My wife would make a great detective. The way she scours our pantry, counters and trash cans is impressive. But she’s not searching for evidence to solve a crime. Instead she’s looking for money in the form of Box Tops.
Box Tops for Education is a program developed by General Mills that allows people to earn money for their schools. For each box top that is clipped and submitted, General Mills will donate 10 cents to your school. Through the Box Tops for Education program, schools around the U.S. have earned more than $74 million in 2012 and over $475 million since the program’s inception. The best thing about earning money from this program is that there are no strings attached. Schools and PTOs can use the money as they see fit.
Last school year, my wife and other dedicated parents and kids worked to earn over $1500 for my children’s school (the average school earns more than $900 per year). They plan to purchase educational materials and upgrade their physical education equipment.
A few weeks ago, I was chosen, along with The Young Mommy Life, Double Saving Divas, Black and Married with Kids, Cutie Booty Cakes, Mommy 2K, Houseful of Nicholes, to be a member of the Box Tops for Education Blogger Panel. As a member of the panel, I had the opportunity to get some insider information about the program at the General Mills Headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. Our host, Iman Johnson, was gracious, helpful and a wonderful resource during our stay.
On my first day, we toured the headquarters and learned many things about General Mills. It was interesting to discover all of the brands that they make and to see how they’ve incorporated all of the diverse products into a cohesive company culture. Later on, the other members of the panel and I participated in a consumer insights panel to share our opinions on how Box Tops can be more relavent to consumers/parents.
My favorite part of the day was the mini-photography classes that we got to attend. I love photography and I was eager to learn as much as I could from a talented team of professionals.
Lifestyle photographer, Joe Dickie, gave us some incredible tips on photographing people and places by capturing the essence of the subject matter in the truest form. Joe is passionate about what he does and I was enrapt by his session.
We also learned about food photography from Sr. Photographer, Chuck Nields and food stylist Cindy Lund. I never realized how much effort went into creating photos of food that look appetizing. Because of the things I learned from them, I’m now able to make my boring food posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram much more interesting.
But the highlight of the trip was attending National Box Tops University. Over 600 Box Tops coordinators converged on the Minneapolis Convention Center to share ideas and learn how to maximize their local Box Tops efforts.
Over the course of the day, we interacted with General Mills executives, attended seminars, and met some great people from around the country. I was inspired by the coordinators’ dedication to raising money for their schools. The nation’s top money maker was Redbird Mission School in Beverly, KY. They collected enough box tops to raise over $20,000 (for those doing the math, that’s over 200,000 box tops).
If your school doesn’t already participate in the Box Tops for Education program, I encourage you to get started right now because it’s an easy way to raise money. To help you make the most of your fundraising efforts, I plan to post useful tips and ideas throughout the year. In the meantime, I’m going to pick up a few pointers from my wife.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Box Tops Blogger Panel. General Mills paid all expenses for my trip to their headquarters.