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mbscoutmom

Popcorn sales

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Our pack account is so low I'm going to have to borrow money to pay some bills. We really, really, need to sell a lot of popcorn this Fall. Can anyone give me some tips on selling it?

 

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You have to motivate the kids (and the parents, for that matter). We tried a couple of things until we found something that worked for us. But what worked for us might not work for you. It really depends upon the dynamics of your group, your socio-economic situation, and many other factors.

 

What worked for us? We give about 25-30% of the profit back to the boys in prizes. First place is usually something big, like a PS2 or XBOX. Second and third are usually good prizes, like Gameboys. The rest of the prizes (all the way down to someone who only sold one item), are various trinkets and games. The kids have a ball with this. Every year, some boy just goes totally wild on selling so he can win the big prize. We went from selling around $1500 to selling over $10000. We're consistently #1 in our district and #1 or 2 in our council. And this is only with around 50 active boys.

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We do a combo of Take-Order and Show & Sell Booth sales. We have a per boy goal for them to meet. If they meet the goal they get an Estes rocket kit. The top 10 sellers get to toss a paper plate of Cool Whip at the Leader of their choice. This is one of the highlights of our Christmas Pack meeting. The families also know that the popcorn sale pays for what we do. The more we earn, the more the Pack can pay for & do.

 

If you are having problems with folks participating you can give them the option of making the sales goal or writing a check for the profit. Make sure that they know that if they do not pay their son's Scouting will be on a pay-as-you-go basis with the Pack charging them for everything including awards earned.

 

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we do alot of Show and Sell. Being a small town right off the Interstate. We have 4 different truckstops. All of them let the cubs set up booths anytime we would like. The truckdrivers are always willing to buy. But the tins move better than the microwave packs.We sell the microwave at booths infront of the store.Last year the boys that sold 1000 or more got a ticket to one of the local University's basketball games. This could be any type of game ticket maybe hockey or whatever is available in your area.The boys love going to these games and the University works with us on discounts for the tickets. Just afew of things we do.

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I'd also suggest thinking up other fund raisers. popcorn is OK but you can earn more money faster in other ways.

 

Cub Scouts are GREAT for car washes- cute kids in uniform being great tools for pulling people off the street. I'd suggest a 'free-will offering' payment- most people will pay more that way. One benefit- you can do most of the planning in a few days, do the event in an afternoon, and be counting the money right away. Nice, fast, and easy.

 

Raking or general yard work is not a big money maker, but it is a LOT more fun and simple with 10 boys working together. This is another pretty simple project that can be put together in a few days.

 

(I REALLY like fund raisers that are easy to plan and run, and produce cash quickly!)

 

You can google 'fund raising for youth groups' and get a lot of companies selling pretty mediocre stuff, and hopefully find a couple good books or idea lists. You have a LOT of options- you just don't know them all yet.

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I have a # of ideas going through my head to help your financial ituation out. First though, to answer your question of popcorn. We do something similar to what EagleInKY does, but on a smaller scale to motivate our boys. Each year we purchase one boom box. It looks like a "big ticket" item, however is usually inexpensive. For every $25 dollars a boy sells, he gets his name on a piece of paper to be put into a "hat" at the end of popcorn sales. Our Kernnel has figured out a way to also use the time and money earned for boys at show and sells (table sales) to be included in it. At the end of sales, when everyone has been tallied up, she makes out slip of paper for the boys (that way it is all the same) and then we draw one name out of the "hat" and that person gets the boom box. So in another way...the more you sell the more chances you have to win!

Our only other "fund raiser" each year is carrying the banners for the JayCees during the 4th of July parade. This has been a long term thing our pack has done, and how it got started, I haven't a clue, but they pay us really well for the short time we are there. Might be something you want to approach with who ever assembles your parades in your area.

Our pack has become extremely frugal as well. Our monthly pack meeting notes...I have canvased the area and asked businesses with photo copiers, if they wouldn't mind donating the use and paper of the photo copier to print up our notes for that month...that saves the pack btw. 20-30 dollars a month!

At pinewood derby time, we canvas anything to do with cars (gas stations, auto repair shops, car dealers, auto parts stores, etc.) We have one of them donate us small bags, and the rest we ask if they have any promos they can donate. They get the advertising, and we get awesome things to put in the bags! Anywhere from 1/2 off oil changes, free car washes, to cozies, frisbees, pens, stickers, hot wheel cars etc....they are really awesome bags! Then each boy gets one bag, a certificate of participation and then we purchase trophies only for the cars that have placed (usually about 20 trophies).

Another suggestion would be to ask you chartering organization if they can donate something on a small scale that the pack needs. Our CO has purchased for us new flags, and flag carriers for the parade, and a canopy for when we go camping. They are usually willing to spend about $200.00 on the pack each year, but we have never yet asked for that much, but what they have donated to us were things the pack really needed and appreciates at the same time, and yet wasn't just $ that could be spent, but something that would be used for years to come.

We have never had paid entertainment for a pack meeting other than Blue and Gold banquets, and choose to pull from the resources of our parents and their abilities as well as their "connections". I have pulled from district people, and from cubmasters from other packs, just because I had those connections from going to training and roundtables. Just get CREATIVE!!!

Happy Scouting, and good luck with popcorn this year! Hope these ideas can be of use to you!

jens3sons

 

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Thank you for the ideas. One question about Show & Sell Booths--we haven't been doing that because we were afraid we would get stuck with too much popcorn that didn't sell. How well does popcorn sell in front of stores? I've seen girl scouts selling cookies, and cub scouts selling discount cards, but I've never seen anyone selling popcorn.

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If you do show and sell before the take order, you can use the leftovers from the show-and-sell to serve the take order sales. Contact store managers, and they are almost always willing to let you sell. Also, I have been told that Walmarts will match however much you sell in front of there store (up to $1000).

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Last evening at Rdtbl, our D.E. gave everyone popcorn samples. I wasn't paying attention so I got a box of the micro butter pop. I had a bag when I got home and it was awful. I couldn't even finish it. I don't mind selling a product that is good but this stuff needs to be reexamined. It is expensive and it should not be, "let the buyer beware". This is something that is being sold by the Scouts and there should be a higher standard for the product.

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Though I haven't tried any of this years popcorn, I have always liked trails end popcorn in the past. Is it conciderably different this year?

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Our council also allows us to rollover our left over Show & Sell into Take-Order. And, we can return unsold cases of Show & Sell popcorn.

 

When we put in our Show & Sell order we order enough (based on estimates & last year's sale) to cover both Show & Sell & Take-Order. The Show & Sell return is also when you are supposed to order your Take-Order popcorn. We know at that point what we still need & what we don't. We usually only have to order a very small amount and we pick that up at the S & S return. That way if one of our families need to get their order filled early we have the popcorn available. It also gives the families extra time to collect the money.

 

For quick cash to pay bills you should consider doing a car wash.

 

FB - It could be your DE was using last year's leftover popcorn which had gotten stale.

 

 

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Just as EagleInKY's pack did, we have a set of "pack prizes" in addition to the cheesy Council's prizes. We set aside 30% of the proceeds to pay for these prizes. These prizes came from the Scout Shop. We have one grand prize, X-Box or Game Cube. In order for a cub to be able to enter the drawing, he has to sell $xx of popcorn. For every $xx that he sold, he'd get one entry into the drawing. The more that he sells the more chances that he would win. For a pack of about 100-120 boys we usually sell about $6000 or about $2000 of proceeds of which $1400 goes to the war chest and the rest for the boys pack prizes.

 

If you pack account is low, then it sounds as if you all will need to revisit your pack dues and expenditure or a possibility of other fundraiser. Applying for other fundraiser is not out of the question either. Our pack has three fundraisers, popcorn, Council's Scout Fair ticket sells, and pack's Cake Auction where each boy/parent bake a cake and auction it off at the pack meeting. The boys really get a kick out of participating in a live auction (and a silent one too). We would have a local auctioneer to come in to do the auction! It's a hit. We usually collect about $600-$800 for the night. We give out trophies and awards for different categories.

 

Good luck,

 

1Hour

 

ps: I almost forgot. The Den that sold the most popcorn gets an icecream nightout with the cubmaster at the local icecream shop.(This message has been edited by OneHour)

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