7 Easy Fundraisers That Benefit Your Child's School

These Passive Fundraisers Can Raise Money With Less Stress to Volunteers

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Want to help raise money for your child's school, but aren't sure how to work it into your budget? Are you a school parent volunteer looking for ways to raise money that your fellow school parents can manage? Several corporations now offer give-back or rewards programs that donate back a percentage of sales made to programs chosen by the purchaser. 

These programs are known as passive fundraisers.

Passive fundraisers often only require a shopper to register and designate what school or non-profit organization they would like to support. They do not cost any extra money on behalf of the purchaser. 

For many of these, smaller amounts of money trickle in on a regular basis. Rather than one big influx of funds from an event style fundraiser, passive fundraisers create small streams over the course of the school year. 

Here are ten popular passive fundraisers:


Through e-scrip, purchasers register their store reward cards or credit cards into the e-scrip system. They then select which organizations they would like to support - such as their school's non-profit program or PTA/PTO. From that point on, whenever the purchaser uses their registered cards at participating stores, the stores donate a percentage of the sale to the designated non-profit. E-scrip works with a variety of merchants, both online and in-store retailers. To access e-scrip, click here: e-scrip

Amazon Smile!

Amazon Smile! is similar to e-scrip in that you go to the website and designate what organization you would like a percentage of your sales to go to. After registering, simply begin your Amazon shopping from the amazon.smile.com URL for a percentage of sales from eligible items to go to your chosen nonprofit. 

I registered for Amazon Smile!, and was given a reminder to switch into Amazon Smile! when I started at Amazon.com. More about Amazon Smile! can be found here: smile.amazon.com

Box Tops For Education

Box Tops for Education is the passive school fundraising program for General Mills and related products. Several products from General Mills, Glad, Kraft, Hanes and other brands have a Box top symbol that parents collect and then submit to their designated school box top volunteer. 

A designated volunteer coordinator from your child's school then mails in the box tops. Each box top is worth 10 cents. Twice a year Box Tops for Education mails out checks redeeming the cash for mailed in box tops to schools who send in box tops. The wide variety of products makes it easy for families to collect box tops from the products they would already purchase. 

School supporters can sign up for coupons and special offers on products participating in the Box Tops program. Supporters can also download a smartphone app that can provide bonus credit to the selected school. More information about Box Tops for Education can be found here: www.Boxtops4education.com.

Grocery Store Rewards

Some grocery retailers have decided that their customers should decide which nonprofits should receive the companies annual donations to non-profits. Schools along with their PTA/PTO's that are registered 501(c) 3 corporations can participate by registering with the Rewards program. Once registered, individual shoppers can connect their rewards card to their chosen nonprofit. The details of these programs can vary between different grocery chains. There are different minimums and payout times. Still almost everyone purchases groceries so this can be a great way for families and school supporters to passively support their school.

Here are a few chains with such programs: 

Fred Meyer https://www.fredmeyer.com/topic/community-rewards-4

Fry's Food Stores https://www.frysfood.com/topic/new-community-rewards-program

Kroger https://www.kroger.com/topic/kroger-community-rewards-3

Publix http://corporate.publix.com/community/corporate-campaigns/publix-partners

You can also ask at your local grocery store if they have a rewards program that benefits charities and schools.

Office Depot/Office Max school supplies

If you shop for school supplies at Office Depot/Office Max, your school may be able to get a supply credit. 5% of the purchase price of qualifying school supplies can be credited to a local school when the purchaser gives the school's participation code at the time of purchase. In other words, buying certain supplies at Office Depot/Office Max can get a school of your choice needed supplies.

You can search for a school's participation code on the Office Depot/Office Max website, at the address given at the end of this paragraph. If your school does not have a participation code, you can email the information to Office Depot/Office Max to have your school included.

Shutterfly fundraising

Shutterfly, the online photo and print store, has a school fundraiser that is very similar to Amazon Smile, with a generous 13% of purchase price donated to schools. School organizations can contact Shutterfly to set up a storefront. Supporters who shop Shutterfly through the school storefront will have 13% of their purchase cost donated to the local school.

Sponsored Restaurant Days

A number of restaurants have special fundraising days. On these days, a portion of proceeds from the day's sales is donated to the sponsored School or school organization. 

Some businesses offering this type of fundraiser include Red Robin, McDonald's and Panera Bread. Check with locally owned eateries, as this is a common practice for restaurants throughout the nation.

Each business or store will have their own guidelines for these fundraisers percentage of profits donated, days available, and whether or not the volunteer organization will also supply workers during the fundraising time varies. If your group is interested in hosting such a fundraiser, start with contacting the restaurant you are interested in partnering with.

If you are a school parent volunteer seeking ways to increase funding for your child's school or extracurricular programs, you can use the above links to find out how to sign your school up for these fundraisers.

Be sure you are familiar with your local and state guidelines to be sure these fundraisers comply with local rules and guidelines.

By Lisa Linnell-Olsen
Lisa Linnell-Olsen has worked as a support staff educator, and is well-versed in issues of education policy and parenting issues.