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eScrip Ease

In 11 years of using eScrip, the Amador Valley High School Athletic Boosters have raised close to a million dollars. Working at a school with 850 athletes, Dalice Godwin explains how boosters have been able to sign up 7,000 members.

By Dalice Godwin
Boosters Coordinator
Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, Calif.

Back in 1999, the Amador Valley High School Athletic Boosters signed up for eScrip, which is really popular here in California, especially for PTAs. A lot of schools do it, but we've been particularly successful. In 2009, we grossed $150,000, which was down from $170,000 the year before. After eScrip subtracts its fee, we net about 85 percent of that, which averages to over $10,000 a month. Considering the current state of the economy, that's pretty good.

The bulk of the set-up work was done by a booster named Ken Mano, who ran the program for eight years. He built our eScrip program from scratch, and when I took it over, we were already doing well. We now have 7,000 people signed up for eScrip, and 56 percent of them participate every month. When you have that many people involved, the money really adds up.

The eScrip Web site lists all the businesses that participate in our area, from American Airlines to Web Traffic School, with about 75 companies in between. Every time a member buys something from one of them, a portion of the sale goes back to the booster club. It's complicated, because each business contributes a different percentage, depending on how much people spend in a month. We make most of our money from supermarkets, especially Safeway, which offers special deals for school groups.

People can register on their own by going online, or they can register in person through the booster club, which is how most people do it. Either way, when you sign up, you specify where you want your contribution to go. In our case, people can choose between our 23 teams or they can donate to the general athletics fund.

Talking one-on-one is definitely the best way to get people to sign up. It's important to keep asking throughout the year, so we start with a big push at registration. That's the best place to reach freshmen and their parents. We give another pitch at each seasonal sports meeting, and another at the first team meeting of the year. Each team has a booster representative with a list of all the people who are signed up for eScrip.

If people aren't on the list, we give them our best pitch: "It's free, and it's the easiest way to bring money into our athletic program. All you do is register, and it does the rest all by itself." If they're already on the list, we make sure their information is up to date and their contributions are being directed to the team of their choice.

Sometimes, people are concerned about registering their credit card. That's the biggest question people have, and we understand how they feel. So we give them step-by-step instructions for entering their information online, and if they prefer we do it for them, we shred their paper application once the information is entered onto the site.

Most of our teams also offer incentives to student-athletes for getting people to sign up for eScrip. They can ask friends, family members, anybody, whether they live in our area or not. On some teams, kids get gift cards for bringing in a certain number of new members. On others, instead of having to pay for their jersey, they get it for free. That's a huge incentive.

EScrip keep track of all the payments, and every month they send a check and a report saying how much money we've made. I track all our information on a spreadsheet, which I match up with the monthly report and send to the treasurer, who distributes the money to our 23 teams. It takes a couple of hours, but I only do it once a month.

Before looking into eScrip, I didn't understand how much you could make. It's a great program, and even in a down year, it's still pretty amazing. We get bonuses too, like an extra 10 percent from Safeway during their back-to-school sale, which came out to $8,000 last year, and an extra $1,000 from eScrip for being one of the top 200 fundraising programs in the country. The money certainly helps a lot, and as long as eScrip is being so generous, I can't see any reason for not participating.

The Amador Valley High School Athletic Boosters would like to thank all the merchants who participate in the eScrip program and all our loyal Amador supporters.

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