I worked with my high school’s World Language Honor Society throughout most of my time in high school, and I loved every minute of it. The World Language Honor Society (called the WLHS by members) is committed to fostering awareness and understanding of other cultures while providing service to multicultural communities both locally and internationally. Our biggest projects involve visiting a Spanish-speaking after school program during the holiday season and donating backpacks full of school supplies to an elementary school in Haiti. These projects represent the core values of WLHS, and are a ton of fun. They do, however, cost money to run. WLHS projects require months of planning, and fundraising comprises the bulk of the planning process. For this reason, the success of our annual Equal Exchange fundraiser is absolutely essential for our projects to be successful.
Equal Exchange’s values line up pretty evenly with my organization’s values: international cultural awareness and respect. So, when it comes time to promote our fundraiser, we focus a lot on the good both organizations can achieve with the profits of our sales.
Personally, when I’m talking about the fundraiser to family members, neighbors, teachers, or my friends, I like to highlight specific uses of the money raised – usually by talking about my experiences participating in service projects and by explaining the meaning of “fair trade.”
A lot of my family and friends already know about the good that WLHS does for the surrounding community, but many people forget that our Equal Exchange fundraiser is beneficial to more than just our local community. Our members each receive a catalog of items that they can sell, and attached to each catalog is a paper explaining why we’re fundraising with Equal Exchange. When members get excited about the products they’re selling and the benefits they have for the international community, that enthusiasm spreads to anyone who might be interested in buying from our fundraiser – translating into more money for both our organization and for Equal Exchange.
In general, I find that people love to buy the quality products that Equal Exchange sells – and love it a little more when they know that their money goes to such a worthwhile cause. Emphasizing the link between our organizations through our members is one of the best ways for us to ensure our fundraisers are the best that they can possibly be.
Organizer for the World Language Honor Society’s fundraiser at Jenkintown High School