Anatomy of A Cuppa Change Initiative: Clear Your Mind Of Can’t

Our Cuppa Change initiative at Earl Grey Public School continues to gather strength.  On each order day, every two weeks, we get about 10 to 14 new orders, which is great; as the word gets out, new people come on board and already established customers order more coffee.

While the kids in the Earl Grey Public School’s FTC Club know the worthiness of their project in Terre Cassée, Haiti – they are continuing to fundraise for the school which they helped to earthquake-proof last year – our biggest challenge is the busy-ness of families and how hard it is for parents to get their orders into the school.  I know this phenomenon on a visceral level, because our house is one of those busy places.  Our dining room table is perennially covered with work to be done, school agendas and homework, trip forms that need to be signed, bills that need to be paid, unread newspapers, and at least one pair of sports socks.

So how do we counteract overwhelm to get coffee to them that wants it?

Good question.

I think the answer is in making it easy to order.  I carry a few order forms with me pretty much everywhere I go.  Often I run into parents out and about – and the sight of me triggers that thing they didn’t get around to:  filling out an order form.  And voila!  I have one with me.  I also send out soft copies of order forms by e-mail to parents, and of course it’s available for download on  We’re also making occasional announcements on the school PA to remind people, for example, that the winter holidays are coming up and fair trade coffee makes for a great gift.

Product sampling is also a good idea.  The teachers at Earl Grey who run the FTC Club very kindly put on a pot of our Alternative Grounds fair trade coffee in the staff room at the school, so that teachers could sample it.

If people can’t afford to buy whole bags of coffee, or aren’t the type to make coffee at home, then two other ideas can be helpful in keeping your initiative going:  selling to offices, so that employees have a great cup of java whenever they need it; and putting the coffee on offer at events, so that people can buy it for $1.50 a cup.  What event is your school or organization holding where you can sell Cuppa Change coffee and raise some money for a worthy cause?

If you believe in your cause, others will believe in it, too.  At a high school open house my family visited this past week, I saw a poster in the hall that read ‘Clear Your Mind Of Can’t.’  An excellent motto for a Cuppa Change initiative – and any worthy international development project.

One response to “Anatomy of A Cuppa Change Initiative: Clear Your Mind Of Can’t

  1. Readers may also be interested that many years before Fairtrade existed, we imported almost 3 tonnes of instant coffee from Tanzania to the UK to help support manufacturing in the Third World. Last week BBC radio interviewed me about our ‘Campaign Coffee’, that helped to start the idea of ethically sourced coffee in Great Britain. Our slogan: ‘Start stirring for a more just world.’ The broadcast is now available on YouTube (4 minutes):

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