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Required Minimum Popcorn Sales?

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  • #16
    Your average Joe on the street ISN'T going to have a clue that selling individual bags is not legal, so of course they will not complain.

    The complaint will come down the road when someone has a bad (fatal?) reaction after eating the individual bag of popcorn. Then the lawsuits will start to fly because the person who bought the popcorn, & thought they were doing a good thing, had no idea what was in the stuff or how it was processed.

    My council has been banning this practice for at least 4 years now.


    • #17
      Popcorn (Trails End) sales fund your unit, district and council. Individual unit fundraising does not. I've noticed that units that are somewhat "anti-council" for whatever reason rarely participate in popcorn sales.

      In the past, our unit has discouraged opening up the microwave popcorn boxes to sell individual bags. Our "stick" was that who ever opened the box, just bought the whole contents - don't return any unsold to the unit. Now, our council does the same except the "box" is now the case. We are not allowed to return individual boxes/cans of product, only full cases. Too many units were returning cases which were not full.

      I don't like fundraising and especially for public schools - including sports teams. While I don't relish it for Scouting, it does teach the boys some important lessons. Number one - money does not grow on trees!


      • #18
        In the past, the way we did the individual sales was that the pacl set up a few show & sells and the pack would take on the cost of any opened, unsold boxes. We were careful not to have too many open at one time and rarely had a problem with this. At least, from the perspective of having excess product from half-sold boxes. We did not encourage individuals to sell door to door this way though - only at pack show & sells. These sales did help fund council & district too since they received roughly 1/3 of the money. Acco, I'm not sure if you were suggesting otherwise?

        Our council has not accepted opened cases (let alone boxes) back from the units ever, in the 6 years or so that I've been involved. I don't blame them either. If the unit orders a case, the unit has to pay for the whole case no matter what. Again, hasn't been a huge problem. In the years when we've had a fair amount left, we used the product as thank you gifts to various people who helped the pack out over the year. And also we would just announce at pack meetings that x-amount of this and that type were still available and usually parents would pick some of it up. We never had a lot left anyway.



        • #19
          I would like to report on my Cub Packs popcorn sale, which I think is a good one.

          1. The popcorn sale is voluntary.

          2. The pack dues are $60/year--- $5 per month. Families who wish to pay the dues and for activities out of pocket are welcome to do so.

          3. We encourage families to participate in the popcorn sale in some way, because it is a fun and educational Cub Scout experience.

          4. Families who sell $200 in popcorn receive a free pack membership for the next year, saving that $60 membership fee. For sales in excess of that $200, families receive 25% of those additional sales in a Scout account which can be used to pay Cub Scout activity fees, uniforms and other Scout expenses.

          Scouts going on to Boy Scouts can use Scout Accounts to pay any initial Troop membership fees and can transfer unused Scout Account balances to the troop.

          Other than the above, families leaving the pack lose any Scout Account balances to the pack.

          5. The popcorn sale is built into our fall recruiting effort. We have a recruiting night early in September. Newly signed up boys have an initial den meeting and prepare for a hike and popcorn sale at the nearby government ship canal locks

          ( tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=4BSOT_jqEuiSiALfmpCUDw&v ed=0CEcQsAQ&biw=800&bih=382 )

          The trip to the locks begins with a site sale outside the gates for the locks to introduce boys and families to the methods of selling popcorn. We usually have a fun time with that, and get good sales.

          After an hour or when boys start to lose interest, we proceed with a tour of the locks, which includes seeing boats going up and down, walking past a dam spillway, a museum and salmon swimming through the fish ladder.

          After that is concluded, we adjourn to a small city park overlooking the locks and have a hot dog roast, with boys roasting hot dogs on a stick over a fire.

          This is our initial outdoor activity for newly recruited families, and it's a great way to introduce families to the popcorn sale and a fine Cub Scout outing by COMBINING the two.


          About 80% of families pay for their pack membership by selling popcorn. Quite a few families sell well in excess of that $200 level to pay for uniforms and other activities.

          YES there could be IRS issues about Scout Accounts.

          NO we haven't had a problem. Not yet, anyway.

          Our current Pack Popcorn Kernel served two years. We have a new parent recruited to do the sale in the fall, who will have the previous Popcorn chair as an adviser.(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)


          • #20
            No minimums or buyout or pack dues or cub scout accounts. We set a sales goal around $275 - $350, depending on how many scouts we have and the economy. A small gift for meeting the goal. Pie throwing for $600. Top 3 sellers receive gift certificates to the scout store.
            We do half our sales at show n sells. Also do door to door, take sell, and online sales. We only have 36 - 45 scouts and sell $20,000+ retail every year.
            Some won't do door to door, but will do the show n sells. Yes, there are families who don't sell at all and those that sell a lot. Never heard a scout complaining about this.
            Popcorn is the only fundraiser we have and we promote that fact to the families. We plan the program based on our average yearly sales. If our sales are lower, we add in more free or low cost activities.


            • #21
              "Minimum sales" - I've never cared for approaching scouting issues from the negative side. Reward instead of penalize. Celebrate achievements instead of punishing disappointments. Instead of "minimum sales", find a reward such as dues waved after a level. Or ...

              Our pack has rewards. No scout accounts, but every scout who sells gets a patch. Top ten or more sellers get prizes (clearance stuff ... tents, sleeping bags, flash lights, binoculars, etc.). Also, the top sellers get to put ready whip pies in the face of the leader. Sales doubled when we annouced prizes. Doubled again when we announced the pies.

              Our troop simply has scout accounts. We're trying to route as much of the profit to the scout as possible. Currently 80%. Goal is 100%. No waiving dues. No prizes. No pies. Patch yes. But if you sell more, you can cover your dues with the sales just like you can cover camp outs with scout account. Just scouts paying their way.

              (This message has been edited by fred8033)


              • #22
                I was able to buy a pretty nice banner that we could use at a popcorn table (or scout show, recruiting night) from an online banner maker for about $30. Do most of you who do store front sales find that you have to make reservations about 2 months prior to the sale? That seems to be the cushion that we need to make in our area.


                • #23

                  Our pack is in a relatively low income area. Money for Scouting can be scarce. So one of my aims with the design of the popcorn sale is to allow interested families to pay for most or all of their Scouting expenses through the popcorn sale if they wish to do so.

                  One of the things I mention for new families is that they might consider using the popcorn sale to raise money to buy uniforms. A Tiger Cub or Wolf Cub with a vision of a uniform is very likely to be a motivated seller of popcorn, is my theory. And a number of our parents seem to be motivated by not having to lay out cash for membership, uniforms, day camp and so on.

                  So prizes wouldn't be a good option for my troop, I don't think. Of course units are different, and making suitable choices is what leadership is all about.

                  We've generally had weekly prizes, like a big chocolate bar, for the Scout who's sold the most popcorn each week. That's a prize that works for us to build interest and enthusiasm.


                  • #24
                    I see this post has been brought to life again since I originally posted it over 6 years ago. A lot has changed since then. We didn't do the minimum sales policy. Instead we went into it with the attitude that popcorn is what we sell and that we are all going to do it. We now have a BIG kickoff party, we put together nice prize packages for the top 3, we still give them 15% for their scout account and the top 6 get to hit me with shaving cream pies as part of our Christmas party. It has paid off in a big way. Since 2006 we have consistently been the biggest seller in our district and sometimes the biggest in council.

                    Sure, we still have a few families that don't sell, but when we need volunteers to help with a project or bring in a snack, etc. I always make sure I ask those people first.


                    • #25
                      Hmmmm. Pie in the face still a big motivator?

                      Maybe we should consider hitting the Cubmaster with a pie for sales over $1,000 or something.

                      I'm no longer the Cubmaster....


                      • #26
                        The unit that increased their sales the most in our District got to shave the DE's head.


                        • #27
                          I posted elsewhere on this. I'm a little surprised at the lack of clarity in this thread on BSA policy, because it's posted pretty openly on their web site:

                          If you look at the last page of that, you'll see that individual scout accounts are pretty clearly prohibited. I admit it stinks but it's difficult for me to look my Webelos in the face when reviewing the Citizenship badge and tell them that as law-abiding citizens we all need to follow the law and pay our taxes - and then turn around and skirt IRS regulations.

                          Has this conflict come up with any of you in dealing with your Councils/Districts? Any exceptions?
                          Last edited by Brian Jennings; 03-16-2014, 03:13 PM.


                          • qwazse
                            qwazse commented
                            Editing a comment
                            So, I guess you don't teach your kids about Boston Harbor?

                            It's only been a year since this policy was written. It may require an entire generation of scouts to graduate before troops in large numbers adopt more communal approaches to fundraising.

                          • jc2008
                            jc2008 commented
                            Editing a comment
                            How does our Council still give us camp cards to sell if no Scout Accounts? The boys are suppose to use the money earned to pay for camp and other scout things. That is basically an account depending on how much the troop lets the boys keep for their own personal stuff..

                          • dedkad
                            dedkad commented
                            Editing a comment
                            The original posts on this thread are 8 years old. Not sure if BSA's policy on ISA's was in effect back then.

                        • #28
                          jc2008 wrote: How does our Council still give us camp cards to sell if no Scout Accounts?

                          If you read the BSA presentation on camp cards found at:

                          You will see this section:

                          Private Benefit Considerations

                          Councils should make sure that any sales materials, instructions, and support information do not make reference to individual scouts earning money for their own participation in Scouting activities.

                          When the council is remitting proceeds, from any sale, back to units, provide guidance on distribution of funds. Encourage units to develop fund distribution plans that include other criteria than sale of items.

                          These might include:
                          1. Participation in the camp card sale
                          2. Participation in the program
                          3. Leadership
                          4. Scout Spirit
                          5. Advancement

                          A portion of the proceeds from any sale or activity should be set aside for general unit expenses and could include funds used for assistance to members with financial need.


                          • #29
                            The lesson taught with individual scout accounts is: You fundraise for the benefit of yourself.

                            By using the tax-exempt status of your CO, one is in fact drawing that into question. What's to say a parent makes a $1000 donation designated "donation" to the troop for their son so he can go to Philmont? They get a tax write-off and the money stays in the family. That's money laundering.

                            If boys wish to have individual scout accounts, go down to the bank and open an account. That way, 100% of the proceeds for their walk shoveling, lawn mowing, garden tilling, paper route activities goes right into their accounts! And not only that, it is all above board legal! I find nothing wrong with the sales pitch to the prospective customer, "I am a Boy Scout raising money so I can go to summer camp. Do you need your lawn mowed?" He is making it very clear that the proceeds are going to him and not to his troop. Troop fundraising money goes to the troop. That's why they call it a troop fundraiser and people contribute under that expectation.



                            • #30
                              In our Council, Camp Cards are 50% Council, 50% Unit. Therefore, 50% of the revenue is going towards Scouting (Council), regardless of anything else. If the Unit gives 100% of the money to the now banned ISA, you might have a substantial problem. If some of the money (even if Camp Costs), is going towards Troop costs (i.e. Camp costs $250 and you charge $300/Scout to cover food, gas, etc., whatever), then 60% of the money is going to Scouting, 40% to individual benefit, probably fair as far as "substantially" is concerned.

                              We charge annual dues/Scout, we do NOT charge a separate re-charter fee.
                              Next year, we are charging a re-charter fee of $37 to cover National Dues + Boys Life. Anyone who sells $150 in popcorn (netting $50 to the Pack) will have their re-charter fee waived.

                              With the national price increase, we either have to raise dues, fundraise more, or both. This seems like a good way to involve them.

                              We're also creating a voluntary position in the Pack, Friends of Pack 18 Committee, tasked with raising/donating each year. This is a way for some of our well-to-do families that don't want to volunteer (time to valuable/rare/whatever) to "contribute" financially. We'll see how it works.

                              We have some boys whose families can't pay dues, we write it off as Campership, no muss-no fuss, we do ask them to try to participate in the fundraisers.

                              We have some fairly well off families, and many more in the community. We believe that the nature of scouting, making due with inadequate funds/equipment, has discouraged participation from many families because we don't look sharp at our recruiting/public events. Our theory is that investing some resources in higher quality stuff (like a fancy derby track, etc) will help with recruiting, and letting the well off families kick in a little more will help.

                              Selling $150/popcorn takes about an hour in our neck of the woods, if you won't take your son out so he can earn prizes, you can pay to re-charter. We're still the cheapest after-school program by far.

                              We have a handful of families that are doing all the work, all the fundraising, and killing themselves. I want to give other families a way to participate, and for many of them, cutting a check for $250 or $500 may be less painful than fundraising, and would let us be a top-notch organization.

                              What do others think?

                              I think that a minimum is not scout-like, but we've set goals. This year it was $100/scout in Popcorn (next year it will be $150/scout to cover re-charter). At Blue and Gold, we asked for $3/person donations, next year we're going to ask our Friends of Pack 18 "to underwrite it" with their donations.

                              When I took over as Committee Chair, we hadn't fundraised in over a year, so we were 100% dues-financed. Year 1, added Camp Cards, Year 2, Popcorn/Camp Cards. We're now about 50% dues-financed. I want to run a better program.

                              Some things are small but relevant. We don't own Pack Propane Tanks, which means getting a bunch of people to fill their tanks and bring them, which adds work to the leaders. I'm trying to stop burning out the leaders with grunt work to save a few dollars, when I could get a few families (basically the Doctor/Lawyer families) to write small checks and make this less aggravating.