I’ve written a lot of blogs in the past few years. Some have been provocative, others have been daring, a few like the one about Lilly my beloved Scottish Deerhound have been described as sensitive. One or two have even been viewed by some of my readers as romantic. But the one you are about to read will never be described in any of those ways.
There’s nothing sexy, romantic, daring or provocative about scrip. I mean, the whole thing sounds like something from a ’40s wartime rationing program.
And yet it allows Hiller’s to provide the very lifeblood of more than 300 Detroit-area groups, schools and organizations, a program that lets you raise money for what’s done anyway: grocery shopping.
And I think of the program often. I really do. You see, I believe in this notion that doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive. I want to be a successful grocer, sure, but I also believe, with the very marrow of my being, that I am not truly successful, not worth a lick of salt, if I am not also helping, if I’m not contributing.
To whom much is given, much is required and while I’m not the world’s most religious guy, I truly believe that.
And I’ve been given. This morning, as every morning, before dawn’s forgiving break, I walked my cherished dogs. I have two: Lilly, my often storied Deerhound and Al, my Doberman. We rambled and rested and rambled and rested, under ice covered trees with owls hooting and deer staring with wary eyes ready to break and run for any or maybe no good reason. Those are the times of my life that belong to me alone and during which my thoughts are best fused with the yin and yang of my daily existence.. Sometimes I mull over my business and how it’s doing. But recently my thoughts have been more focused on how I want to help others and empower them to do the same..
And… I thought of our scrip program. I’m proud of it. It’s what Hiller’s is about. For 17 years we have partnered with hundreds of organizations to raise money just by their supporters doing their weekly grocery shopping. It works like this: schools, religious organizations and groups like ALS of Michigan and Make-A-Wish Foundation, give their participants Hiller’s scrip cards. Money is put on the cards using cash, credit cards or checks, and the customer uses the card, much as one would use a gift card, to pay for purchases.
And here’s the thing: after every activation and reload, from $5 to $1,000, the organization gets a monthly Hiller’s check for 5 percent of that amount. Say you spend $100 at one of our seven stores. The group you represent automatically gets $5. Multiply that by scores of shoppers weekly, and you’re talking serious fundraising. In 2009, Hiller’s charitable partners raised themselves more than $250,000 .
With school budgets slashed to zilch and non-profits reeling, I thought about how our scrip program is needed now more than ever. Take Dee Dworman, a school volunteer who started the program at West Bloomfield’s Pleasant Lake Elementary School nearly a decade ago. Scrip sales are close to $8,000 monthly, paying for things like the school’s literacy library, back-to-school barbecues and family fun nights. “We’ve been able to have so many things at our school that we wouldn’t be able to have without this program,” Dworman said. “That five percent is huge, and this is a year-round program so we’re making money even in the summer, when you still have to shop. It is free, easy and painless fundraising. We’re not selling anything.”
She particularly likes that in 2006 we switched from paper scrip to more-durable, bookkeeping-friendly plastic. Apparently other folk do too, since the program has really taken off. For the last two years, Katherine Murphy has been the coordinator at Our Lady of Victory school in Northville, which uses scrip to, among other things, fund its science program. Some of the revenue even goes toward tuition. “Oh, gosh. It’s so important,” she said of the program. “It’s comes out to a huge percentage of help for our school.”
I guess its true…this blog about scrip isn’t sexy, but it is damn satisfying to know that we are seeking to do good and to do well at the same time.
For more information or to sign up for the Hiller’s Scrip Program, contact Cindy Perez at (248) 355-2122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.