Organizing an Ink Cartridge Recycling Fundraiser

Updated January 24, 2022
Ink Cartridges

If you're looking for an easy way to raise money for a club, sports team, school, or another type of not-for-profit group, an ink cartridge recycling fundraiser is a great option to consider. This can be a simple and lucrative way to raise money without having to ask people to give or spend their own funds. Since printers are common in homes and offices, it shouldn't be hard to find donors who will gladly share their empty ink cartridges with your group instead of throwing them away. They'll be glad to find a virtually effortless, cost-free way to help your group, while also helping protect the environment.

Set Up an Ink Cartridge Fundraising Committee

It's a good idea to put together a committee to organize and operate the program, rather than trying to run it by yourself. Try to start with three to five people on the committee. Schools and sports teams can invite parents to serve on the committee, while other types of groups can ask members, previous volunteers, or donors to help with the program. The committee will need to decide how the program will function, as well as how to promote it and track the results.

  • Announce the fundraiser at a meeting or via the group's newsletter, along with a request for people to join the committee.
  • Reach out to members and/or past volunteers who have indicated that they are interested in helping with fundraising.
  • Once a few people have volunteered, encourage them to reach out to others they think may be interested in helping.

Once you have at least a few committee members committed to the fundraiser, assign someone on the committee to put together a meeting agenda and host an initial meeting so the group can come up with a plan and start making decisions.

Choose an Ink Cartridge Recycling Program

The first step in starting an ink recycling fundraiser is to sign up with a company that offers this kind of program. Most ink cartridge recycling programs are similar, with some variation. Prices vary by cartridge type, ranging from a few cents to a few dollars per cartridge. Some programs allow individual donors to ship in their cartridges directly, while others require organizations to collect cartridges to ship in bulk. Some accept only inkjet cartridges, while others accept laser toner and other items. A few programs to consider include:

  • Planet Green Recycle - When your nonprofit group signs up for Planet Green Recycle program, you'll be assigned a program ID code that you'll need to share with supporters. Anyone who wants to donate inkjet cartridges to support the organization can mail them directly to the company. They'll just need to download a free shipping label and enter the correct program ID code. You can also collect cartridges and mail them in periodically, also being sure to mark the package with your code.
  • Funding Factory - Local businesses and individuals who register with Funding Factory can find participating nonprofits via the site and choose which group they want to benefit from their donated inkjet cartridges, which they can send in directly, without having to bring them to you. This can be beneficial because you may receive donations from people who aren't directly involved with your organization. You can also collect cartridges to ship in yourself.
  • Dazz Cycle - If your organization is willing to collect cartridges, rather than opting for a program that allows individuals to ship their own donations to the company, Dazz Cycle is a good option to consider. This program accepts both inkjet and laser printer toner cartridges, plus cell phones. They also provide printable flyers that can be sent home with students or players, or otherwise provided to supporters.

You may want to consider signing up for more than one program, to allow for maximum flexibility and earning potential. No matter which program(s) you choose, review the program rules carefully. Most accept only certain cartridge models and may reduce the amount sent to the charity if items that they don't accept are sent in. After all, the companies pay for items to be shipped to them. Shipments of items they can't use drive up their out-of-pocket expenses.

High Cost of inkjet printing

Arrange Drop-Off Locations

To get people to participate in your ink recycling fundraiser, the program will need to be set up so that it's easy for them to take part. People won't want to store empty cartridges for a period of time before they can be donated to your organization. If that happens, they're likely to get frustrated and throw out their old ink cartridges before they can be recycled. If your group doesn't plan to rely solely on donors mailing in their own ink cartridges, you'll need to establish some convenient drop-off locations.

  • If your group has an office that is staffed on a regular schedule, set up a collection box for ink cartridges there.
  • Assign someone to bring a box to meetings, games, or other group events in order to collect cartridges.
  • Ask local businesses to place collection boxes on their premises that customers can use to drop off cartridges.
  • Make contact with the public library in your area and see if your group could put a collection box in their lobby.

Promote Your Program

To promote the fundraiser, come up with a fact sheet that explains the program and makes it clear that you are not asking for money. Emphasize that you are simply asking people to recycle items they would otherwise throw away. Include clear, specific instructions on where to drop off ink cartridges or how to mail them in so that your organization gets the credit. Start by soliciting support from members, volunteers, and donors, then reach out to other individuals and businesses to request assistance.

  • Print flyers of the fact sheet to distribute to members, volunteers, and potential donors.
  • Publish the fact sheet in the group's newsletter, or any other tool you use for volunteer communication.
  • Post the fact sheet on your group's website or social media pages.
  • Email the fact sheet to the organization's full contact distribution list.
  • Write a press release about the fundraiser and submit it to local media outlets.
  • Ask community organizations like Kiwanis clubs and professional organizations to encourage members to participate.
  • Add a line to donation receipts or thank you letters about how to donate to the program.

Track and Share Results

Once you have secured participants, you'll need to track the success of the program and share the impact with the committee members and donors who are saving printer cartridges on your behalf. Simply pay attention to the statistics provided by the company that is accepting the cartridges, so you can report the results.

  • Keep a running list of how many cartridges you have collected and how much money the organization has received. Publish the data on your group's website.
  • Create a fundraising thermometer graphic to illustrate how much money you've raised via the program. Post it on the collection boxes, publish it in your newsletter, and post it via social media.
  • Recognize the companies and individuals that donate used cartridges to your program online and in printed materials. You may even want to announce top donors at events.

Remember: When people know their efforts are making a positive impact, they'll be motivated to keep participating. They may even encourage other people to start donating ink cartridges to your group.

Boost Your Budget With an Ink Cartridge Fundraiser

It's important for clubs, groups, and other nonprofit or charitable organizations to find clever ways to raise money. While your group isn't likely to cover all of its operating expenses via an ink cartridge fundraiser, this can be a great way to create a new revenue stream. Once this type of fundraiser is set up and organized, it won't require a lot of ongoing effort for it to keep bringing in some cash. Whether you're looking to get started raising money or you're simply looking for something to add to other fundraising efforts, an ink cartridge fundraising program is definitely a good option to consider.

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