Smartphones are replacing scissors in the decades-old Box Tops for Education program that raises money for schools through food purchases.
General Mills, which founded the program 23 years ago, announced Wednesday the program will soon be digital-only. Customers can now earn money for their schools by scanning receipts rather than clipping box tops and mailing them in.
Participants can download the new mobile app and scan their store receipt, which will automatically analyze which products were eligible items and tabulate the amount that will be donated to their school of choice. Every box top will still be worth 10 cents.
For those with a competitive spirit, the mobile app will allow participants to track their personal contributions as well as the school's running total.
One noteworthy caveat: Receipts must be scanned within 14 days of purchase.
For those who like the old-school clippings, there will be a transition period during which each item can be counted twice — once during the receipt scan and another by mailing in the traditional box top. General Mills expects all of the traditional clippings will be off their packages by next summer.
Since 1996, 70,000 schools have received more than $913 million through Box Tops for Education.
"Modernizing Box Tops to fit the needs of today's families brings the next generation of supporters and brands into the program, so we can stay true to our mission: to help schools get what they need," Erin Anderson, manager of the Box Tops for Education program, said in a statement.
Jon Nudi, General Mills' president of North America retail, announced the digital transition at the company's annual investor conference earlier this month.
"This well-known program," Nudi said, "is now available on a mobile app, allowing our brands to show up in a modern way, making it easy for our consumers to buy, scan and earn."