4 Reasons Most Unit Leaders Are Not Successful With Their Popcorn Sale

freedom_breaking_through_wall_400_clr_7817They say the road to recovery starts with recognizing you have a problem. With this in mind, let’s look at the 4 reasons most Units do not succeed with their Popcorn Sale.


In talking to Unit Leaders around the country about Popcorn Sales, I often get the “excuses”.

It is easier to sell a $1 candy bar.

It is easier for Cub Scouts, they are cute.

We already do too many fundraisers.

Nobody wants to help.

When you boil all of these justifications as to why a Unit does not do well, they all come down to “belief”. They do not believe in what they are doing. One has to believe that the Popcorn Sale is the best way to fund their entire Scouting program for the year. Henry Ford stated, “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right.”

Before you can convince anyone else that something is possible, you must convince yourself. Do not let personal limitations transfer to other parents or more importantly to the Scouts you serve.


One limitation I consistently hear from parents is they are not sales people. They do not like to sell. What they do not understand is everyone sells. With every married couple, one person sold the other to “forsake all others” and be with them. Every person that has a job had to sell their employer to hire them over everyone else. Someone sold you on being a volunteer to help with Scouting. We all sell.

What they are really saying is I have not been successful in the past and do not want to try again. It is interesting that this is largely an adult phenomenon. Rejection can build up throughout a person’s lifetime to the point that opportunity is replaced with fear. If you say to a 7 or 8-year-old to go door to door and sell popcorn to strangers and be successful, most of the time they will not have a problem with it. With a little practice they can spout the best sales pitch with confidence. If there is one common thing I hear from parents on what they like best about the popcorn sale, it is how much they have seen their son grow in their confidence over the years. For more reasons on why Scouts should sell popcorn (other than money) go here.


It does not matter if it is the Unit or the family, they must all have a plan. I am sure we have all heard the horror story about the leader that stand in front of a Unit and says, “Well, it is popcorn time again. Here are the forms. Bring them back at the next Pack Meeting.” That is not a plan.

The Unit needs to create the reasons for doing a fundraiser, translate that into a budget and transfer it into goals for each Scout. The Unit must teach the family how to reach that goal through family goal setting, sales training and providing opportunities to sell. Finally, the Unit needs to monitor the progress of each Scout and reward them for their efforts.


Leaders need to be able to overcome their own beliefs, limitations, and bias to communicate to others all the aspects of the Popcorn Sale. Use all of the tools necessary to share information about the sale to the parents including why your raising money, how to sell and when and where to turn in the order forms and money. In addition, this communication needs to be consistent throughout the sale. As in life, we only affect the things we track. Leaders should use not only their preferred method of delivering the message, but the preferred method of the receiver. This way nothing is missed.

Once a person identifies and comprehends the challenges to being successful, it is much easier to overcome these obstacles. Once leaders understand that their own limitations are not the limits of others, they can truly travel down the path to success.


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