When I was serving as Scoutmaster, my troop held two major fundraisers each year, but we also raised money every single day. How? By getting troop families to shop for groceries with special Kroger gift cards that generated monthly donations to the troop. Each month, we received a check for $300 or more based on the amount troop families spent on groceries and other products.
Recently, Kroger has changed its charitable donation program to something called Kroger Community Rewards. While it’s too soon to say whether the program is better or worse, it’s certainly worth enrolling your troop in. (If you don’t have Kroger stores in your area, you may well have affiliated stores; Kroger owns Fred Meyer, Ralph’s, Dillons, Frys, Smith’s, and QFC, and most if not all of those chains offer the program as well.)
With Kroger Community Rewards, you first set up an organization account and receive a nonprofit organization number (NPO). You’ll need your chartered organization’s help here, because you must have its letter of determination from the IRS.
Once you’re enrolled, troop families simply log in at www.kroger.com/communityrewards and select your troop, which they can do by entering your NPO or searching for it. Each quarter, you’ll receive a check from Kroger based on sales. Unlike the old gift-card program, donations aren’t tied directly to how much your troop families spend; instead, you’ll receive a share of the $3 million Kroger is giving away each year. most purchases help your troop earn rewards, although purchases like alcohol, tobacco, postage stamps, gift cards, and money orders are excluded.
You can find lots more information about the program, including a list of frequently asked questions, at www.kroger.com/communityrewards.
A couple of important notes:
- This program is intended for use by “group members, friends, supporters, and family members.” You can’t, for example, set up outside a Kroger store and ask strangers to sign up.
- Families must re-enroll in the program each year. This takes all of 30 seconds, but you’ll have to remind families once a year to sign up. (One idea: Have a few laptop computers and tablets available at each court of honor.)
Everybody likes to complain about the high cost of groceries. With programs like Kroger Community Rewards, you can feel a little better knowing some of that money is going to support your troop.