always make a profit. If you choose to order individual items – not in full cases – you will never be stuck with leftover product, but your profit margin may be lower than 40%. Shipping is free with orders above $135.
I didn't order enough catalogs. Can I order more?
Of course! E-mail us at CommunityOrders@equalexchange.coop and let us know how many you need. We will ship them right away.
We did the fundraiser last year. How do we receive new catalogs?
Welcome back! To get started again, please fill out and return the Catalog Fundraising Agreement. Once we receive it, we will send everything you need to get started.
Is there a minimum order?
While there is no minimum order, Equal Exchange's Fundraising Program functions is a wholesale program. In order to receive the highest profit margin, coffee, tea and cocoa must be ordered in increments of 6, and chocolate bars, olive oil, and geobars in increments of 12.
If you do not wish to order a whole case, we are happy to offer these items individually with a lower profit margin. You can easily choose which items you'd like to "round up" to full-cases on Equal Exchange's Master Order Form.
Shipping is FREE at $135 order or more.
How do we promote our Online Fundraiser?
Once we receive your Catalog + Online Agreement forms, you will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to log in and view your store. Promote your unique store URL to fundraising participants by including it in the Parent Letter Template, sending it via e-mail to parents and teachers, and posting it in newsletters and social media. Encourage participants to send this link to friends and family across the country.
Will Equal Exchange pack each student's order separately?
Equal Exchange ships Catalog Fundraiser orders in bulk with paper shopping bags to help you sort and distribute products.
However, we will pack each student's order upon request. Click here to view fees for orders pre-packed-by-student.
What is the turn-around time between placing our order & receiving it?
You will receive your order within 10 business days.
Can we order other Equal Exchange products besides those listed in the catalog?
Yes! We offer special prices for fundraising groups on all Equal Exchange products. To see the range of products available visit our online store. If you would like to receive our wholesale pricelist, email us at CommunityOrders@equalexchange.coop.
Get creative! In addition to offering the products by themselves, some groups assemble gift baskets.
Can we order Ten Thousand Villages products for an event sale?
Ten Thousand Villages items are only available through Equal Exchange's Catalog Fundraiser. If you would like to hold an event sale with Ten Thousand Villages products, you may contact Ten Thousand Villages directly – 877-883-8341 or go to www.tenthousandvillages.com/get-involved/.
We've collected all our orders. Can we place our final order by e-mail or phone?
If at all possible, all catalog orders must be placed online. Read how to place your order here. If you're having trouble placing your order, you can attach and send your order via e-mail. If you must call in an order, please call before 4PM EST Monday-Friday. Be ready to provide item totals and item codes.
Why is my profit margin lower than 40%?
As outlined in the catalog agreement form, the highest profit margins are achieved when purchasing full cases of products. The profit margin varies by item – as low as 33% and as high as 45%. 40% is the average profit margin.
How do I maximize my profits?
Once you have finished entering orders into the Excel Master Order Form, find the middle tab labeled "Maximize Your Profits" in the lower left hand corner. Here you can choose which items you would like to "round up" to full-cases.
Are the chocolate bars without nuts processed in the same facility as those with nuts?
Yes, all of Equal Exchange's chocolate bars are produced in facilities that use nuts. For this reason we have the following allergen statement on all of our chocolate products: "May contain traces of milk, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios & pecans."
Do you have a Kosher-only fundraiser?
Currently we do not offer a Kosher-only fundraiser – but most of our products are certified Kosher.
Is Equal Exchange Fundraising an environmentally friendly fundraiser?
Yes! Equal Exchange Fundraising offers Organic & Fair Trade foods and gifts and is an environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional fundraisers.
Organic farming practices ensure no chemicals or pesticides were used in the production of Equal Exchange products – which protects the farmers who grew the products, the surrounding environment, birds and other wildlife, as well as the people who enjoy these products. Equal Exchange coffee is shade-grown.
Fair Trade principles also encourage sustainable farming practices so that farmers are able to remain on their land and enjoy productive harvests. Additionally, many of our farmer partners are involved in reforestation efforts, diversification projects, and other environmentally-focused projects within their communities.
Do you have lesson plans for teachers about Fair Trade or chocolate co-operatives?
Yes, our curriculum for grades 4 – 9, Win Win Solutions: An Introduction to Fair Trade and Cooperative Economics, is available online to download one unit at a time.
Where do Equal Exchange's profits go?
The Short Answer: For every $1.00 Equal Exchange receives through our product sales, approximately 97 cents goes back out through:
- coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, etc. purchases from 40 farmer co-ops around the world
- our buildings and equipment
- shipping (over $1,000,000 every year)
- basic expenses of importer/manufacturer/wholesaler
Of the 3 cents on the dollar we keep:
- 10% is donated to non-profits or mission driven co-ops working in the Fair Trade and co-op movements.
- 35% of profits or losses, depending on which we have, are divided equally amongst the worker-owners.
- The remaining 55% gets reinvested in the company to enable us to grow our business and connect yet more farmers and consumers.