Supermarket token schemes

Many PTAs are exploring supermarket grant schemes as a way to raise funds, as they can represent more money for a lot less manpower...

Your local supermarket can be a great source of support for school fundraising projects, combining a grant application with community spirit. Typically, you can apply in-store or online, and you’ll usually need to show evidence that you’re a not-for-profit or charitable organisation. Some initial planning is required because you need to have a specific project in mind that fulfils the grant’s criteria. Grants from five of Britain’s biggest supermarkets cover a considerable range of amounts, timescales and criteria, so we’ve boiled it down to the facts to make it easy for you to see which one suits you best.

If you do apply but aren’t successful, don’t be put off. Instead, review your application to see how it can be improved. Remember, application numbers can be high, so sometimes it’s just a numbers game. Always ask the organisation why you have been unsuccessful to get an insight into what can be improved.

Even if your application is successful, you still have work to do. Because the amount you win is dependent on a public vote, you’ll need to promote your project in the run-up to its in-store launch. Use social media to boost awareness, and send press releases to local papers and radio stations to reach more people. Ask if the supermarket has any promotional materials or templates you can use, and if you’re holding a PTA event during the voting period, take advantage of having a captive audience to promote even more.

Co-op Local Community Fund

What is it? The Co-op Local Community Fund supports projects that make a difference to local communities near the company’s stores. Schools aren’t eligible for the Co-op Community Fund but PTAs are, so it’s a fantastic source of funding for PTAs to follow.

Amount: It depends on where you live, but most communities receive £4,000-£6,000 to be shared between three causes.

Length of time as a cause: One year

Deadline: The fund opens once a year, with a June deadline.

How it works: Up to three successful organisations will become the good causes for their local store for one year, starting each October. Once customers have joined Co-op’s membership scheme, one per cent of their spend on own-brand products is donated to the cause of their choice every time they scan their membership card. At the end of the year, any unallocated funding is split equally between the causes. Funds are received in two payments – one in April and one in November.

Criteria: Your project must benefit your local community and could include improvements to indoor or outdoor local spaces, wellbeing activities to support the mental or physical health of the community, or helping people reach their full potential by developing their skills.

What else does it offer? Co-op also offers its staff members two days’ paid leave per year for voluntary work. Ask in your local store to see if this could benefit your school.

Asda Foundation Green Token Giving

What is it? Asda’s Green Token Giving programme provides local funding for three local charities each month.

Amount: £200 or £500. The amount awarded is dependent on the number of votes your cause receives from the public; £500 for first place and £200 for second or third place.

Length of time as a cause: One month

Deadline: Ongoing

How it works: Three local charities or good causes are nominated each month to receive a small grant, which is voted for by shoppers (using tokens) at their local store.

Criteria: The Foundation aims to support projects that tackle underlying problems in the local community, benefit the wider community and make a real long-term difference.

What else does it offer? Community Champions at each store can volunteer their time locally, which includes working with teachers to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle. The Asda Foundation also offers funding to ‘significant local community projects’. The amount offered is discretionary, but is generally no more than £35,000. Charities and not-for-profit organisations can apply for funding for capital works and/or equipment that will benefit the local community.

Tesco Bags of Help

What is it? Bags of Help is a token scheme that’s managed and implemented by community charity Groundwork UK and is funded by Tesco’s carrier bag charge.

Amount: All projects in Tesco’s scheme win money, but the amount rewarded depends on the vote – first place receives £4,000, second place £2,000 and third place £1,000.

Length of time as a cause: Projects are changed every other month

Deadline: Ongoing

How it works: Eligible projects are reviewed, and the best three from each area are put forward for a public vote every other month, with customers able to use a token to vote for the cause they want to support.

Criteria: Grants can be awarded to voluntary or community organisations, including registered charities and schools. Examples of projects funded include items such as sports kits and medical equipment and improvements to buildings that benefit the local community.

What else does it offer? Ask in store for your local Community Champion to see how they can support your PTA.

Waitrose & Partners Community Matters

What is it? Each Waitrose branch runs a token scheme that supports three different community groups each month.

Amount: A share of £1,000 (£500 in Little Waitrose), split between three local causes.

Length of time as a cause: One month

Deadline: Ongoing

How it works: Charitable organisations can apply to their local Waitrose store to be a good cause. Customers receive a token when they shop, which they place in the box of the cause they’d like to support. This dictates how the £1,000 is split.

Criteria: The scheme supports any local good causes.

What else does it offer? The Community Matters Partner Volunteering initiative means that local causes can bid for ‘partner time’. Ask in store for details.

The Morrisons Foundation

Unlike supermarket schemes that rely on public voting, The Morrison Foundation’s grant funding is a one-step process where applicants fill in an online form. Grant applications can take up to three months to review, and you will be notified on the outcome of your application even if it’s unsuccessful. There’s no minimum or maximum amount for grants, but you must be registered with the Charity Commission or Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. Projects must make a positive difference in local communities. The Foundation also match-funds money that Morrisons colleagues raise for their chosen charities, so it’s worth asking if you have any Morrisons employees within your school community.

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.