Thursday, August 19, 2010

Businesses Promote Give Back to School Shopping

Businesses are hoping to involve the customer in tried and true methods of collecting everything from dollar donations for school lunch programs, such as Whole Foods' latest initiative, their partnership with the saladbar project , to donating towards backpacks for needy children through Staples’ latest philanthropic effort, StaplesGive-Backpack.

Other businesses have kicked off back to school shopping campaigns with what they describe as “pay back” programs that are designated for support of local schools.Large and small retail businesses and consumer products companies, all across this country, are hoping this back to school shopping season will be a good one, and that makes them all the more interested in attracting customers, mostly the parents of these school kids, by getting them involved in raising money for their local schools through their purchases.

Although some cynics may consider this just a another cause marketing ploy, many of these companies have a very strong corporate commitment to supporting schools in other ways and see the “give back” programs as being in alignment with their overall strategic giving plan that is implemented throughout the entire school year.
Here listed below are some large and small businesses that are seeking ways to support schools with their “buy and give back” programs.

Take Charge of Education® is a school fundraising program: Target credit-card holders can designate up to 1 percent of their card purchases to the K-12 school of their choice. To have advantage of this program, visit. At present, more than 102,000 schools and more than 3.5 million Target customers participate in the program. Celebrating its 10-year milestone this year, Target has donated more than $200 million to participating schools since the program's inception. Launched in 2006, the Target Field Trip Grants Program helps educators bring learning to life through the distribution of field trip grants. In the program's first year, nearly $800,000 was awarded to 800 educators across the country. Parents, in association with their schools, can apply for the program online.

General Mills
We all shop for groceries, sometimes two or three times a week –- or more. Now turn those shopping trip into easy cash for your school, and encourage friends to do the same! Just look for the Box Tops logo on hundreds of products like Cheerios®, Hamburger Helper® and Kleenex®, in almost every aisle of the store. All you need to do is clip and send them to your school’s Box Tops coordinator —- each one is worth 10¢ for your school.

Safeway Inc.
One of the largest corporate supporters of education, giving more than $20 million to schools and education programs each year.
This week Safeway launched its 6th Annual 10% Goes Back to Schools program, a special in-store initiative that unites over 150 food manufacturers in support of education and students throughout the United States.
Through the 10% Goes Back to Schools program, which runs through September 14, 2010, Safeway is partnering with food manufacturers to donate 10 percent of the sale price of more than 2,300 selected products to local schools designated by customers.

Office Depot
This unique cash-back program for schools can not only benefit your child's school now, but help keep them in free supplies all year long. All you need to do is make a qualifying purchase at Office Depot and present your school's 5% Back to Schools program ID - and we'll take care of the rest.

It’s not just the big stores and large companies that help cusotmers shop and give back to local schools. Just in my backyard, there is an independent bookstore, (yes, one of a rare breed) where they donate 10% of purchase to a shopper’s designated school; a local Chamber of Commerce that created a Shop Local program with a collaborative of twenty businesses that give back a percentage of sales to the local schools for supplies; a candy store that gives all proceeds of sales to the local school; and a clothing boutique that gives five percent back to the local elementary school if the customer lives in that school’s district.

There are dozen's of ways any sized business can come up with ways to involve their customers with support of their local schools, school children, and education. Finding there is a need is easy. One just needs to take a ride on the school bus around the corner.

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