Quebec Schools find fundraising silver bullet

MONTREAL, June 12, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Fundstream Inc. today released data that confirms the emergence of a new trend in school fundraising. Quebec schools are making increasing use of gift card fundraising programs to replace or complement traditional fundraising campaigns. FundScrip, the only gift card fundraising program offered in French, has seen anywhere from 40-60% year over year growth in the last three years to its gift card fundraising program among schools and educational institutions in Quebec.

Gift card fundraising programs ask supporters to pay for their daily shopping necessities with gift cards purchased through FundScrip. Cards from many of Quebec's most popular retailers are available, and a percentage of the value of all cards purchased is donated to the school.

Lucie Morin who runs the program for Collège Esther Blondin's music department in St-Jacques attributes the new trend to its effectiveness at raising money: "The program integrates well into your daily shopping schedule and you can easily raise a good sum of money. Nobody's required to buy something they don't need." The highly regarded music department uses FundScrip as its only fundraiser. The money raised allows the department to travel, pays for music camps as well as students participation in various international competitions. Over the last three years they have raised $45,600.

It's all about FundScrip's ease of use for Annie Lavigne, who administers the program for the École secondaire Grande-Rivière, "It's very simple, there's no cash to handle." FundScrip simplifies the accounting process by accumulating funds raised for the group and paying out earnings cheques. The school raises funds to help offset fees associated with school trips. Since 2010 the FundScrip program has helped the school raise enough money to allow its students to travel to destinations such as France and New York City.

At Drummondville-area high school École Jeanne-Mance, fundraising volunteer Christian Blanchard has used the program since 2008 and confirms that 75% to 80% of funds raised for the school are from the numerous FundScrip campaigns. Blanchard offers a practical view about the success of FundScrip at his school, "…once it's started it runs without a hitch and is thus very effective for supporters." École secondaire Jeanne-Mance is raising money for multiple activities including the senior trip to Europe later this year.

School fundraising coordinators who embrace gift card based programs seem to agree that it's an easy and effective option that doesn't require supporters to purchase unnecessary or unhealthy products. This goes a long way toward understanding why increasing numbers of Quebec schools are adopting gift card fundraising programs.

Additional reasons that could explain the trend could include the fundraising fatigue faced by parents as well as regulatory hurdles involved in more traditional methods. Strained household budgets combined with an increased expectation of parental participation in school fundraisers can lead parents to be more receptive when presented with more efficient fundraising methods. Moreover, some traditional fundraisers have recently become less attractive as provinces and educational jurisdictions across Canada ban the sale of unhealthy candy-based programs. By 2014 the Ontario Ministry of Education is expecting schools to eliminate food fundraisers that do not meet nutritional standards. Newfoundland banned the practice of selling chocolates for school fundraising in 2006.

About Fundstream Inc.

Fundstream Inc., providers of the FundScrip fundraising program, Canada's leading gift card fundraising program. Via the program, supporters of registered FundScrip not-for-profit groups, including schools, teams, clubs, churches, and many others, pay for their everyday purchases (groceries, gas, household items) with gift cards bought through the FundScrip program at face value. A percentage of the gift cards purchased is then donated to the FundScrip group of their choice. Supporters can choose from over 150 major retailers across Canada. FundScrip is the only such program available in both English and French. Visit www.fundscrip.com for more information.

SOURCE Fundstream Inc.

For further information:

David Nixon - Director of Marketing
514-861-1234 ext. 116
dnixon@fundscrip.com

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Fundstream Inc.

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