What Is a Scratch Card Fundraiser?

M.C. Huguelet

A scratch card fundraiser is an event which allows sports teams, charities, church groups, and other contribution-dependent organizations to raise money using cards with scratch-off dots that indicate the amount a donor will give. The cards are usually paid for in advance by the organization, may be customizable, and often include coupons which can be given to players in exchange for their donation. Advocates of the scratch card fundraiser hold that it can be easier to run and more profitable than other popular fundraising options. On the downside, scratch card manufacturer fees can limit a fundraiser’s potential profits and some donors may not like the cards’ surprise element.

Scratch card fundraisers are often used by youth sports teams.
Scratch card fundraisers are often used by youth sports teams.

During a scratch card fundraiser, each fundraising team member is given one or more scratch cards which are covered with a number of opaque squares or dots that can be rubbed away using a coin, a key, or another small, rigid object. A number is printed on the card beneath each of these squares or dots. When a donor agrees to partake in a scratch card fundraiser, she rubs away as many spaces as she wants to, and then donates the amount of money indicated on those parts of the card she has exposed. While the donation amount specified by a card space varies, most cards are capped at a maximum possible donation per space. Generally, fundraising team members continue using the same card until all spaces have been scratched away.

Usually, an organization purchases scratch cards through a fundraising material manufacturer. Many of these companies offer customizable scratch cards. For instance, a baseball team may have the option of selecting cards that are printed with images of baseball equipment or a batter standing at the plate. Often, each card also includes a number of coupons sheets offering savings at local or national restaurants and other retailers. These sheets are given to scratch card players as a reward for their donations.

Those in favor of the scratch card fundraiser hold that it can be more convenient to run than other types of fundraisers because the cards are extremely portable and all donations are collected immediately. Further, a scratch card fundraiser can potentially be more profitable than other types of fundraisers. This is because the initial cost of scratch cards may be lower than that of other popular fundraising items, like candy.

There are also a few potential downsides to the scratch card fundraiser. First of all, if a fundraising team does not shop around for reasonably priced scratch cards, up to 30 percent of donations or more may go to recouping card costs. Additionally, some prospective donors may be turned off by the fact that they cannot dictate their own donation amount. Finally, very young fundraisers may not have the sense of responsibility needed to collect and keep track of immediate donations.

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