Branded Fundraisers

Corporations often offer programs that encourage the consumption of a company’s food and/or beverage products in exchange for financial or other rewards for schools. These programs are touted as fundraisers, but do not raise as much money as you might think. A nation-wide study found that 67.4 percent of schools that engaged in branded fundraising activities actually received no income at all.

Promotion Nights. During Promotion Nights restaurants donate a percent of the profits (usually 15%) from any sale made that night to a school. Some events, like McDonald’s-sponsored McTeacher Nights, even get teachers to serve dinner to their students as part of the fundraiser.


Reward Programs. Reward programs like General Mills’ Box Tops for Education, Campbell’s Soups’ Labels for Education, or Coca-Cola’s My Coke Rewards for Schools give companies the chance to encourage children and their parents to purchase (often unhealthy) products.


Branded Food Fundraisers. Every year, school children around the country sell unhealthy foods as school fundraisers. One popular fundraiser is to sell David’s Cookies products in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.


Ads in yearbooks and school newspapers. Some schools sell advertising space in their yearbooks and school newspapers to raise money for these programs.

Sponsorships and donations. Companies donate money or equipment to schools to make people feel good about buying the company’s products. The Pepsi REFRESH project, Taco Bell’s camps for at-risk high-school students, and Coca-Cola donated scoreboards and playgrounds are examples of sponsorship marketing. 

Best Practices:

• Work with your school or district to make it a policy to choose healthy fundraising alternatives, like a car wash or walk-a-thon.

• If your school depends on money from incentive programs, ask organizers to only communicate with parents - without getting children involved - and promote the hundreds of non-food items that qualify.  

    Learn More:

    For more ideas about healthy fundraising in your school visit:

    NYC Healthy Fundraisers

    Fire Up Your

    CSPI Healthy Fundraisers Factsheet

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