Planning for every Scouting year must include fundraising. Some fundraising activities are unique to each group, but Scouts Canada has had a great fundraising opportunity in place for 27 years: Popcorn! Each year thousands of Scouts from across the country take advantage of the Scout Popcorn Program, which has now become the largest Scouting fundraiser in Canada. Why sell Scout Popcorn through your group? Why for the adventure of course! This fundraising program can be a great adventure in and of itself, but the more popcorn your group sells, the bigger and better your program can be, including funding for lots of other amazing adventures for your Youth to enjoy!
Need other reasons to sell Scout Popcorn? Well, how about 60% of the funds raised going directly back into Scouting? How about giving Youth an opportunity to learn the value of Plan-Do-Review, as well as learning valuable business skills and learning to set and achieve goals? There is even further incentive with a Post Secondary Scholarship program: Youth who sell $2,500 in popcorn will receive 6% of their total sales invested into their post-secondary education.
Incorporating Scout Popcorn sales into your program is a great way to teach Youth about Plan-Do-Review.
Since the Popcorn fundraiser operates from 25 September to 31 October (popcorn orders being due on this date), your group will want to get things started early. In fact, it is recommended that your group assign a Popcorn Coordinator (Kernel) in the spring. In September Youth can hold a planning meeting to brainstorm the big adventures they’d like to have during the year. During this meeting Youth should also work out the costs involved to make these adventures possible. From there your group can create a budget so they will know how much money they will need.
Since getting parents involved in your program is always a good idea, once adventures and budgets have been worked out, invite parents to an orientation night to present what their Youth have planned for the year. Make sure to inform the parents that the group intends to cover the cost of these adventures though a single fundraiser: Scout Popcorn. You can also let parents know about the valuable skills their Youth are learning like budgeting, sales, and the value of money, and you can even let them know about the popcorn scholarship that is available. And of course go over how we make sure that kids stay safe while selling door-to-door or in public spaces.
At least one meeting should be spent teaching Youth about the sales pitch they will use to sell Scouts Popcorn. Use role-playing and the sales pitch flow chart that is available through Scouts.ca/popcorn [http://www.scouts.ca/popcorn/index.html]. One of the most important things to drive home with Youth is that when someone decides to buy Scout Popcorn, they are not really buying a bag of popcorn, they are helping to support Scouting and local groups. If the “sales pitch” is less about buying popcorn and more about supporting Scouting, people are able to see the big picture rather than focusing on a simple purchase.
And then it’s time for your Popcorn Blitz! There are all kinds of ways to go about this part of the adventure. Typically small teams go door-to-door using maps that have been divided to approximately 100 houses per team. Every door must be knocked on, and teams can record whether or not a sale was made, or if no one was at home. Groups can even create fliers to leave if no one is at home with information about the fundraiser and a Group email that people can use to contact if they would like to buy popcorn. There are other ways to take orders too, such as a Show n Sell with some popcorn in hand at a local mall or event (with permission of course).
Once the Blitz is over and the orders are in, have a Delivery day ending with a Popcorn Campaign wrap-up party! Most importantly, Review your successes as a group to find out what worked and what didn’t work so well, and make sure to ask what everyone would do differently next year. That way you can get Youth thinking about next year’s campaign. And when you wrap up your big adventures during the year, make sure to remind Youth that their hard work selling Scout Popcorn made it all happen.