How to conduct a Penny Drive
The project is organized as follows:
Penny Wars is a game to be competed between schools or grade levels/home rooms. The object is to get as many points as possible during the "war." The money raised during the penny war can be donated to a local charity of your choice.
- The project is run for any FIVE, CONSECUTIVE SCHOOL DAYS.
- Each home room or class will need a large, enclosed container. A sealed, one gallon plastic milk container, with a slit large enough to insert coins and bills, works quite well.
- Each container is labeled with the name of the class teacher, a room number, or any appropriate identification of your choosing.
- The containers should all be placed in a central locations where there is some adult supervision. The school library or a location in clear view of the office staff are good choices.
- Students from class put their pennies in their class' container. One point is received for every penny in the container.
- Classes may put other coins and paper currency into the containers of OTHER classes. Each silver coin or bill reduces the number of points from that container by the amount of the coin. (e.g. a nickel reduces the points by five, a dime by ten, a dollar by 100, etc...) This is where strategy counts. Have fun with it!
- Containers are emptied and counted daily. The total monetary amount of silver coins and paper currency is deducted from the total number of pennies for the day.
- The totals for all classes are posted daily to encourage friendly competition. The totals can be posted as tallies. A chart, blackboard or whiteboard, in a central location, works well for these postings.
- A rotating pennant or cup, given to the leading class each day, adds to the excitement of the project. The pennant or cup can be retained by the home room or class with the most overall points at the end of the penny war.
- It helps to have a committee organized to count and roll the coins. Try asking a friendly local bank to help with the service.
Many corporations, national charities, schools, and local philanthropies have realized the worth of the penny. Through the use of point-of-sale collections and competitive penny fundraisers, these groups have turned thousands of idle pennies into real dollars for everything from college scholarships to housing for the homeless. These fundraisers clearly demonstrate the true value of the penny. For example, Southland Corporation, which operates 7-Eleven convenience stores, recently provided some startling information about the penny's contribution to charity. At Dallas area 7-Elevens, over 82 percent of all coins collected were pennies. They estimated that almost 30 percent of the total money collected in donation receptacles was pennies. In other words, $1 million of the approximately $3 million raised annually from national 7-Eleven stores for charities are pennies. For other examples of fundraisers utilizing the penny click here.
Additionally, school children who participate in penny drives are often taught a valuable civic lesson. By collecting pennies, children learn they too can make a contribution to the community. Moreover, they begin to learn, at an early age, the importance of philanthropy, a lesson which hopefully stays with them the rest of their lives. For those who are interested, instructions on how to conduct your own penny fundraiser can be found by clicking here.
- For students in the Los Angeles area, collecting pennies paid off. A mountain of one million pennies ($10,000) was collected through fundraising efforts spearheaded by a fourth grade class during the 1995-96 school year. The pennies will buy new computers for their school.
- During the 1995 holiday season, elementary school children collected 14,133 pennies, nearly 2,000 more than in 1994, for the Omaha World-Herald Good Fellows charity. The Good Fellows charity helps buy eyeglasses, coats and shoes for children of needy families.
- Norco Intermediate School seventh and eighth graders, about 1,000 students in all, are collecting pennies for the Leukemia Society of America's Pennies for Patients program. During the 1995-96 school year the students will have raised approximately $2,000 to help find a cure for leukemia. Recent Pennies for Patients drives held at schools throughout three counties in California have raised about $90,000.
- Penny by penny, sixth graders at Memorial Boulevard School in Hartford are leading the effort to save the South American rain forest. Several teams of students are collecting pennies to buy tracts of the rain forest through a program called Pennies for the Planet, sponsored by the Virginia-based conservation group Earth Force. The entire school has joined in the effort, with students of all grades reaching into their pockets searching for pennies. After only three school days, students collected $83.39, enough to buy 8,000 square feet of land.
- In Syosset, Long Island students at St. Edward the Confessor School were involved in a semester long campaign to feed the hungry. Working with Stop World Hunger!, students are participating in the Penny Power project which asks students to collect spare pennies. All money raised will be forwarded to Catholic Relief Services.
- Children in Nashville, TN have been encouraged to save their pennies in a savings account with AmSouth Bank. AmSouth's Pockets McPhee savings account program awards children with prizes such as pencils and coloring books as they save. The program has worked in teaching children the value of saving pennies.
- Greenbriar Elementary School in Indianapolis, IN, started a penny drive with the lofty goal of collecting one million pennies. In November 1995, nearly 47,000 pennies were added to the fund.
Other schools having heard of the Pennies for the Planet effort are eager to get involved. Kindergarten students at the Plymouth Center School in Plymouth started collecting pennies, too.