Most parents know about programs to earn money or equipment for schools by collecting cereal box tops or soup can labels. But there are other ways you can help your child's school through everyday purchases:
Loyalty cards. Check with your neighborhood grocery stores to see if they offer a program where a portion of your purchases can be donated to area schools. Or search online for these programs and participating retailers. This includes online purchases as well.
Gift cards. Inquire at your child's school to find out if they're participating in a gift card fundraising program. The school purchases gift cards in large quantities at a discount and sells them to you at face value. The school keeps the profit, and you can use the gift card for purchases you were going to make anyway. They also make great gifts!
Store credit cards. If you're a store credit card holder, check with those retailers to see if they have programs where a percentage of your credit purchases can be designated as a donation to your child's school.
School night. Some restaurants will host a benefit night for an area school and donate a portion of their sales to that school. In most cases, the customers must indicate that they'd like their transaction to be processed as part of the school's benefit night.
Smartphone apps. Search your mobile-phone app store for location-based applications that allow you to "collect" donations from participating businesses. The app will prompt you to "check in" when you're within range of participating business. Every "check-in" results in an automatic, predetermined donation from the business to your child's school.
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