Whether your Council or Unit does physical prizes, gift cards, Scout Bucks or some other form of recognition, the way you recognize your Scouts can greatly impact your sale next year. Remember, one of the main reason Scouts sell popcorn is because of prizes. Here are some things to keep in mind when doing your recognition:
1. Recognize in Public
The best time to give away the prizes is at a Pack Meeting or Court of Honor. This is good for two reasons. First, having the recognition at a formal event allows you to talk to parents about how the Unit raises money to do all of the activities coming up during the year. Second, it shows how well the top sellers in the Unit did and provides social pressure to match what these Scouts did next year.
2. Recognize in a Timely Manner
As with all awards in Scouting, it is important to recognize Scouts as soon as they earn it. The same thing goes for popcorn prizes. If your Council or Unit is using Gift Cards as rewards, timing can be especially important. During the holidays, there are many times that Special Pricing occurs. Black Friday, Cyber Sunday, and Boxing Day Sales can help Scouts get more bang for their buck. This year on Black Friday we used a gift card and were able to get a 32” TV for $99. We could probably not get this ‘large’ a prize for the dollar amount any other time of the year. I know some Troops that wait until the next Court of Honor to present them which may not be until March or April. This is far too late for the Scout to receive their prize
3. Recognize with Spectacle
Try to find a way to make the rewarding of prizes an event.
I know in Council that gives out Wal-Mart gift cards as prizes, there is one Pack which does a Pack Field Trip. They go to Wal-Mart and the Cubmaster gives each Cub Scout the appropriate gift card. With their parent, they go pick out a prize. It gives the family the opportunity to show the value of money and allows the Cub Scout to actually swipe the card to pay for the item. You will find that the Cub Scout will appreciate the item more because they ‘paid for it themselves’.
I know of one Boy Scout Troop that has their own Unit prize program in addition to the one the Council provides. They have a bunch of prizes on a table they purchased in advance. They then give Scouts ‘auction money’ based on the amount they sell and conduct an auction. This can be interesting because there are items that the patrol can use and Scouts will pool their money to get the item for their patrol. There are those Scouts which use all of their money on one large item. Finally, there are Scouts that use their money to get a lot of little items. Scouts will remember how this is done and will use different tactics from year to year.
Remember these elements when deciding on the method to reward your Scouts for the effort they showed during this year’s popcorn sale. Hopefully, it will help you sell more next year and in years to come.