Have you ever felt tangled between wanting to help out a fundraiser and wanting to avoid the refined sugars in their chocolate fundraising products? Then you’ll love Living Fundraisers’ green concept! Think organic herb and vegetable growing kits, seed-embedded Christmas cards and more – all Australian made and owned!

Living Fundraisers product range

Living Fundraisers are changing the way kindergartens, schools, childcare centres, sporting groups and charitable organisations raise funds by providing healthy alternatives to the pervasive chocolate drive. Furthermore, organisations get to keep 40% of all sales and there are no upfront costs.

I think they’ve really hit the nail on the head. I love that Living Fundraisers gets kids and adults excited about healthy living and that their products provide an affordable means to take action. Take for example the self-contained herb growing kits, $6 each. Simply tear open the packet, toss in the seeds, water regularly and watch them grow. The herbs grow inside the specially-designed bag. You don’t need to re-pot them. Each herb pack contains everything you need to grow your herbs. They use organic seeds and soil to ensure the best possible quality and environmental benefits.

I’m looking forward to seeing our parsley flourish in our office balcony garden!

Parsley organic herb growing kit by Living Fundraisers

Such a great concept right? I think the products are a refreshing change to chocolates and would practically sell itself!

Founded by Rachel Taylor (41) and Rebeka Jageurs (31) as part of their Master of Entrepreneurship & Innovation studies at Swinburne University of Technology, the women have quite the aspiring female entrepreneurship story. They come from vastly different corporate careers (Rebeka worked in construction management while Rachel was  in the events and communications industry) and seem to be going from strength to strength with Living Fundraisers. Every step of the business echos their community philanthropy. Living Fundraisers products are made at Paramount Workforce, a community organisation supporting people with disabilities to lead lives of achievement; they also donate a percentage of sales to the Happy School and Greening Australia, with over $1 million raised for the Australian community to date!

Living Fundraiser founders, Rebeka and Rachel

Here’s an interview with Rachel and Rebeka –

What has been your greatest challenge with launching a business such as Living Fundraisers?
Starting the business from scratch with very little money was challenging. As we’ve grown, customers have requested new and different products and keeping up with the cashflow required to invest in new ideas has been a challenge. We sometimes have more ideas than we can keep up with!

Tell us about the design and packaging of your products
Aesthetic and functional design is a key focus for us. We put a lot of time and energy into creating products that look great and are practical, but also robust and light enough to cope with the rough and tumble of kids bringing them home from school. We work a great Australian designer who does most of our artwork, along with an illustrator in Argentina. We create the products ourselves in consultation with customers and our manufacturers. Many of our product designs have evolved over the year to improve the way they work or to keep the designs fresh and appealing.

Our Grow-in-the-bag Herb pouches are designed to grow fresh herbs indoors on a kitchen windowsill so your fresh herbs are always handy. The pouches make excellent gifts for housewarmings, thank yous, or for birthdays.

The Vegie growing kits continuing everything needed to grow vegies to seedling stage in our custom-designed  mini-greenhouses. They use special growing disks made from coconut fibre that expand in water to create a little nest for the seeds to grow in.

Our flower growing kits come in beautiful green pots made from recycled bamboo and rice husks. The pots are hardy, but are biodegradable, so once you have finished with them, they can be thrown in the compost bin or into the garden.

Our Seed-embedded Christmas cards feature paper that can be planted to grow an native Australian daisy, and our birthday and greeting cards come packed into handy keepsake boxes that mean you’ll never have to rush out to the newsagent again!

What is your best seller?
Our overall best-seller is our Grow-in-the-bag Herb kits, as they are the product we started with and can be grown virtually all year round. Parents can literally sit them on the windowsill and use them for daily dishes. They are so convenience, affordable and offer an opportunity for children to be inspired to cook.

What is Living Fundraiser’s revenue model?
We make a percentage of the sale of products, less manufacturing and shipping costs.

What are your goals for Living Fundraisers in the next year?
We’ve been growing rapidly since we started 5 years ago. We will continue rolling out new product options so that schools, kindergartens, childcare centres, charities and groups have a great range of healthy alternatives to chocolate drives for fundraising.

Can you share a few local dining recommendations?
Our office is in Northcote in inner Melbourne. Our favourite nearby restaurant is Hellenic Republic, co-owned by George Calombaris. The Cypriot salad seems like a simple side dish, but is just extraordinary. We can’t get enough of it. Here’s the recipe.

We’re also big fans of Shane Delia’s Maha, with its focus on fresh seasonal produce and exotic spices and flavours.

What’s one tip you can offer to readers trying to fundraise?
Make it easy for yourself and for your participants by giving clear, simple instructions and deadlines. Most people are happy to contribute if they know exactly what they need to do and when.

Close up of Living Fundraisers organic herb growing kit

To learn more about Living Fundraisers or to request for a sample kit, go to www.livingfundraisers.com.au