Depending on the scale of your project, there may not be many costs involved.
To ensure that no volunteers are out of pocket, fundraising is a component to consider to cover costs. Some expenses that you may expect throughout the project include:
- Logos (screenprinting equipment or pre-printed sew-on labels)
- Venue hire (unless a public space or home can be offered free)
- Volunteer expenses (tea, coffee, snacks)
- Sewing machine maintenance (it’s a nice gesture to support maintenance costs for volunteers using their own machines)
- Fabric (if second-hand shopping)
- Cotton thread (this isn’t always easy to source second-hand and new is the preferred option in this case)
- Printing of flyers and promotional material
Below are a few different ways to raise funds, and things to keep in mind with each.
Selling bags (markets and events)
Often community members or businesses like to contribute to their local Boomerang Bags community by purchasing bags. They might keep and reuse or gift to friends or colleagues. The price is decided by you and your group, though often is between $2 and $10.
Bags could be sold through market stalls, events, pop-up stalls and sometimes through local businesses, or directly to companies or events that wish to use them as an ethical delegate bag alternative. The Boomerang Bags story is becoming one of celebration, so more and more businesses are choosing boomerang bags over commercially made bags imported from overseas.
The benefit of a donation in exchange for a boomerang bag is that it gives the bag value, therefore the person is much more likely to hold onto it and use it proudly.
Events provide a great platform to involve and connect with your community, recruit volunteers and support for the initiative.
It could be anything from a documentary screening to a morning tea, live music night, or bag monster parade. Get creative to make it fun and educational!
We can send you a link to the documentary ‘Bag it’, the documentary that got us started and still one of the best around. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link.
Auctions and raffles are a great way to raise funds at events. Gather donations of ethical merchandise from local businesses/services as prizes. Invite and promote businesses who donate merchandise at the event, through social media and flyers in recognition of their support. Making some very special bags and auctioning them off can also be a fun way to involve the wider community.
It’s great to have the local Council on board as they may be able to provide ongoing support, advice and networks throughout the project, as well as in-kind and/or financial support.
Find a relevant contact within Council (try the waste, sustainability, and/or community engagement departments) and arrange a meeting to discuss the concept. Be clear about what you’re asking for before talking to/meeting with Council (e.g bring background information, and a list of ideas of how they may be able to support you). This could include things such as:
- Covering equipment costs (screens, labels, signs and so on)
- Helping to find a venue for sewing bee’s and events
- Providing a central drop-off point for material donations
- Printing flyers and other marketing material (many Councillors and MP’s have a printing budget for community projects).
Auspicing and grants
Keeping the project small and within volunteers’ capacity supports longevity. Grant applications typically require an incorporated association with an ABN and bank account, or alternatively, an organisation to auspice or sponsor the project or activity. Due to the growing number of Boomerang Bags communities around the globe, Boomerang Bags Inc. is unfortunately unable to auspice community grant applications.
In order to apply for a grant, you may need to source a local organisation with an ABN that is willing to auspice your Boomerang Bags project. Below are a few examples of organisations communities have had success with, and that you could consider:
Lyons and Rotary Club
Country Women’s Association
Mens Shed Association
Surfrider Foundation Chapter
Surf Life Saving Club
Nature Conservation Groups
Friends of the Earth
Transition Town groups
- Know what you’re in for. Firstly, check that the project outcomes and aims align with that of the organisation or business offering the grant. They usually provide a number of required guidelines or qualifications. Grants can be timely to put together, so only choose grants that fit the bill.
- Do a little research. Read the grant guidelines carefully, check out the foundation, organisation or business to know where the funds are coming from (and ensure that it’s a company you’re comfortable aligning with). Also check out what ongoing requirements (reporting, evaluation and so on) they may have, to ensure that its something your group can commit to.
- Be clear and concise. When it comes to grants, less is more. Focus on key points surrounding what the need is within your community, and most importantly, how your project addresses this need. If the grant provides questions, answer only what the question is asking (try not to digress outside of what is being asked). If a proposal or brief is required, try to keep within 1-2 pages (unless otherwise specified within the grant).
- Provide measurable outcomes. Most grants require some level of reporting throughout and/or following the success of your grant. In the application, it’s important to list a number of measurable outcomes that will result from the implementation of your project. For example; volunteer hours, number of participants engaged with, kilograms of material waste diverted from landfill, and so forth.
- Triple check that the budget adds up. Prior to starting the grant application, get clear on what items you need to fulfill the project, and how much they cost (this may require a little market research and/or requesting quotes). Once you have everything priced, be sure to triple check that the total adds up. Also, include the monetary value of ‘in-kind’ items (e.g volunteer hours) provided by your group (the volunteer hourly rate is usually considered quantified at around $25-30/hour in value).
When it comes to raising and managing funds, it’s important to be transparent about income and expenses with all volunteers involved in the group. Depending on the scale of your group, you might like to nominate a ‘treasurer’ to keep track – we recommend a simple book to log the date of amounts received and spent each month.
What to do with funds leftover after all of your group’s expenses have been covered?
If all expenses of your local operations have been covered and there are surplus funds leftover, have a discussion with your volunteers about how the funds could be best spent in a way that continues to do good. We suggest keeping it within your local community. Below are a few ideas.
- Have a social gathering to celebrate your volunteers’ efforts (e.g go out of lunch or dinner as a group)
- Host an educational event for the community (e.g film screening)
- Donate to a local organisation benefiting the local community
- Landcare or Beachcare group
- Local farmers
- Native bee hives or nest boxes for wildlife rehabilitation
- School education projects (for example www.plasticpollutionsolutions.com)
If the surplus funds originate from grant funding, you should check with the funding organisation whether you can use the surplus funding or have to return it!