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We don't live in an area that has a strong cultural support of Scouts. There are individuals who will pay/buy anything of course; but as a rule we wouldn't have a chance of having a single Scout selling $1,000 worth of popcorn. We definitely have that opportunity with the candy and meat sticks we sell instead. 

I lived in a different Council when my older kids were in Scouts. In particular, we lived in an area that had a stronger support of Scouting than the general area the Council covered. We participated in popcorn sales but didn't earn enough to make a dent in our yearly fundraising goals. My kids would go door to door and collect maybe $60 in outright donations if they were lucky and maybe one person would order some popcorn, necessitating another trip out to deliver it. They'd go door to door in the same neighborhood a couple months later taking orders for Christmas Wreaths and bring in a ton of money. 

For a couple of years, we started selling a local eco-friendly coupon book alongside the popcorn fundraiser. The kids did MUCH better when they could walk up to the door and say "Would you like to buy some popcorn or would you prefer this $20 coupon book?" We went through cases of those coupon books. The only people who bought popcorn were the occasional Scouting family who kind of considered it a tradition to buy the Scout popcorn. As in, maybe one or two people in the neighborhood in any given year. This wasn't a case of them automatically buying the cheapest option to support Scouts. This was a case of actually offering something of value that people were interested in, or at least willing to buy. Planning a trip on Amtrak within the next year? Going to buy a case of organic flour at Bob's Red Mill? Get your money back by using just this one coupon! 

I agree that popcorn sales are really a "thank you for your donation" more than a product sale. And if you don't live in a place where people are really wanting to make donations to BSA, it doesn't go over real well. I'm so glad the Council we are in now doesn't bother with it.

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13 hours ago, elitts said:

Let me re-write that for you more accurately.

Our Pack of 38 Cubs will sell $65k in popcorn solicit $65,000 in donations. My son is on pace to sell $8k in popcorn collect $8,000 in donations, and will barely crack top 10 in our council of 60,000 scouts.  Do people reach those levels selling meat sticks?

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The core of the problem people have with popcorn is that calling it a "product sale" is so disingenuous it's practically lying.  The popcorn is SO overpriced that it's no longer a product sale, it's merely a conversation opening for scouts to solicit a donation. 

In fact, if a troop approached most councils with a different yet equivalently priced product, it wouldn't meet the requirements for an appropriate fundraiser. 

You're right, it's a donation to support Scouting. We're fine with that; we know it, and our customers know it.  Nobody is "lying", if they want cheap popcorn, they know it can be bought inside the supermarket we're selling in front of.  Yet for some reason, his Pack still sells thousands of dollars outside supermarkets.

My son isn't trying to run a business. We're out funding our adventure in the most efficient manner possible, so we can get back to doing Scout stuff.  

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18 hours ago, Liz said:

They'd go door to door in the same neighborhood a couple months later taking orders for Christmas Wreaths and bring in a ton of money. 

This is our experience as well.  People were going to buy the Christmas wreaths anyway, and now they get to support scouting along the way.  Everybody wins.

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On 10/14/2019 at 8:21 AM, Pale Horse said:

You're right, it's a donation to support Scouting. We're fine with that; we know it, and our customers know it.  Nobody is "lying", if they want cheap popcorn, they know it can be bought inside the supermarket we're selling in front of.  Yet for some reason, his Pack still sells thousands of dollars outside supermarkets.

My son isn't trying to run a business. We're out funding our adventure in the most efficient manner possible, so we can get back to doing Scout stuff.  

I wasn't trying to say that you or your kids are lying or that people buying it are being lied to.  I was only saying that calling it a "product sale" really isn't accurate anymore (it was once) and that it's ironic for an organization with written rules mandating that troop fundraisers must sell products in line with their value to exempt itself from it's own rules.  (I'm also not arguing that they don't have the right to exempt themselves from their own rule)

That's why when National Public Radio does it's seasonal fundraiser it doesn't talk about how people can "Call now to purchase this NPR Coffee mug for $120"; they solicit a $120 donation and offer the coffee mug as a gift.

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