Jun 16, 2010

Box Tops For Education

Box Tops For Education Scam?

            Box Tops For Education is a General Mills promotion going on among many packaged food items. They are tiny pink labels located on the top of the packaged item, you may have seen the commercials or heard about it from your kids school. Parents and school children are encouraged to collect the tiny labels and turn them in to the school, the school then turns them in to the General Mill Box Tops For Education and 10 cents is given to the school per pink label. Schools can earn extra cash for some of the things they need, and of course any little bit can help and it is better than doing nothing. But is it enough, and can Box Tops For education and the product manufacturers do more? Is it all gimmick and product promotion, or are they really trying to do something to help schools and kids.

According to The Center For Education Reform, there are about 98,793 public schools in the us. Toady's public schools spend $528.7 billion dollars annually, that's all public schools combined, and $10,889 dollars is the average district public school per pupil expenditure annually. General Mills Box Tops For Education since its start in 1996 has given 300 million dollars to 90,000 participating schools. Not bad, but when you do the math it really doesn't equate to much, at 10 cents per label if a school collected 5,000 labels that would be only 500 dollars. A school would have to collect 10,000 labels just to earn 1,000 dollars. Now I can see the earning potential provided that all students and families or at lest most of them will actively participate in the program, but what are the odds that a typical school will collect that many labels or more.

First you have to buy the Box Top products, sure some of them you may buy anyway but the Box Top promotions are intended to sell more of the products and you may be going out of your way to purchase things you may not have purchased otherwise. Then you must remember to clip the label off the package before you trash it, store them in a safe place, be sure not to loose them, and get them to your kids school or Box Tops For Education before the expiration date. General Mills does give about three years to the expiration date, so the biggest problem really is trashing the labels or loosing them.

The General Mills Box Tops For Education is a fair program and great marketing promotion, they have a website that you can join and see the earning of your child's school as well as participate in extra earnings for the schools. Upon signing up for the emails you will receive coupons to purchase more Box Top labeled products and recipes using participating products.

If you diligently collect the labels and encourage Friends and family to do it as well it may be more worth doing, the more the better. Consider this, you pay about five dollars for a box of cereal that has the box top and only 10 cents is donated if and when you turn in the label. And most participating products will cost you 3-5 dollars with the exception of some smaller items. The promotion is designed in a way were you will probably purchase the items because of the Box Tops but not remember to turn them in. This program is definitely more gimmick and product promotion then actually wanting to help US schools. If you are going to buy the product anyway then save the tops if you like but don't go out of your way to purchase things you would not have in the first place.

Considering the profit potential that The Box Tops For Education promotion is generating I feel more than 10 cents per label can be achieved especially in these times when schools really need it. Perhaps General Mills could match the earnings, doubling the donation that is going to the schools. I say try it out diligently, learn about it, keep track of the earnings for your kids school and stay active in your kids schools, donate your time and money when you can as well as the box tops. Help your school think about an event that can raise money for the school, their is much you can do.


homeschool101 said...

I hadnt seen the scam. I will keep it in light. We tried to collect them but we were told by General Mills the only way homeschoolers could use them is if they were in groups of 15 or more. Otherwise only Public schools and larger groups could use them. So we decided to try getting a group of schoolers together so they could benefit from the box tops as well. ;)

Cierese said...

Its been a while since the last comment was posted, but I'm still curious as to whether the worked with the homeschool group?

Elizabeth Aulsebrook, CFRE said...

Does anyone know how much the postage costs - for mailing the box tops? Thanks for this thought-provoking perspective.

lifeisagift said...

Elizabeth, I assume the price of mailing these would be dependent on the weight of the envelope or package being sent. I do collect them and just turn them into our home based Charter program and they send them in.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if you buy a $5 box of cereal and only 10 cents is going to the school. It's better then nothing. I see no scam here. It's smart marketing and a brilliant idea. One classroom at my sons school collected over 3000 boxtops. That's over $300 from only one class. I don't see why anyone would not want to help our childrens schools. With all the cutbacks and things our schools are losing, this is the least we, as parents can do. How simple is it to cut a small piece off of a package befor tossing it? They don't expire for 2 years. I'm not saying buy something just because it has a boxtop. I'm saying it's not going to be an inconveniance for you to cut a boxtop off of something you would already buy, and send the 10 cents to your childs school. It's a no brainer!

Anonymous said...

I wont go out of my way for this "scam'ish marketing idea". If you really think your kid needs to take 10 box tops to school, then that is stupid, just give them a dollar and shut up and save everyone's energy.

take in considerations the cost to pay all general mills employees just for box top participation.
Shipping of box tops.
This alone is a no brain'er to stop this dumb idea/scam.

stop your stupid liberalism and quit asking for free handouts.
If you want you school to have 10 cents, reach in your pocket, and give your kid the damn dime. "SHEESH!!"

Anonymous said...

Box tops are a scam! When we tell our kids to eat right we are being hypocrits by buying those items. I do not support that program. It also time consuming. I'd rather donate money.

Andrew said...

Seems to me you'd be doing your school a much bigger service by buying a generic product and then donating the cost difference to the school. Or just handing the school a five dollar bill would be the equivalent of getting 50 boxtops

Anonymous said...

We got the box top thing in the school folder this week. We buy fruits, veggies, grains like rice and buckwheat, and we buy meat. There are no box tops in my pantry. This tells me that the box top thing is all about getting kids hooked to fake food and junk food. It's a scam and your family's long term Health is worth more than a new computer for the school.