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FireStone

Jack Links Fundraiser Partnership with BSA

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On the back cover of the latest Boys' Life is an ad for Jack Links and their fundraising opportunities for BSA units.

More info here: https://www.jacklinks.com/boy-scouts-fundraising/

Anyone tried this fundraiser yet? If so, how did it go?

It seems much simpler than popcorn. One product, a $15 box that contains two beef sticks, one bag of beef jerky, one bag of original tender bites, one bag of teriyaki tender bites.

Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 11.54.49 AM.png

Edited by FireStone

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11 minutes ago, FireStone said:

On the back cover of the latest Boys' Life is an ad for Jack Links and their fundraising opportunities for BSA units.

...

It seems much simpler than popcorn. One product, a $15 box that contains two beef sticks, one bag of beef jerky, one bag of original tender bites, one bag of teriyaki tender bites.

Jack Links....purveyor of the worst-tasting soggy "jerky" in the world.  YECH!

More interesting, and FAR cheaper, and easier to sell, are the Country Meats beef sticks --- you can find their ads in just about every issue of Scouting magazine. Just $1 each (no need to buy a big box of too many beef sticks). 

The Country Meats beef sticks are not only an easy, fast sell, but if the unit does it as a fundraiser, they keep 45% of sales (which is better than the 30% they typically keep from popcorn sales, though admittedly, the total payback to scouting is good with popcorn sales....it's just that the majority goes up the organizational hierarchy, not directly to units that serve the boys).

Edited by mrkstvns

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2 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

Jack Links....purveyor of the worst-tasting soggy "jerky" in the world.  YECH!

More interesting, and FAR cheaper, and easier to sell, are the Country Meats beef sticks --- you can find their ads in just about every issue of Scouting magazine. Just $1 each (no need to buy a big box of too many beef sticks). 

The Country Meats beef sticks are not only an easy, fast sell, but if the unit does it as a fundraiser, they keep 45% of sales (which is better than the 30% they typically keep from popcorn sales, though admittedly, the total payback to scouting is good with popcorn sales....it's just that the majority goes up the organizational hierarchy, not directly to units that serve the boys).

To be fair, Trail's End isn't exactly top-shelf product either. 😂

I hadn't heard about Country Meats. Will have to look in to that one. One of my "beefs" with popcorn is the steep prices of some of the products. $25 for a bag turns a lot of heads when your scouts are trying to snag some sales outside of a supermarket where a bag of popcorn sells inside for $3.

$1 product I think would sell really well. A lot of folks who pass by a popcorn table are quite happy to drop a few bucks, even without actually buying something. I think my scouts would do a lot better with a cheaper product. I could imagine a lot of people dropping a $5 bill on the table for a $1 meat stick and saying "keep the change".

 

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6 minutes ago, FireStone said:

To be fair, Trail's End isn't exactly top-shelf product either. 😂

Agreed.  That's where I think Girl Scouts differ: their cookies are good quality and people know what to expect.

 

7 minutes ago, FireStone said:

 

I hadn't heard about Country Meats. Will have to look in to that one. One of my "beefs" with popcorn is the steep prices of some of the products. $25 for a bag turns a lot of heads when your scouts are trying to snag some sales outside of a supermarket where a bag of popcorn sells inside for $3.

$1 product I think would sell really well. A lot of folks who pass by a popcorn table are quite happy to drop a few bucks, even without actually buying something. I think my scouts would do a lot better with a cheaper product. I could imagine a lot of people dropping a $5 bill on the table for a $1 meat stick and saying "keep the change".

Country Meats has ads in about every issue of "Scouting" magazine printed in the past 10 years....or you can see their web site:
https://www.countrymeats.com/scouts.aspx

I also think it would be very easy for scouts to sell a $1 product. Even the cheapest guy in the world probably has $1 in spare change lying around.  On the other hand, that $25 bag of popcorn is going to take some hucksterism to move...

 

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I tried the Country Meats a few years ago.  Bought a case for myself to see if it would be a good fundraiser for the Troop.  I found a few flavors that I really like and a few that were just okay - none were bad.  I never did get around to letting the Scouts try to sell some - ended up eating them all myself for lunch and trail snacks.

As others have said, the popcorn companies need to have lower cost options even if they need to adjust the size accordingly.  When my son was selling, we would open the boxes of microwave popcorn and sell the individual bag for $1.  We would also buy a can to put out some as samples.

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Our pack is going to try a Krispy Kreme fundraiser. It's a 50% profit. My daughter did this for cheerleading and it was very successful.

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We have done Country Meats at the pack level and I have had my son sell them to raise money for summer camp.   It was pretty successful.  Lots of flavors and $.45 is a decent profit.   People do not buck at spending $1-$10 on something like the sticks.   The :eek: looks we got our Tiger year trying to sell popcorn for $20+ forever cemented my opinion of the popcorn fundraiser.   BSA must figure out something better than popcorn.   Our council also added nuts this year.  My son is highly allergic to nuts so you can definitely count on us NOT selling them. 

I also like Country Meats as they are a local company for us.  They are based in Ocala, FL which is within our council so I like to support them.  Excellent customer service.  They give you all kinds of goodies to help sell with also.  And have a patch program! 

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can't comment on Jack Links but I bought one of each variety Country Meats from a local troop and thought they were disgusting.  Would not buy again but probably a good fundraiser b/c it's only $1.

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There's always been a lot of discussion about offering lower cost items. Marketing and sales people have looked into it; it's a losing proposition though.

In our council, we offer two $10 options., which is perfect.  If people want to support Scouts, they will. We market it as making a $10 donation and you get a free bag of popcorn. Not a $10 bag of popcorn.  If $10 is too much, many people just drop $5 in the bucket, even just a few dollars nets us the same as selling a $10 bag. We're just as happy with that.

My son has routinely been among the highest sellers in his council (last year he sold $6k+). Most of his sales are door-to-door, from pulling a wagon behind him, I've found that most people either fall into 2 categories: 1. those that want to get this kid off my porch without looking like a miser,  and 2. Those that realize $10 is an absurd price for a bag of popcorn but will still pay to help fund that Scout's adventure.  Even at $10, he gets very few people that  will flat out say "no".

If you lower your lowest item to $5 all you do is cannibalize your $10 sales; if there's a cheaper option, people will choose it. Then you have to sell twice as much volume to make the same amount of profit. Imagine the number of people you'd have to hit to sell the equivalent if your were selling $1 meat sticks. 

For us, we'll stick with popcorn. It's our one fundraiser a year, we meet our budget, give council their share, and move on. Parents hate fundraising. Do it once, hit it hard, make your target and forget about it until next year. I never understood the appeal of doing multiple fundraisers a year (popcorn, can drive, meat sticks, camp cards...). Talk about overload.

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We do ZERO fundraisers.  Scouts pay annual dues for registration.  We charge a nominal fee for monthly outings, basically break even to cover campsite expenses, etc.  For summer camp and high adventure that is funded by the Scouts attending.

Works for us.  In my limited experience the time and commitment to a sales effort is not well spent for the return

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14 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

We market it as making a $10 donation and you get a free bag of popcorn. Not a $10 bag of popcorn.

My understanding is that we're not supposed to do this. We can't solicit donations, even when they come with a bag of popcorn. We accept donations when offered, but our Pack's resident legal/financial guru has really hammered us on never asking for money. We sell products to raise funds.

14 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

If you lower your lowest item to $5 all you do is cannibalize your $10 sales; if there's a cheaper option, people will choose it. Then you have to sell twice as much volume to make the same amount of profit. Imagine the number of people you'd have to hit to sell the equivalent if your were selling $1 meat sticks.

I suspect that units doing meat sticks or other cheaper fundraisers see a lot more of the "keep the change" sales. I'd love to hear from anyone who has direct experience with this, how profitable cheaper items end up being in practice.

The risk of cannibalizing higher-priced sales is for sure a risk. But I think an acceptable one. I really don't like the optics of our really expensive items. We're a community organization, and when we get repeated negative comments about the absurdly expensive popcorn we sell, I just wonder what the long-term effect is on how the community perceives us and if we're doing harm to the BSA brand.

14 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

I never understood the appeal of doing multiple fundraisers a year (popcorn, can drive, meat sticks, camp cards...). Talk about overload.

Popcorn doesn't raise all of the required funds for some units, additional fundraisers are sometimes needed. We do a spring fundraiser, selling yard flags. The appeal is that we can tow the line with our Council and do popcorn, but then really make a bunch of money to find Pack activities and expenses with our spring fundraiser, which is far more profitable per sale than popcorn, is easier to sell, and requires less time from scouts and families to participate in. Parents do hate fundraising, but we haven't found a way to get them all on board with hitting our financial goals so we have no choice but to ask them to do more.

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25 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

We do ZERO fundraisers.  Scouts pay annual dues for registration.  We charge a nominal fee for monthly outings, basically break even to cover campsite expenses, etc.  For summer camp and high adventure that is funded by the Scouts attending.

Works for us.  In my limited experience the time and commitment to a sales effort is not well spent for the return

That's what we do as well.  We make popcorn optional for those Scouts that want to sell it to help offset the price of big ticket trips.  We fund normal troop activities through annual dues and trip fees.

However, I've come to appreciate that when we don't sell popcorn we're also removing a source of funding for Council level efforts.  While I wish there was another way for Councils to get money (without passing on fees to Scouts), I've accepted the current model for what it is.  As a result, we do thy to hit the FOS goals from the council.

28 minutes ago, FireStone said:

The risk of cannibalizing higher-priced sales is for sure a risk. But I think an acceptable one. I really don't like the optics of our really expensive items. We're a community organization, and when we get repeated negative comments about the absurdly expensive popcorn we sell, I just wonder what the long-term effect is on how the community perceives us and if we're doing harm to the BSA brand.

The model here of course is Girl Scout cookies.  $5 a box isn't too expensive and speaking from experience as a GSUSA parent, many people buy multiple boxes.  The challenge of course is that cookies seem to be a unique product.  No-one really needs 4 boxes of popcorn or jerky - but they are happy to buy 4 or more boxes of cookies.  Without trying too hard, my daughters would often sell over 2,000 dollars of cookies in a couple of weekends.  We might sell a couple hundred dollars of popcorn.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

The model here of course is Girl Scout cookies.  $5 a box isn't too expensive and speaking from experience as a GSUSA parent, many people buy multiple boxes.  The challenge of course is that cookies seem to be a unique product.  No-one really needs 4 boxes of popcorn or jerky - but they are happy to buy 4 or more boxes of cookies. 

As someone who buys GS cookies in bulk for personal consumption, I completely understand buying multiple boxes. Far less frequently do I see see customers purchase multiple bags of popcorn, however, I wouldn't call it rare.  We're blessed to live in an area with a lot of support for Scouts. We live in a community that has the highest ratio of Scouts per capita in the nation. We have 2 troops within 5 miles that have  120+ Scouts and another with around 75 (not to mention a few others with around 30 Scouts). We also have at lease 5 Cub Scout Packs in my town, all averaging around 35 Scouts.

From what I hear from my GS friends, the unit's return on cookies isn't nearly as good as it is for popcorn. Somewhere in the 15-20% range goes to the troop, as opposed to popcorn where 35% stays with the unit (and ~35% to council). I do envy the cookies ability to sell themselves, but the profit margin is terrible.

 

 

Edited by Pale Horse
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Our troop did the Country Meats fundraiser and it went quite well.  They were a fairly easy product to sell and were far better than the overpriced popcorn.  It also turned out that all of us leaders ended up eating our fair share during meetings. 😀

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On 7/29/2019 at 10:28 AM, Pale Horse said:

From what I hear from my GS friends, the unit's return on cookies isn't nearly as good as it is for popcorn. Somewhere in the 15-20% range goes to the troop, as opposed to popcorn where 35% stays with the unit (and ~35% to council). I do envy the cookies ability to sell themselves, but the profit margin is terrible.

Well, Mr. Horse, if it's profit margin you seek, your troop might want to look into selling Krispy Kreme donuts (45% margin to troop) or Country Meats meat sticks (again, 45% to the troop).  

The disadvantage to these, from the council perspective, is that all the profit is retained by the troop, whereas, overpriced lame popcorn nets the council a cut of the take. Never mind that, while the margin might be good, the volume is HORRIBLE because everybody knows the popcorn isn't a very good product, it's obscenely overpriced, and it's complicated to sell with too many products at too many price points. Girl Scouts might only be seeing a 15-20% margin, but when girls routinely sell $1K+ of product that net sure is a bigger pile of $$$ than the Boy Scouts with their 35% from scouts routinely selling ZERO.

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