Schools across the country are severely underfunded. To add insult to injury, year after year budgets are being slashed even further and some school districts are even considering shortening the school year to compensate for financial woes. What if I told you that there was a way that you could help provide extra money to your child’s school without spending any extra money in the process? Would you be interested?
This process would not include hustling candles, frozen pizzas, magazine subscriptions or cookie dough to your coworkers. This process would not include walking your child from door to door while trying to escape stranger danger at every turn. This process would not have family and friends running in the opposite direction when they see you or ducking your phone calls.
What I’m talking about is the Box Tops For Education program (BTFE). Families across the country have been clipping box tops from products that they already buy and have in their cupboards and pantries. They turn the box tops into the schools and the schools turn them in for cold, hard cash. Up to 20 thousand dollars per school, per year. Last year the total amount paid out to schools by Box Tops For Education was in the neighborhood of 74 million dollars. I repeat 74 million dollars.
The sad part of this is that the program isn’t being used to it’s fullest potential in black communities and our schools often need this money the most. To make matters worse the schools in black communities who do participate normally do well so why don’t we take advantage of this program like we should?
For this very reason Ronnie and I have partnered with General Mills’ Box Tops for Education program in an effort to spread the word in the black community. We are dedicated to ensuring that our children get their cut of that 74 million dollar pie.
Recently I attended the National Box Tops University in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was blown away by the event. Local coordinators representing schools from across the country came out pumped up and ready to learn how they can earn even more money for their schools. Imagine a huge convention center room flooded with people pumped up about equipping kids with what they need to learn.
During National Box Tops University, I listened to keynote speakers and had conversations with school coordinators from across the country. They graciously shared their tips on what worked best for them. Below is a list of five ways you can begin earning money for your local school in order to help them fill the gap.
1. Clip Box Tops:
Yes it’s that simple. Clip your box tops and find out when your school collects them so you can submit on time. If your school isn’t involved in the Box Tops For Education program you can register them on the BTFE website and become the school’s coordinator yourself. If you look in your home you’d be surprised how many box tops are waiting for you to clip them. For a complete listing of participating brands check the Box Tops website here: http://www.boxtops4education.com/earn/clip/Brands.aspx
2. Run a Contest at Your School:
Once BTFE is up and running at your school, having a contest is a good way to generate buzz about the program. Some schools award individual students, some choose classrooms or some even choose entire grades. I heard from several successful coordinators who ran contests and they really offered a wide array of prizes. The prizes ranged from pizza parties for the winning classroom to dunking the principle in a dunking booth. The bottom line is don’t be afraid to get creative and don’t be afraid to just ask the students what they’d like.
3. Start a Competition: School vs. School:
You can also take the competition outside of your school. To get school spirit going and box tops coming in, try a friendly competition with another local school. The final goal is to see who can collect the most box tops but you’ll have plenty of fun in the process.
Did you know you can earn box tops digitally? If you shop at stores like Macys, Apple, Target or Kmart you can earn box tops for each purchase. Imagine if all of the parents at your school bought their items through the BTFE marketplace. How many additional eBoxTops would you earn? The best part is you don’t even have to count them and send them in. They’ll be deposited to your schools account automatically.
5. Spread the Word:
One of the easiest ways to earn extra money for your school is one of the oldest. Just spread the word. Let others in your community know that you’re collecting the box tops. One coordinator shared how after a feature in a local newspaper a woman dropped off a huge amount of box tops to the school. She had been collecting them but didn’t have a school to hand them over to until she saw the article. I spoke with another woman who said her grandmother saves all of her box tops in a coffee can and ships them to her twice a year to help the grand-babies. Just remember there are box tops in the homes of your family and friends just like they’re in your home so don’t forget to ask.
I hope this list proved helpful to you. In the upcoming months we’ll be providing more information on how you can take advantage of this awesome program to help fund our schools. We hope that you’ll join us in making a difference.
BMWK family are you already collecting box tops? Are you a coordinator? What works well for you and your school? If you don’t already will you begin now?
Disclaimer: We are national spokesbloggers for the General Mills Box Tops For Education program. General Mills covered travel and expenses for my trip to National Box Tops University. All words and opinions expressed here are voluntary, honest and my own.
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