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BellaOnline's Early Childhood Editor


What is Scrip

Parents of young children starting preschool or elementary school, members of religious organizations or supporters of non-profits are often confronted with pitches to “buy scrip” without any sufficient explanation of what scrip is or why one would buy it. I thought it might be helpful to have a description that parents could find or that schools could use to explain this somewhat confusing fundraiser. **Please see the end of this article for copyright permissions for schools and non-profits wishing to use this article to explain and promote scrip in your community.

Scrip is a fundraiser used by many schools, religious organizations and non-profits that raises funds at essentially no cost to their parents, members or supporters (for ease of language, the remainder of this article will refer to a generic “non-profit” with “members”). Scrip is, essentially, gift cards or certificates that are purchased or ordered at face value by members through the non-profit. The non-profit is able to purchase these certificates at a discount through businesses or scrip vendors and keep the difference for use by the organization. When scrip is used actively by many members, it can become a significant source of fundraising income.

The best thing about scrip is that, unlike traditional forms of fundraising, scrip costs members no money they wouldn’t already be spending. Members simply must commit themselves to remembering to order the scrip (usually in advance, though some organizations keep popular or local scrip on hand for purchase) and remembering to carry and use the gift cards or certificates. Most scrip programs require members to write a check or give cash directly to the organization and the organization writes a check (minus the discount) to the business or scrip vendor. Discount percentages range from 1% to as high as 20% or 25% for certain types of businesses. Increasingly, programs are attempting to offer credit card purchase of scrip, but as credit card fees offset a significant portion of the discount, this is not common.

Organizations with fundraising requirements for their members may offer scrip and give members credit for all or a portion of the profit from the discount. This can be a huge benefit to members as they (and friends and family members on their behalf) can meet their requirement without spending on product fundraisers or time spent on selling.

Many scrip programs offer dozens or even hundreds of national and regional companies. Types of scrip commonly available include:

-- Grocery Stores
-- Gas Stations
-- Department Stores
-- Restaurants
-- Hotels, Cruises and other Travel
-- Clothing and other Retail Stores

The list of available companies for scrip is often surprising to members as they realize the high level of support they can give by shopping where they already shop. Scrip can also be a useful way to budget spending, by purchasing a specified amount of scrip for a certain category (for example, four $100 scrip cards at the grocery store for the month).

Consider using scrip to support your local school, religious institution or other non-profit. Providing much needed funds at no cost to you is too good to pass up!

** Non-profits, school groups and religious institutions may reprint, duplicate and distribute this article, in its entirety, starting with the second paragraph through print newsletters or handouts, or emails without public web archives. Organizations without fundraising requirements may omit the 4th paragraph which addresses this subject. This article may not be published online, but can be linked and referred to without additional permissions. Please include the following attribution or byline: Nicki Heskin, Early Childhood Parenting Editor, –

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Content copyright © 2018 by Nicki Heskin. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Nicki Heskin. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Nicki Heskin for details.


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