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How to Make Money Ethically in Your Community

Jennifer Birtles 4th Aug 2020 2 Comments

Reading Time: 5 minutes

According to research and tracking from The Co-operative Group, sales of ethical goods and services in the UK have increased tenfold in 20 years, now hitting record highs. Alongside this, more people are taking ethical approaches to business and investing. While others are paying attention to where the money they spend actually goes.

As more people care about the impact their money has on the world, the more opportunities there are to make money ethically. We’ve done some brainstorming to put together some ideas on how you can get started making money ethically in your community.

crowdfund projects

Crowdfunding can support your community projects

The first example of crowdfunding happened in 1997, but has continued to grow in popularity ever since. It’s now one of the most popular ways for individuals and small businesses to raise funds for new ideas. No matter what your project is, crowdfunding is a great way to raise awareness of what you’re doing and to encourage people to donate.

Brainstorm ideas of services or products that you think would benefit your community. It could be anything like doing a litter pick to keep the community clean, offering a transport service for those with limited accessibility, or opening up a food kitchen. There are no real limitations for what you can offer – whatever you think would be beneficial, it’s worth trying to get it started.

You can offer these services freely to those who need it. Use crowdfunding platforms such as Crowdfunder, Kickstarter, or Go Fund Me, to promote what you’re doing and raise the cash for the project. Crowdfunded projects are great money-making opportunities as you have so much control and make it flexible to fit with your needs, deadlines, and specific financial goals.

Create sustainable tourism projects

Sustainable tourism is becoming increasingly popular on a global scale, but it can be improved locally, too. If you live near a UK beauty spot, or your local area receives a lot of tourism, setting up a business focusing on sustainable tourism is a good way to make money ethically.

You can also work with appropriate charities on these by donating a proportion of the profits. This way you benefit from the charity’s help and advice, they can also promote your business as a way of travelling responsibly.

Through these projects you can:

  • Help safeguard nature
  • Minimise the impact of tourism on climate change
  • Tackle leftover waste and pollution from tourism

One great example of sustainable tourism that takes very little capital to get started is running walking or cycle tours of your city. Learn some fun facts and the history of the area, and take visitors around local businesses such as independent cafes to support the economy, too.

run classes and programmes

Run community classes to make money ethically

Consider running classes and courses to teach people to get fit or learn a new skill. If you have particular knowledge or expertise then this is an easy way to make money from it. Keep costs as low as you can so that everyone in the community can access and afford it.

Speak to your local library and see whether they would let you use space for free if you need a classroom. Or whether they would be able to give you accessibility to particular resources that could help. Would a town hall or community centre be able to offer you additional space for free, if you needed it.

If you wanted to run an outside programme finding local parks or other large open spaces a local park will keep costs down.

Run errands

TaskRabbit is a service where you can choose taskers to help out based on reviews, skills and price. You can find help on anything from shopping, deliveries, assembling furniture, cleaning, almost anything that someone may need help with. It allows people to simply schedule in when it works from them.

Easy to get started on the platform by simply signing up and you can start helping people with errands and tasks immediately.

make money upcycling

Upcycling is the process of transforming useless or unwanted products into new materials with a use and value. As we strive towards a more environmentally-friendly way of living, upcycling and recycling has become common practice. Giving products a new lease of life is a good way to make money, while also being environmentally friendly. You can always find plenty of unwanted and used items to upcycle on Craigslist, Gumtree, or in charity shops.

Check out our article How to Make Money Flipping Thrift Items for all the information you need on how to get started.

Start a social enterprise

Social enterprises are businesses set up with particular social ideas at the forefront. They seek to maximise profits whilst at the same time maximising benefits to society and the environment. They want to maximise improvements in financial, social, and environmental well-being, which includes maximising social impact alongside profits for co-owners.

Set up a social enterprise to hire people in your community who have been out of work for a while, or may struggle to get work due to personal circumstances. Many of these provide work for those who might otherwise struggle to get it, while at the same time benefiting the community around them. St Nick’s in York is a brilliant social enterprise – where they employ former offenders in a community recycling programme.

arrange local events

Arrange local events to raise cash for yourself AND community

Organising local events can be anything. Gigs, music festivals, food festivals, fairs and fêtes, and outdoor and drive-in cinemas. Local events are always a good way of making money and getting the community involved.

Utilise local spaces like parks and greens. But, you’ll need to make sure you have the right permissions. Usually with any communal outdoor spaces you’ll come across restrictions about the number of people attending and sound limitations in place.

Getting a charity involved is a good way to boost involvement, too. By donating a percentage of profits to a charity you’ll be able to enlist their help to  promote the event, and will likely want to work with you on future events.

start a community zine

Zines have been around for a long time, but have increased in popularity in the past several years. A community zine can be a good way to communicate local news, events, and information within a community. Encourage members of the community to contribute pieces of work, whether that be writing, photos, sketches, or design.

The founder of The Big Issue, John Bird, originally wanted to create a sustainable alternative to begging and crime. It has now helped at least 92,000 homeless people earn more than £115 million. Which shows how massively sustainable and ethical projects can grow.

more useful reading

Looking for more socially conscious ideas on how to make and spend money? Check out the articles below.

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2 years ago

Lots of options for this.

3 years ago

Some great ideas here. Thank you.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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