To Supporters of Fair Trade:
We are delighted to share that Fair Trade Resource Network has decided to remain an independent organization, serving the Fair Trade community! FTRN’s Board of Directors, and over 95% of June’s survey respondents, want FTRN to continue as an independent organization educating about all approaches to Fair Trade. The extent to which FTRN does this is now up to you.
To be a full-time organization, FTRN needs additional donations and pledges of around $35,000 per year. An average gift of $15 per month from 200 people will enable us to produce webinars on key issues, develop & update free online flyers & resources, organize advocacy meetings, make public presentations, and more. Plus, we desire to initiate & expand new programs, like organizing a multistakeholder process to create a legal definition of Fair Trade in the U.S.
Let us explain why inclusive Fair Trade education and FTRN depend on you:
1. Less than 1% of money spent each year on Fair Trade in the U.S. goes to education & advocacy.
Tens of millions of dollars go to marketing of brands, products & certifications.
Tens of millions of dollars go to certification & recognition systems.
Tens of millions of dollars go to additional income, social premiums & support to producers.
Less than $1M goes to education & advocacy.
2. The tiny amount spent on Fair Trade education & advocacy is split by around 10 national organizations, each with somewhat different interests.
Most Fair Trade advocacy groups have reduced their staffing & capacity in the past few years due to the lackluster economy, increasing diversity & fragmentation in the Fair Trade movement, and moving on to other social justice priorities. That leaves less than an average of $100,000 annual budget per organization. We’ve proposed consolidation to several allies, but diverse interests & differing organizational missions have made it unlikely.
3. Few sources besides individual donors seem willing to support inclusive Fair Trade education.
Philanthropic foundations rarely see their priorities aligned with Fair Trade education, so little grant money ends up with Fair Trade advocacy groups. Businesses usually fund certification and marketing. Producers are struggling to develop their own co-ops & organizations. Governments aren’t keen to support a market-based strategy when their budgets are shrinking. Most community groups, independent stores, and individual advocates are on shoestring budgets. But we know marginalized producers need Fair Trade, and Fair Trade education encourages choices that save and transform lives and communities!
4. We proudly serve as an effective and efficient nonprofit with just $95,000 in expenses each year.
After operating at part-time capacity for 12 years, FTRN finally achieved full-time operations in 2011. We don’t rent office space and don’t travel much. Yet our program participation is growing by 20-30% per year, with more web visitors (100,000 per year), more newsletter readers (over 2200 per month), and more World Fair Trade Day participants than ever. Our new webinars, meetings, wall calendars, intro booklets and public presentations are very well appreciated.
So, to remain a leader in the movement, and to continue our core programs and expand our new ones, we need support from you. An average gift of $15 per month from 200 people will keep us full-time.
Thank you for supporting multi-partisan Fair Trade education & discussion for the benefit of marginalized farmers, artisans and workers!
The FTRN Board of Directors:
Scott Codey – FTRN Board Chair
Chris O’Brien – FTRN Board Treasurer; Director of Sustainability, American University
Stephanie Sheerin – grant advisor of the Fair Trade and Economic Justice Fund, and lead organizer, Montclair Fair Trade Coalition
Tex Dworkin – Director of Social Media, Global Exchange
Adam Eidinger – Director of Mintwood Media Collective and Contractor for Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
Billy Linstead Goldsmith – National Coordinator of Fair Trade Campaigns, Fair Trade USA
Mary Embry – founder of Fair Trade Bloomington, and core teaching faculty in the Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design Department, Indiana University
Jeff Goldman, Executive Director, Fair Trade Resource Network