Ideas & Insights
Box Tops for Education Goes Digital

No longer will parents or kids actually have to cut the tops off the cereal boxes. You can simply use the mobile app to scan your store receipt for the cereal, and the app will automatically send 10 cents to your chosen school for every product you purchase.

Since 1996, General Mills has held a popular promotion called "Box Tops for Education," in which families could cut out box tops from the company's cereals, which schools could then redeem for cash that they could use for a variety of educational purposes. So far, the program has raised more than $900 million for schools all across the country. But now the company is taking the promotion into the digital age with a new mobile app.

Why General Mills Is Doing This

Jon Nudi, who is the president of General Mills' North American retail operations, announced the app at the company's annual investor conference, which took place earlier in July. He said that they decided to make the transition from physical box tops in order to make the process easier for consumers. Erin Anderson, who is the manager of Box Tops for Education, said in a press release that her company's program has been positively impacting schools for 23 years and now they are evolving the entire process. She added that, by modernizing how the program works, they are both meeting the needs of families today while remaining true to their mission of helping schools get the funds that they need.

About the App

The app is available for both iOS and Android operating systems, and it will work on most smartphones and tablets. It can identify all qualifying box top products as well as bonus offers. After you download the app from either the iOS App Store or Google Play, you must select which school you would like to support directly in the app. There is, however, one caveat with the app: unlike with physical box tops, you must use the app to scan the receipt within two weeks (14 days) of purchasing a qualifying product. The Box Top for Education app also does more than just scan receipts. With it, users can track their personal contributions to the program and they can see how these contributions are impacting their local schools (and how much money these schools have raised in total), and they can see all of this in real-time. To locate a participating General Mills brand in the store, look for a label on the cereal box that says "No more clipping, scan your receipt."

Transition Plans

By the end of this year, General Mills plans to completely transition the Box Top for Education program from physical box tops to the app. But in the meantime, you can still cut off the box tops just like you have in the past. In fact, most of the company's brands will allow to both scan the receipts with the app and send in the physical box tops. This means that for the time being you can double the support you provide your local school. General Mills is further celebrating the release of the app with a special promotion, which will provide 5 schools across the United States with a $20,000 makeover. To have your school participate in the promotion, at least one product must be scanned in support of the school before November 15 of this year.
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