Month: January 2014

How Webelos going to Boy Scouts may affect your Popcorn Sale

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stick_figure_on_bridge_10157Blue and Gold Banquets are on the horizon which means Webelos will be bridging over to Boy Scouts.  Now is the time to think about how these Scouts bridging over will affect your next popcorn sale.

There are a few questions to consider when looking at these specific Webelos.

How much did these Webelos sell?

Unit Kernels should add up the total sales from these Webelos forms to find out the potential loss to your Total Unit Sales in the next campaign.  Webelos are typically the top sellers in a Cub Scout Pack.  The year my son bridged over into Boy Scouts, the three top sellers in the Unit, including my son, all went to the Boy Scout Troop. This accounted for over $6000 in sales.  This was nearly half of the entire Unit Total Sales.  Many Units order their Show and Sell product based on the previous year’s sale.  Fortunately, my son’s old Pack was aware of the potential loss and made an adjustment before placing their popcorn order.

What do you do with the Webelos’ previous order forms?

As the Unit Kernel, hopefully you made copies of the order forms Scouts have turned in last year and perhaps the last several years.  Normally, this ‘client list’ should follow the Scout when they go on to Boy Scouts.  As part of the paperwork going with the boys to the Troop, include copies of the previous year’s order form.

Does the Troop these Webelos are joining sell popcorn?

Units Leaders should find out if the Troop in which the Webelos are joining sell popcorn.  The Boy Scout Troop may have another fundraiser other than popcorn in which they participate.  In some areas of the country, Scouts can sell as an individual Scout if their home Unit is not selling.  However, in this situation, selling popcorn would be in addition to the traditional Unit fundraiser.  Unit Kernels should ask the adult family member if they plan on selling popcorn once they go to their Troop.  If these Webelos are not going to sell popcorn in the future, then your Unit has a ‘client list’ which can be disseminated to new Tiger Cubs joining your Unit.

Are there key adults of these Webelos which need to be replenished?

Make sure you still have the resources you need to conduct the next popcorn sale.  If one of these Webelos parents was the place you stored all of your popcorn, you may need a new location.  This same philosophy goes for bookkeeping, training, popcorn pick up, Show and Sell coordinator, and maybe even the Unit Kernel.  It is best to take care of finding your popcorn leadership now rather than waiting for the fall.

I want to congratulate all of these Webelos which earned the Arrow of Light and good luck as you continue along the Scouting trail.


Second Fundraisers Need Expectations Just Like Popcorn

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As we start a new year, many Councils offer a spring fundraising opportunity.  If your Unit needs to conduct a second fundraiser to pay for all of your annual Scouting activates, the key comes down to setting proper expectations with your parents.

Let’s start by saying the best situation for any Unit is to conduct one fundraiser and do that one fundraiser well.  An average household with two Scouting age children have the opportunity to participate in 13 fundraisers a year.  I have two children attending two different schools.  The PTA at each school does 4-5 fundraisers.  My son was in little league baseball which also did a fundraiser.  Other potential fundraisers include Girl Scout Cookies, Karate, Soccer or Football.  If you add Scouts to the mix, I am sure you can see families have lots of opportunities to raise money for the organizations in which their children participate.  Families cannot do them all. They must pick and choose the ones which are best for them.  Because of this, it is important to set the proper expectations with your families about your fundraisers.

1. Explain why your Unit is conducting a second fundraiser.

Be honest with them.  Have a complete Unit Budget you can share with everyone.  Show families how much the Unit raised at the last fundraiser and how much you may still need to fund the rest of your Scouting year.  In addition, let families know if this second project will be an annual campaign or if it is just for the special item or trip you are doing this year.

2. Show families the importance of participation by every family.

I am sure you have heard the saying ‘many hands make light work’.  This is especially true of fundraisers.  The more everyone participates, the less everyone has to raise individually.  Your Unit may give families the opportunity to ‘buy out’ of a particular fundraiser.  Please look at removing this option.  Part of the Scouting program is to teach youth to be self-reliant and pay their own way.  Fundraising provides that opportunity.  Scouts create memories even when participating in a fundraiser.  I remember working at a recycling center with my whole patrol to raise enough money to go to camp my first year in Boy Scouts.

3. Let everyone know participation in the second fundraiser is in addition to selling popcorn

As stated before, families can only participate in a limited number of fundraisers.  However, if families choose popcorn over your other fundraisers, the Unit will continue to be short on income collected from fundraisers.  I have seen many Units gain the first year from doing the additional campaign, only to see a reduction in the participation in their primary fundraiser.  In my son’s Unit, if you sell a certain dollar amount while selling popcorn you do not have to participate in the other fundraisers.  Because of this, my family concentrates on just popcorn for his needs.  We do participate in the other fundraisers, but that money goes back to the Unit to help others less fortunate than us.

There are times when Units need to do an additional fundraiser.  Your Unit may need a new Pinewood Derby track, trailer for patrol gear or your Unit is traveling outside of Council for a high adventure activity.  If this is the case, make sure everyone is on the same page and use the same tools which makes popcorn successful and apply them to your additional fundraisers.