Turn Your Trash Into Cash!

Mar 21, 2011

Todays post comes to you from Patricia Thompson Manager of Training Development with HandsOn University.

Are you looking for a creative way to combine service and fundraising?

Why not consider a serve-a-thon! Similar to walk-a-thons, serve-a-thons use a team-based approach to raise money for a designated cause. Participants secure sponsors who pledge to support their service, usually based on the number of hours served.

Here in Frederick County Maryland, HandsOn Frederick County organizes a serve-a-thon called The Big Sweep every year on Global Youth Service Day. The Big Sweep enables community members to raise money for their cause of interest while participating in a beautification day. Teams collect sponsorships for picking up trash on a county or city road, park, or waterway. Since 2002, The Big Sweep has mobilized 8,103 volunteers, who have picked up over 144 tons of trash and recyclables and raised $380,000 for their nonprofits of choice!

An event like The Big Sweep is a collaborative effort to protect the local environment and “turn trash into cash.” Interested in doing something similar? Well, here are a few steps to guide you in planning an environmental serve-a-thon:

Step 1. Develop a plan – Form a committee to help manage the neighborhood cleanup project.

Step 2. Build your team – Team leaders recruit 6-12 friends, family members, coworkers, or others for their teams.

Step 3. Set a location – Identify an area to clean up – a road, a series of roads, a park, a school, etc.

Step 4. Secure resources. Buy or get in-kind donations of needed supplies, including trash bags, gloves, and hand sanitizer.

Step 5. Keep your fundraising goal in mind – Make sure all teams are well informed, empowered, and equipped to fundraise. You want them to feel comfortable asking for pledges.

Step 6. Review last minute details and communicate with volunteers – Ensure volunteers have project details, such as time and location, and that materials are ready.

Step 7. Collect donations and trash – Have teams collect all donations so they can be compiled and given to the cause or organization of choice.

Step 8. Recognize volunteers and celebrate- Thank volunteers for their work and for the donations collected.

Step 9. Reflect and learn. As with any service project, take time to reflect on the experience, the impact of the project on the community, and what you learned about yourself, the issue, or the community.

Want to learn more? Join us for our webinar on March 30 at 3:00 EST, facilitated by Eve Shafi with HandsOn Frederick County, or download the project playbook!

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not. ~ Dr. Seuss from The Lorax

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