The Power of 3 – Part 2

four_legged_race_13647This is the second of three articles on Unit Adult Leadership for your popcorn sale.

How long should you ask an adult to commit to a volunteer position?  Popcorn positions are a bit different from other Scouting positions.

Because the title of this article is the “Power of 3”, I bet you can guess how long I suggest.  My recommendation is to use the model of many clubs and have popcorn positions be a three-year commitment.  This is different from recruiting a Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, or Den Leader where you want consistency in leadership over time.  Popcorn is different because there is a start and end to the season.

There are several examples n other organizations which follow this rule of a three-year commitment.  Rotary International uses the following philosophy for the president of their particular club.  When a person is elected for president, they hold three different positions: President-Elect (or Vice-President depending on the club), President and Past-President. There is a theory behind this:

  • Year 1 – Observe a person doing the role
  • Year 2 – Do the role
  • Year 3 – Mentor the next person doing the role

I am a member of a Football Officials Association because I referee football from little league to high school in my local area.  We use the same three-year commitment for our officers and board members.

The American Cancer Society has a guideline within their volunteer organization that a person cannot have a specific volunteer `position for longer than three years.  They do not want people to get burned out in a particular role and they want new people with new ideas coming into the organization.  This does not mean the person can only volunteer for three years.  For those who want to continue to volunteer, they find them different positions which match their interests.

Take it from a person with almost 20 years of popcorn experience.  A person can get burned out on popcorn.  I recommend when recruiting a person in your Unit for each of the three popcorn positions, tell them it is a three-year and only three-year commitment.  Use a similar theory as Rotary with the first year being an observation year, the second year doing the job and the final year to train the incoming person in this role.  In addition, recruitment for all of these positions should be done annually so there is always new people coming in to these roles and no one gets burned out.

If your Unit follows the plan above, over time you will have three people involved with each of the three popcorn positions in your Unit.  The more people involved in your popcorn sale, the more successful you will be.

Part 3 – Three things you should not do when recruiting volunteers


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