6 Things Units need to do today to “Be Prepared” for the fall popcorn sale.

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For most Units, it is the end of the school year, thus the end of their program year.  However, in order to “Be Prepared” for the fall popcorn sale, there are several items that Units need to do before the program year is over.

1.       Create a Unit Program for the next year and your new budget

Units that have a planned program are more four times likely to recruit new Scouts into their program and retain current Scouts.  Many Councils have a Program Planning session in the spring, so make sure to attend.  Your budget will help determine how much money you need to raise and how long it should take.

2.       Set a Unit Goal and Individual Scout Goals for the fall popcorn sale

Units that set goals for their popcorn sale are 80% more likely to achieve their goal that those that do not.  That ratio is even higher when looking at the individual Scout.  Take into consideration the number of new Scouts you may recruit between now and when the sale begins.  If the expectations are set up front as to how much to sell and what the funds are going to, you are far more likely to have everyone participate.

3.         Get Volunteers Recruited

Vital to the success of your fundraising campaign is having enough volunteers to support it.  I recommend creating a Unit Popcorn Key 3 consisting of your Unit Popcorn Kernel, Unit Distribution Kernel and, if needed, a Unit Show and Sell Kernel.

The Unit Popcorn Kernel is the person that is the main point of contact with the Council, and they are responsible for turning in funds to the Council.  Depending on the size of your unit, you may have multiple people enter individual Scout Orders. However, the Unit Kernel is likely to be person that places the final orders with the Council.

The Unit Distribution Kernel is the person that actually picks up the popcorn from the appropriate location and delivers it to the Show and Sell Kernel and/or the individual Scouts for Final Distribution.

If your Council does Show and Sell (selling in front of a store), then I recommend having a person in charge of just these locations.  This person coordinates the site locations and schedules which Scout will be at that location and what time.  For some locations, permission needs to be obtained several months in advance.  That is why it is important to start today.

4.         Go to Training

Your Council is likely to hold a Popcorn Kickoff sometime between now and the start of your sale.  Do not send just one person to these trainings.  Get as many popcorn volunteers from your unit to attend these trainings.  The more people know, the more they are invested in the program and the process.

5.         Obtain your own Unit Prizes

One thing to include in your budget is the amount you will spend on your own unit prizes.  In a survey of the top 100 selling units in each region (400 in all), 84% of Units said they offered their own prize program outside of anything the Council or the popcorn company was offering (More on this survey in next week’s blog).  In addition, these units spend on average of 2% of their gross profits.  The dollar amount does not have to be a lot, but it is important to have something that is your own.

6.         Create a method of communication

There are many ways to do this.  Whether through mail, email, newsletter, Twitter, presentation or phone, you need to establish the best way to communicate to everyone in your unit.  Remember, different people prefer different delivery methods.  You need ask people how they prefer to be contacted and try to accommodate to this.  Because there are so many different ways to communicate, you may want to set the expectation with those in your unit.  Share with them the one, two or three different ways you are going to send out the information and have them look for it.

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