Best Way to Let People Know Why You Are Selling Popcorn

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stick_figure_sitting_on_text_with_megaphone_buy_popcornWith most fundraisers it is important to let your donors (customers) know why money is being raised.  I was reminded of this fact when the MDA Show of Strength came on the air this Labor Day Weekend.  For many adults, this was previously known as the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.  For 45 years, famed comedian Jerry Lewis hosted a 20-hour television program with a cavalcade of stars that would perform and show their support for MDA.  Throughout the broadcast they would show children that were crippled by this terrible disease and how the money raised for MDA helps with research and physical assistance for those in need.  I felt the biggest tug to the heartstrings when they showed local people affected and then asked for your help.

Unfortunately, the MDA telethon has gone from the over 20-hour live format to a 2-hour taped-delayed format.  Admittedly, MDA finds it more difficult to connect to the local community and raise funds like they have in the past.

While I do not want to equate the struggles of Muscular Dystrophy with those of the Boy Scouts, I do want to show how communicating the reason for fundraising down to the community level is important.

Show and Sell

Let’s start with Show and Sell because it is the easiest to explain.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  When setting up your display in front of the local grocery or hardware store, create a poster board about your Unit.  Here are some elements of a good display:

  • Unit Number and City (The city name gives the indication that it is the customer’s Scout Unit)
  • Large Lettering (Recommended Letter height Ratio is 1”:10’ meaning lettering 1 inch tall to see at a distance of 10 feet, 2 inches for 20 feet, etc.)
  • Contrasting Colors for background and lettering
  • Pictures of the last year’s Unit events (Pinewood Derby Race, Troop Summer Camp/Trek, etc.)
  • Picture of a Service Project in which the Unit participates (Vitally important to show service)
  • Pictures of different things your Unit wants to do next year
  • Unit Goal (How much you are trying to raise to do all of the activities for the year)

Units should have the Scouts help in making this display.  Incorporate either the Art Belt Loop (Cub Scouts) or the Art Merit Badge (Boy Scouts) for help in making the Unit Popcorn Display.

Take Order/Show and Deliver

To help Scouts going Door-to-Door either with or without product, it is best to have a handheld version of your Presentation Board.  Include the same items that are on the Show and Sell Presentation Board, but limit it to a one-sided 8 ½” x 11” page.  My recommendation is to get these either laminated or insert the sheet into a plastic page cover to keep them protected from the elements and getting wrinkled throughout the sale.  Here is the trick when going door-to-door.  Have the Presentation Sheet on a clipboard with the order form on top but not attached.  When talking to the person at the door, hand them the order form while pointing out the items on the Presentation Sheet.  It is natural that when a person has the form in their hand, they are more likely to buy the product. My son used this technique last year when selling popcorn to raise money to go to the National Jamboree.  His presentation paper had the activities he wanted to do at the Jamboree like Whitewater Rafting, Zip Line and Scuba.

Having a Unit Presentation Board or Sheet helps not only the customer understand what the Unit plans on doing with the funds raised, but it also helps give the Scouts an easy point of reference with which to talk to their customers.  It is much easier for a Scout to talk about something they have done in the past.

I know these items will help you and your customer find a reason to support the Popcorn Sale and the Boy Scouts.  Good Luck.

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2 thoughts on “Best Way to Let People Know Why You Are Selling Popcorn

    Dawn Clemente said:
    September 30, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Hey Popcorn Guy–DO you know what is involved in selling popcorn to an S-corporation? I’ve got a company that wants to buy some & heard there is a 501C form. Can you help me? THanks!

      Robert "Popcorn Guy" Moore responded:
      October 1, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      Great question.

      Corporations sometimes want something for their tax records when they purchase large quantities of popcorn. There are two options. You can either get a copy of the TAX ID Number from your chartered organization or from the council. If they do not want a receipt, then there is nothing else you need to do.

      Businesses can “write off” the difference from the retail price and the value of the product. This is the 70% Support to Scouting that is advertised. Some councils put this dollar amount on the order form.

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