Rebate Program Nets Extra Business and Goodwill

Sep 4, 2019


Store: Lee’s Bestway IGA
Location: Brooksville, KY
Owner: Phyllis Kelsch
General Manager: Harold Turner


We wanted to find a way to help local community-focused organizations in our area, so we created the 1% Rebate Program, which benefits schools, churches, and other civic nonprofit organizations. 

How it Works

Shoppers can support local non-profits participating in our store's rebate program by giving their store receipts to the organization, which will turn them in to our store once they have accumulated enough receipts (usually once a month or every two months). For example, a church might have special collection baskets for its members to deposit their store receipts. The church can then redeem every $2,000 in store receipts that they collect for a $20 store gift certificate or rebate check to be used for families in need. 50 to 75 nonprofit organizations in our town of 600 people take part, and the extra business we get from shoppers wanting to help out their favorite organization more than pays for the one percent rebate costs. We issued $500 in checks and gift certificates last year.

Why It Works

For Our Shoppers

Gives them a way to help their close-knit community. This is a small town of about 600 people, and shoppers are usually members of a church congregation, civic group, or nonprofit that benefits from the program. Customers like helping out.

For Our Store

Increased sales. The extra business we get exceeds the cost of the one percent rebate.

Community goodwill. The program lets us give back to our community.

Easy to implement. No start-up costs, capital investments, or extra labor is needed. The only cost is the nominal amount we pay for gift certificates.


Decide on the percent of rebate you want to offer. I based our 1% Rebate Program on the success I saw it have at a previous store where I worked. I’m thinking about doing a 5% Rebate Program for senior citizens one day a week.

Restrict eligible purchases. For our program, totals on receipts must exclude sales tax, lottery, beer, and cigarettes. Gas purchases can be included.

Supply a simple application form. Organizations that want to participate can pick up a one-page form in our store. Each organization must have one person who acts as a point of contact for the program. 

Use pre-printed gift certificates. We order pre-printed gift certificates from a supply store. Then we just write in the name of the organization that has earned it.

Pro Tips

Set a manageable redemption amount. I came up with $20 for every $2,000 so groups wouldn’t be turning in $100 or $500 at a time. It would be more time-consuming for my office manager if receipts were turned in more often. 

Concentrate on in-store promotion and social media. We started out advertising in the local papers, but now rely on flyers, bag stuffers, and our Facebook page. We’re still getting new organizations to apply without expensive advertising.

Offer parking lot space for a fundraiser. Organizations often buy supplies like buns and hot dogs with their rebate check for a cookout or some other fundraiser and want to have their bake sale or whatever on our lot because we have more foot traffic than just about any place in town. This generates more in-store sales. We just ask that anybody working the event park behind the store to keep our parking lot open for customers.

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