Paper Clover promotions make a difference for 4-H $1 at a time
Each year since 2010, Tractor Supply Company (TSC) has partnered with National 4-H Council for the Paper Clover promotion held twice annually. During the Paper Clover periods, TSC stores nationwide sell 4-H paper clovers for a dollar each with the proceeds donated back to 4-H.
From March 27 to April 7, paper clovers were sold at more than 1,700 TSC stores nationwide, including the 87 Michigan stores, and a grand total of $916,925 was raised. Local 4-H staff and clubs in Michigan marketed this opportunity in their communities to result in Michigan residents giving $49,160 to support Michigan 4-H programs.
Seventy percent of those funds supported county 4-H programs, 10 percent for state 4-H workshops, 5 percent for state 4-H programs, 5 percent for the Michigan 4-H Foundation and 10 percent went to National 4-H Council for underwriting the cost of the program.
Even though each clover provides only a dollar each, those dollars add up to provide great support to 4-H locally. The TSC store in Petoskey has been successful in raising nearly $3,000 for Emmet County 4-H over the past two program years.
“If it was much more than a dollar, people might think twice. But, with it only being a dollar, customers are likely to add it onto their total,” said Diane Brazier, Michigan State University Extension 4-H program coordinator for Emmet County. “But really, it’s not about the money, it’s about supporting a great program. That’s the most important part.”
Thanks to the support from the TSC Paper Clover promotion, Emmet County 4-H youth have received scholarships to attend a variety of regional, state and national 4-H educational opportunities.
“Because of the TSC support, 4-H’ers have been able to attend 4-H Exploration Days, 4-H Animal Science Camp in Cheboygan County, Kettunen Center 4-H workshops and more,” Brazier said.
Emmet County 4-H club members and volunteers sign-up with their local TSC manager to work shifts at the store for each Paper Clover. During the promotion period, 4-H clubs work booths where they have done crafts, petting zoos, educational displays, record books, posters, bake sales and more. Youth also greet customers and help them with their bags.
There are also 4-H promotional materials and information about joining 4-H with Brazier’s contact information. Following the promotion, Brazier often receives messages from families wanting to join the program.
“Even if we didn’t get the money, just the fact that each clover represents a 4-H supporter in our community is amazing,” Brazier said. “The nice notes that people write on the clovers are the best advertising that we could ever have. When you walk into the store, you can’t help but see its clover time!”
The Montcalm County 4-H program has also seen outstanding results at the Greenville TSC store recently. It raised $1,940 in the most recent promotion, making it the highest revenue-generating store in Michigan this past spring.
According to Montcalm County 4-H program coordinator Tarin Minkel, the key to their success lies with one 4-H parent.
“We have been very fortunate. We have a 4-H parent who works at the TSC store. She volunteers at the store and brings her kids every spare moment during the Paper Clover promotions,” Minkel said.
They ask customers to buy the 4-H clovers and help to promote 4-H opportunities in their community.
“It is a great opportunity to get kids into the stores speaking to customers. It is a great learning opportunity for kids to practice public speaking and other life skills,” Minkel said. “The Paper Clover promotions also provide community awareness and promotion. It’s good not only for our 4-H program, but for the community as well.”
Like Emmet County 4-H, the support from TSC helps fund state and national events for Montcalm County 4-H youth.
“We have a good number of kids that attend national 4-H events and we have been able to provide scholarships from the TSC funds,” Minkel said. “Without the scholarships, the youth may not be able to afford these opportunities.”
Some of those experiences made possible through the TSC Paper Clover funds include National 4-H Congress, National 4-H Conference, 4-H Capitol Experience and 4-H Exploration Days. Minkel added that this year, Montcalm County 4-H had its largest delegation to 4-H Exploration Days in several years.
“In our county, the money generated is able to help 4-H youth have experiences that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise,” she said.