Creating a Bulletin Board to collect fund raising labels

Phyl Campbell By Phyl Campbell, 31st Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Activism

Schools want to make money. For my son's school, I am the Box Tops for Education (BTFE) Coordinator. When students bring Box Tops into school, I make sure they get counted and submitted. Then BTFE sends us checks twice a year. Last year, my son's school earned $2,000. We are hoping to beat that this year.

Starting the year off right

Any time you are fundraising, starting off right is important. Like any other habit you want to develop, you need to train as soon as possible. The BTFE program only has two deadlines, November and March 1, but sending in box tops before they expire helps a school earn more credit. Just like filing tax returns early in the US helps the taxpayer get a refund early, and waiting until tax day means waiting for a refund, so too does turning in BTFE before the deadline enable accounts to be credited sooner and provides less chance for the BTFE to expire.

If people are not aware that their school is collecting BTFE, they will give them away or worse -- pitch them. Parents need to be trained right away to turn BTFE into school. While 10 cents each may not sound like a lot of money being pitched, if each child in a school of 500 turns in ONE box top a month, that's $450 over a nine month school term. Would you contribute to throwing away $450?

A Cool Display

At my son's school, we have a friendly class competition and the class that earns the most box tops gets a prize -- last year, it was an ice cream party. But children are very visual learners. We wanted a cool display that showed all the classes at once and didn't take up too much floor space.

Each classroom has a plastic jar on this pegboard labeled with the classroom teacher's name. The jars are clear so students can see them get full of box tops. Volunteer parents come in and empty the jars. When they do, they write the number of box tops on the outside of the jar. Students can have a math lesson comparing classes in a grade, all the classes, monthly totals -- the lesson possibilities are (almost) endless!

This year, I added an organizer for submission sheets. Submission sheets have (usually) 25 spaces upon which to attach BTFE. In the jars last year, they took up too much space. So I made three colored folders to match the colors of the hallways (my son's school has a yellow, a green, and a blue hallway; each hallway houses two grades in the K-5 school). I could have made a different color for each grade, and or I could have provided a separate folder inside the colored folder labeled with the teacher's name. As students start to use the new system, I will adapt the system to fit them.

Submission Sheets

One thing to note: the BTFE program has submission sheets that can be downloaded and printed. But I didn't like them, because the 25 slots were everywhere in a haphazard fashion. I wanted volunteers to be able to count a page of box tops at a glance, because we already have the difficult task of ensuring that no box tops are expired. To earn $2000, we submitted 20,000 BTFE. That's a lot of tiny print to check!

Last year, we had a fundraising campaign to earn iPads for every classroom. So the submission sheet was created with iPad-looking icons five across and five down. Although this image is in color, the sheet was photocopied in black and white. Then, when each icon is covered with a box top, a volunteer can count 25 at a glance!

Display Part 2: Hanging the jars

Last year, the jars hung on the peg board with a combination of zip ties and ribbons. It looked great in August, but small hands trying to fit their box tops in jars meant it didn't stay looking nice.

This year, I hung the jars on pegboard hooks. Using a pushpin, I made two small holes in the back of each jar. Then, using wire (to ensure uniform length, I used the wire from a box of pre-wired shipping tags) I poked the wire through both holes and pushed it all the way through. Then, I twisted the ends together (see image) and pulled the loop out. I taped the wire on both sides of the jar for extra support. Voila!

(The jars are placed with the Kindergarten closest to the floor and 5th grade closest to the top. The jar that is hanging halfway between two rows represents a split class of 4th and 5th graders.)


Box Tops For Education, Bulletin Board, Children, Crafting, Diy, School

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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author avatar Terry Trainor
31st Aug 2013 (#)

My cornflake packet is in the post.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
31st Aug 2013 (#)

Phyl, I never realized how much money a school could earn from box tops. I'm ashamed to say that I've often just recycled the boxes. No more.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
31st Aug 2013 (#)

Ha Ha Terry!

Connie -- yes, it really adds up! In a way, I don't like it because I know BTFE products are marked up to cover the cost of the donation to the schools -- I don't deny that it is a very cool marketing gimmick on their part. However, if I'm already buying the item and paying the higher price, might as well get something good from it, right?

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
1st Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks Phyl for the share. Nice to make donations interesting for kids. I remember during my high school days we used to have bar charts to show contribution from each class - and we used to get carried away to outdo others! siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
1st Sep 2013 (#)

Class competitions are so much fun. Thanks, Siva!

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