Month: October 2013

Making Sure Your Unit Credits All of Your Donations for the Popcorn Sale

Posted on Updated on

military_business_handshake_9795I have been told by many Units over the years, “We have people who do not want to buy popcorn but want to give a donation.  Is that OK?”  You may find the answer surprising.

First, let’s talk about BSA policy.  The guidelines on the Unit Money Earning Application are very specific.  It states, “At no time are Units permitted to solicit contributions for Unit programs.”  This means that Units cannot put any donations they receive directly into their Unit accounts.  By accepting a donation, a Unit may violate their not-for-profit status.

In addition, this would include soliciting while in a Scout Uniform for another organization, such as the Salvation Army or political organization.  Because the ‘Scout Uniform’ is as much a brand as the Boy Scouts of America, it is inappropriate for Units to affiliate the Boy Scout ‘brand’ with another organization without permission from the local Boy Scout Council or National Office.

Understand with all Unit fundraisers, a product or service must be exchanged for money collected.  Otherwise it is considered a direct solicitation of funds and goes against BSA policy.

So if a person wants to give a donation to your Unit, what do you tell them?

You have two options.  The first option is to tell the customer that you will pool all of the donations collected and use the funds to send popcorn to military units around the world. This can be done by placing Military Donations with all of the donations collected.  This way a product is purchased with the donations and qualifies as a fundraiser.

The second option is to politely say “No, Thank you.  It is against policy for us to take a donation and we want to earn the money on our own.”

Now that your Unit has collected the donations, how to you allocate them?

It is easiest to use an example, so here is how we do this in my son’s Troop.

First, we determine the total amount of dollars collected at site sales and the total donations collected.  Let’s say we had 10 Scouts collect a total of $2000 which includes all of the product and the donations collected.  This would mean that each Scout should get credit for $200 in total sales ($2000/10 Scouts = $200). This is an important amount to remember because each Scout should have no more than the $200 credit.  Now let’s say out of the $2000, $300 was in the form of donations.  It is important Military Orders totaling $300 is placed for the Unit.  In this example, it is easiest to give each Scout a $30 Military Donation and then $170 Credit for the Site Sales for a total of $200 assuming that each Scout worked the same amount of time.

Another way to calculate this is by figuring out the average sold per hour at the sight sales and the average donations collected.  In the case above, if the total number of man hours worked at the site sales is 40 hours, then each Scout would get credit for $42.50/hour sales and $7.50/hour in donations.  If each Scout worked 4 hours each, they would get credit for the same amount above.  If they worked a different amount of hours, then they would each get the appropriate amount of credit per hour.

You may have an instance where the donations and/or sales do not work out evenly.  The important thing to remember is that each Scout gets the appropriate credit.  If you have to adjust the Site Sales amount and the Military Donations for each Scout, then do it as long as the total credit per Scout is appropriate.  Make all of your numbers work out to the even dollar amount if possible.  Use the extra funds left over to offset the credit card service charges.

It is important the Military Donations are converted to actual sales so as not to violate BSA Policy.  It is important for the Unit, Customer, and Military for allocations to be applied appropriately.


How Should Units Allocate Popcorn Sales for Store Front Sales

Posted on

teacher_and_student_11776Parents from around the country have ask me. “What is the best way to allocate the sales from the store fronts?”  My answer has been “It Depends.”

The two main considerations when determining what method your Unit should use.  The first is your Council Incentive Program.  Many Councils around the country have incentives based on either the number of containers sold, number of customers which bought, or particular dollar amount sold.  If containers or customers are the main incentive criteria then the Unit will want an allocation system to account for this.  If dollars are the incentive, then finding the best way to split the sales are important.  The second consideration is equity.  Units must determine the most equitable way to divide the sales while making it easy to track.  Below are a few ways I have seen allocations for Store Front Sales with some advantages and disadvantages:

Direct Scout Allocation

This method is exactly as it states.  The Scout gets credit for the actual product he sells.  This format is easiest when there is only one Scout selling at a store front.  If there is more than one Scout at the store front, then have the sales alternate between the Scouts.  One Scout gets the first sale then the second Scout gets the next sale.  As far as Military Donations goes, as soon as you reach the appropriate dollar amount to place a Military Order, the next Scout places the order on his order form.  It is his sale and the next sale goes to the next Scout.  The easiest way to track this is using the order form.  As they make the sale, write it on the form.  It is import to make sure the total dollar amount per Scout at the end of the shift is similar so it is equitable for all concerned.  I have found that dollar amount tend to be within $5 of each other.  If it is not then even it out.


  • Easier to track every item sold and apply it directly to a Scout
  • Easier to track inventory
  • Better salespeople get credit for their effort


  • Sales can vary between shift, location, and date of sale
  • Better salespeople do better

Scout Hours Worked

This method is based on giving all Scouts credit for the number of hours worked.  Units take the total product sold for all store front locations and divide it by the total number of man hours works.  For example, if the Unit sells four days with 8 hours worked each day and two Scouts selling at all locations you have 64 total man hours.  Let’s say the Units sell $3200 total product at all location sites.  Using this example, each Scout would receive a $50 credit per hour they worked.  If a Scout worked more hours than others, they would get the appropriate credit for the number of hours they worked.  Remember, it is important to keep all Military Donations separate, divide them up appropriately and place the orders.


  • Do not have to track sales by shift or day
  • Easier to track inventory
  • There is no advantage to which time slot or day a Scout sells


  • Better salespeople do not get more credit
  • Scouts do not know how much they are credited until the end of the sale

Modified Sales Tracking

Just as it states, this method is a combination of the two methods above.  Usually this takes one item into consideration to give more credit to higher performing Scouts.  As an example, Units can take the Scout Hours Worked method and track this by shift or day.  For example, If you had 4 two-hour shifts at a location with two Scouts per shift and you sell $1600, then those Scouts would get $100 per hour.  If on the next day using the same shifts and location the Unit sells $800 then those Scouts that sold on that day would get $50 per hour.  The split can be done by shift, day, or location.


  • Better sales people get credit for their effort


  • Sales can vary between shift, location and date of sale
  • Fewer Scout sign ups later in the sale
  • Often have to create a separate Unit spreadsheet to track sales

Every Unit has different needs based on Council Incentives and what makes it easiest to track.  Units should make their determination based on their needs and how detailed they want to get when giving credit to Scouts.