Online Scrip is a Great School Fundraiser

With Americans spending over $200 billion on gift cards every year, using an online scrip program at has the potential to earn more for our schools than cookie dough and other popular product fundraisers.

As a mom of three kids, I see a lot of school fundraisers coming across my kitchen counter.  There are book fairs, magazine drives, cookie dough and wrapping paper sales, holiday boutiques, and Fall Festivals.  I imagine these annual fundraisers must make a significant contribution to the school, but every year I wonder – really? Are these fundraisers truly worth the effort and expense? This is why I created a simple, streamlined, environmentally friendly, and of course, lucrative, fundraiser with scrip at my company, iCardMall. Our online scrip program is a way for schools to earn money when their families buy something they already love – gift cards.

I am continually impressed by the amount of work required by the amazing volunteers at school.  Not only are countless hours spent planning and preparing these fundraisers, but the events themselves require days, and even weeks, of set-up, management, and break-down.  As a parent, the first thing that comes to mind is that I am thanking my lucky stars that there are so many parents and care-takers out there who are willing to put their hearts and precious time into their schools’ cause.  As a business person, the important questions that come to mind are,

  1. What is the true effectiveness of these volunteers’ time
  2. Are the products being offered really something that the school’s families want or need to buy or are they wasting money on them?
  3. What is the impact of repeatedly asking neighbors, friends and families to buy from school fundraisers on relationships and are they saying no more and more often?

One fundraiser that I know is important to many schools and other non-profits is scrip. What is scrip? It’s just gift cards. The concept is simple: The school purchases gift cards at a small discount and resells those gift cards at face value, and keeps the difference.

The problem with scrip programs is that they require an HUGE amount of management. Typically they involve payment management,  intense record keeping, expensive inventory and distribution hassles.

Some larger non-profits that have a full time employee that specializes in managing their scrip program. In our schools, the scrip program management is mostly done by a volunteer – and so, sadly, the cost of this person’s time and effort is not really taken into account into the cost of the program.  Not only is the management of these programs unwieldy, but it can be a financial burden to the school as well. Sometimes the scrip programs requires pre-purchasing thousands of dollars of gift cards, only with the hope of reselling them. Then there are so many forms to fill out, both by the families ordering the gift cards, and the volunteers combining all those orders for the scrip company.  Schools must pay for shipping (which they usually forget to put into account when calculating the true profit from the scrip sale).  They also must pay for and take on the expensive liability of credit card charges and check fraud.

I just had to think – isn’t there a better way? I realized that there was. When I started my company iCardMall last year, one of the programs that I was most excited about was creating an online scrip program with my eGift card mall. By providing schools and non-profits a simple, unique promo code, their families and supporters can purchase gift cards directly from the website, and earn their designated school or non-profit a percent of their gift card purchase.  There is no pre-purchasing, no forms to fill out, no shipping to pay for, because all the gift cards are electronic .  All the ordering is done direct via the internet, and all the delivery is automatic via direct email.  Not only does this maintain privacy of orders, iCardMall takes on the cost and fraud liability of the credit card processing. There’s no chasing down who made what order.  All the volunteers need to do is send out the program informational flyers that we provide.

Check out this quick video to see how easy it is to print and fold a stylish greeting/gift card all in one!

With three school age children, nothing gives me more pleasure than sharing my profits with schools.  As the government cutbacks continue, there is no choice for the families and supporters but to help. What easier way could there be than to buy gift cards that we love, and are planning to buy anyway? iCardMall scrip buyers can easily purchase their gift cards at anytime, online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without filling out annoying forms and then waiting days or even weeks for their plastic gift cards to be delivered. Not only is this more efficient for all parties, it is an environmentally friendly solution. There is no carbon footprint or hazardous waste generated from all the manufacturing of plastic gift cards, warehousing, and especially shipping of those cards. It’s all done in an email.  All of this is available at an easy to use website, accessible to anyone, anytime.

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