Community Reward Programs

What is a community reward program?

Most likely we are familiar with those little plastic tags that jumble our keychains. Companies call them loyalty cards, reward cards, plus cards, you get the picture. Well a community reward program is very similar to the loyalty card system except you get money back! You (or your donors) will have to spend money for the organization to get a small return.

A few large corporations have community reward programs to give a portion of their profits to nonprofits. From my experience, it’s not large sums of money; however, every little bit helps. Right?!

How it works?

The process is fairly simple. You go to the respective store’s website, apply, wait about 10 days, and voilà! I am aware of two different community rewards programs in the area – Kroger (familiar with) and Meijer (new to me). Below are direct links to communitytheir overview of the program, applications or FAQs.

Kroger – Application Instructions and FAQs

Meijer – Overview of program, FAQs, and Application

As a heads up there are a few things that you need to know:

  1. For Kroger
    1. Have to re-enroll annually
    2. Each Plus Card holder must link their card (no adding your donors as a group!)
    3. You’ll get a check quarterly
    4. Amount of check is based on (1) how many Plus Cards are linked to your organization and (2) how many nonprofits in the community are participating
    5. Not all purchased items are credited to earn a donation (exclusions include things like gas, lottery tickets, and alcohol).
  2. For Meijer
    1. Be a school, school organization, or a religious organization
    2. Customers (aka your donors) have to use a Meijer credit card, debit card, or cash to earn credit towards a donation

What do customers (or donors) need to do?

After you enroll and are approved, then people can sign up. They do have to start online or go to the store to link their loyalty card to your organization. Customers also have to have register for an account.

For Kroger go here. For Meijer go here.

Odds and Ends

Do you like shopping online? I strongly encourage you to check out shopformuseums.com. It is a similar principal to community reward programs. You start off by registering, then select a museum that you would like a portion of your purchase to go to, and then shop at the specific retailers! The retailer list is 21 pages long and include big timers like Amazon.com, Target, and one of my favorites Ancestry.com. Many retailers list the percentage of your purchase they give to the museum of your choice. Downside is that you have to remember to login on Shop For Museums before shopping and go to a retailer’s website from their homepage. It is the only way to connect your purchase and the donation. Again, we are not talking big bucks, but green is green.

Bottom Line

Community reward programs are a great way to connect with all types of donors and connect with business in our community. Marketing is a must for this type of donation to work well. Tell everyone about it – blast it all over the interwebs! In my opinion, if I need to buy groceries, why not spend 5 minutes to register online at Kroger to link my Plus Card to a nonprofit in my community? I am already buying a necessity and helping out a nonprofit in the process. Easy-peasy!

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