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Popcorn season is coming - come in and share your secrets

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This thread is to share your experiences on how best to sell popcorn. Here are a couple that proved useful for us:


1) Pre-order - that way the boys have the popcorn in-hand to sell. Studies have been done that show people are several more times likely to buy when the product is immediately available


2) Combine a pack event with the popcorn kick-off - perfect opportunity to have an outing with the popcorn kick-off


3) Make the boys pledge to sell as certain amount - goals, goals, goals!!!

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I saw a really effective presentation from another pack. The parent who was the popcorn chair got up and talked about how she and her son sat down with the prize brochure and the pack guidelines (Scout account) and *he* figured out what his goal was going to be. The motivators were his desire to go to camp (and pay for it himself) and the prize level he wanted to attain.


Last year, we used the pie in the face of a leader incentive. We added a couple of twists. A boy got a pie for every $100 worth of product he sold. He also got an extra pie for selling at least 20 items in the first week of the sale, and an extra one for filling his whole popcorn order sheet.


The interim goal was very successful. We had 6 or 7 boys hit the twenty item goal. The "jump start" it gave to their sales was a big factor in our success. They earned enough to pay for: a new timer for the Pinewood Derby track, the whole Blue & Gold Banquet (catered), the graduation camping trip, and all of the badges, handbooks, neckerchiefs, leader training and reimbursement of 1/2 of each adults camping fee for this summers camps. We got free badges and Pinewood cars by hitting our FOS goals, so although we budgeted for those items we didn't have to pay for them.


We make a big deal out of the fact that *they* earn all this fun for themselves. We thank after these major events for paying for a great experience for everyone. We try and make a connection in their minds (and their parents) that all of this fun is a result of their hard work. They deserve the recognition - they earned their own way, and should be acknowledged for it whenever possible.

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Our pack has been very successful increasing our sales the past few years (from $2900 in 2004 to $23K last year). Here's what we do:


1. Our council offers Show and Deliver, and we take full advantage of it. The council allows us to pre-order all the popcorn we expect to sell, and there is no risk because we can return whatever we can't sell (we do not have to return full cases). The Scouts go door-to-door and are able to give customers their popcorn immediately, saving time-consuming return trips. Studies suggest that this form of sales is twice as effective as Show and Sells in front of a store (if you are not in a rural community).


2. We cut our regular September pack meeting short and lead right into a kickoff to get everyone excited about the sale. We start with a loud, wild, fun skit by the leaders. Once everyone is all pumped up, we serve popcorn and go over the pack's sales plan, including prizes the pack purchases for the sale and how Scouts can earn money for summer camp. The pack prizes are in addition to the Trail's End prizes awarded after the sale, and we have them on display so the boys can see them and touch them. We make a big deal about each boy coming to Blitz Day and getting a prize.


3. The first day of the sale (Saturday) is Blitz Day. Scouts pick up popcorn in the morning and sell for at least two hours sometime during the day. Everyone gets back together in the late afternoon for a pizza party, and everyone reports their Blitz Day sales and turns in the money they have collected so far. Every Scout that participates in Blitz Day gets a prize ($5-$20 value), with the Scout with the highest sales for the day selecting first, then next highest, and so on. This seems to work well for us, because every Scout wants to come to the party and get a prize, and once they get out and try, they found out how easy it is to sell the popcorn. By the end of the day, most are well on their way to whatever goal they've set for themselves, so there is incentive to keep selling after Blitz Day.


4. Scouts and their families set their own goals, but the pack offers $50 toward summer camp for anyone who sells at least $500 in popcorn. The amount the pack contributes toward summer camp goes up for every $250 sold above $500. Last year 16 boys earned $1875 toward summer camp. This way, not only are the Scouts helping the pack go, they are helping themselves, too.


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Having the boys take Show & Sell popcorn with them when going door-to-door is definitely a key thing to do.


We also make sure that the parents know what our expectations are in terms of sales. We spend about $100/boy each year as a pack, which translates into $300 in popcorn, and we tell them if they're not selling that much in popcorn, they're expecting someone else to carry their weight in the pack.


Finally, while there may be more efficient ways to raise funds, it's important to remember that a portion of the popcorn sales go to fund the Council as well, which benefits us all in the long run.

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I'd be interested in anyone sharing tips on how to get older Boy Scouts interested in selling popcorn. It was easy to get the Cubs to sell, still fairly easy to get new 1st or 2nd year Boy Scouts to sell, but they sure do loose interest after that. Using my 15-year-old son as an example: he's been selling popcorn since he was in Tiger Cubs. Told me last year that he's tired of selling popcorn, it was getting harder to get folks to buy, and he was going to focus more on his High School Band fundraisers.


Using my older son as another example, back when he was in his 14-15 age range, he used to take younger brother (all dressed up in his Cub Scout uniform) along with him. He said people were more inclined to buy from a cute Cub Scout.


So, anyone out there with ideas on how to 1) get older Scouts excited about selling popcorn, and 2) help them be successful?

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Can someone explain why national waits so long to announce a huge change like this?


We have already secured dates and set our schedule for the next 12 months.


In fact October is just about full of activities including University of Scouting, 3 camp outs and Pack and den meetings.


We are blowing off popcorn this year and doing a different fund raiser through our sponsor rather than scouts.


Is anyone else being effected by this change of popcorn date?

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I too am a bit confused as to what "huge change" you are referring to.


Our Council has not made any significant changes to their popcorn sale. The dates are all pretty similar to last year. We will find out about our products and pricing at our Council Popcorn Kickoff in mid-August.

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