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Updated on January 4, 2012


I have been involved in many fundraisers for my children’s various schools and sports teams, and Scrip is by far my favorite. I will explain why in a minute, but first, what is Scrip?

The word scrip is an Early English term for paper certificate or receipt. It usually had a monetary value and could be used to barter or purchase something. Early “paper money” might be a fairly accurate definition. Today, it is used to mean gift cards or certificates, sold to a non-profit or charity organization at a discount. These are the regular gift cards that you can purchase at a store, only they come from one central warehouse. Your organization can then turn around and sell them to its members at face value. For example, $100 of Gap gift cards is sold at a 9% discount, and would cost $91. Your organization then sells them for $100, and makes $9 profit on the sale. Here is an example of one family’s hypothetical monthly expenses, buying scrip cards from their child’s school to purchase:

Albertson Grocery Store
Olive Garden
Barnes and Nobles
Kohl's Department Store
Regal Cinema

Total purchased ----------$1275

Cost to school ------------$1210.75

Profit for school ----------$64.25

Now, here is the beauty of the program. If 100 families participated, your school would make $6425 a month!!!

The reason I like this type of fundraising over others is because you are not asking people to buy candy bars, or wrapping paper, or chances on a drawing. You are asking people to do what they are going to do anyway – buy groceries, see a movie, go on a business trip, etc. It is a very convenient way to buy gifts without making a special trip to the mall, especially around holiday season, and you are supporting your organization at the same time.

There are a few companies that sell scrip cards, and it is important to do your homework. Most require you to have a direct debit from your non-profit’s bank account, so that when the order is placed, the money is immediately withdrawn from the account. Ask them about backorders – do they keep enough in stock to fill orders? I like to do a 4 day turnaround, so if my families give me an order on Monday, I will place the order and have by Thursday. I also am fortunate enough to be able to keep an inventory, so I can stock up on popular vendors and sell those cards with no turnaround. The company I use is Great Lakes Scrip Co – – and I have never experienced a backorder. Also, I can order as many or few cards as I want, so if a family only wants one $25 card of a retailer I do not keep in stock, I can get it in 3 days. Of course, there is a shipping charge for each order, so I keep it to one shipment every week or two, depending on demand.

A final word of caution – scrip companies will stop selling the gift cards of any retailer who files for bankruptcy. Their policy is that they will not take returns on these. It is important to pay attention to any news about chain stores in financial trouble, because that is a good time to deplete your inventory if you have any, and only order as needed. When Border’s Books began having financial trouble, I stopped buying in bulk and encouraged my members to buy them if they had a need to go to a book store, and thus depleted my inventory even before the bankruptcy.

Selling gift cards through a scrip program is an easy and very profitable fundraiser for any non-profit organization. It is easy to set up an account, and once families and members are educated about the program, they are often eager to participate. With just a few volunteers and a set schedule, the program will run very smoothly. Scrip companies have software programs available to manage the accounting, and lots of advertising ideas to get the word out. It is truly the only fundraiser your organization needs.


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    • asmaiftikhar profile image

      asmaiftikhar 6 years ago from Pakistan

      voted up dear .Your hub is interesting and useful ful.