As identified in last week’s article, time is one of the most important commodities a parent has. Time can be even more valuable to those in single parent households. Blitz Days take advantage of the time restraints families have.
Time is one of the main reasons parents prefer Show and Sell opportunities. Show and Sell gives them a set time slot, usually two hours, to sell popcorn with their son. When parents participate in Show and Sell, they feel their time commitment is done. However, the two-hour time slot usually does not produce the results for the Scout to meet their sales goal. Parents must then ask for another time slot which increases the amount of time they spend fundraising. This can leave a sour taste especially for new Scouting families.
The statistics show Scouts sell more per hour going door-to-door than standing in front of a storefront. Then why do they not go door-to-door. Most of the time, door-to-door sales are not as structured as storefront sales.
This is where Blitz Days come into play. Blitz Days are coordinated door-to-door selling event. The purpose of the Blitz Day is to provide an opportunity for every member of the Unit to go out and sell door-to-door for a set period of time on a set day, typically 2-3 hours. At the end of the set time, Scouts meet back at a designated location for a mini-celebration for their efforts.
There are three different kinds of Blitz Days:
- No-Product Blitz Day
- Product Blitz Day
- Hub and Spoke Blitz Day
No-Product Blitz Days – No-Product Blitz Days are the easiest to organize. This is the traditional door-to-door sales method where Scouts take the order form as sell to customers. The Unit Leader instructs parents and Scouts in their Unit to sell door-to-door in the neighborhood in which they live for a specific time period with a specific goal in mind for just that day. This method works best for Units who have a membership spread over several neighborhoods. The biggest advantage is there is no coordination of product delivery during the Blitz Day. The biggest disadvantage to this is Scouts and parents must take time to deliver the product and collect funds at a later date.
Product Blitz Days – Scouts go door-to-door selling product. The difference is there is a vehicle following Scouts which has the product. What I typically see is two Scouts going down opposite sides of the street selling product. When they sell the product to a person at the door, they collect the funds through cash, check or credit card, go back to the vehicle to get the product, and deliver it to the customer. The biggest advantage is parents and Scouts complete the transaction all at one time. This is time well spent. However, there are a couple of disadvantages. First, Units must have enough product on-hand in each vehicle of every variety to ensure they do not have to come back to the customer. Second, there is an additional expense of gas for the vehicle carrying the product.
Lately, I have done a modified version of Product Blitz Day with my son. Rather than carrying every variety of product, we select two. When he goes to the door, he does his normal sales pitch. However, he adds the line “I happen to have this product on me today” pointing to the one or two products we have in our vehicle. 80% of the time the customer will buy the product you have on-hand. I recommend the product you carry on-hand be $20 or higher. The first year my son and I used this method, we sold quite a bit of small caramel corn at $10. We have since learned from this mistake. The next year we used a large caramel corn at $20 and saw no drop off in sales. As you can see, this doubled his total sales with the same amount of effort.
Hub and Spoke Blitz Day – The biggest difference between this method and the Product Blitz Day is where you start. The ‘hub’ is your Show and Sell location. The hub is where all of the Unit popcorn is kept. You have some Scouts man the Show and Sell location while the others are the ‘spokes’ and go through the neighborhood around your hub. Scouts sell in this neighborhood using the traditional order form. At the end of sale with the customer, Scouts add the line “If you would like to pay now I can deliver your product this afternoon.” When the Scout sells an item, the parent sends a text or calls the Hub Coordinator. The Hub Coordinator pulls the product and sets it aside for delivery later that day. Once they complete their 2-3 hours going door-to-door, Scouts and parents come back to the Show and Sell location where the Hub Coordinator has the product already sorted. Parents and Scouts pick up their product and deliver it the same day. To avoid conflict with who mans the Show and Sell location, in the past I have designated these time slots only for newly recruited Scouts to out Unit while the rest of the Scouts go out in the neighborhood. This gives new parents an easy opportunity to get involved with the popcorn sale while still seeing the excitement and success of all the other Scouts selling popcorn.
As mentioned earlier, a vital component of the Blitz Day, no matter which method you choose, is having a celebration at the end of the Blitz. There must be a reason for the Scouts to want to participate by having a reward at the end. The reward does not have to be much. It could be ice cream, pizza, bowling, skating, zoo, or any number of items or activities. Provide a location for everyone to meet the afternoon or evening of the Blitz Day. Last year, I saw a Unit meet at a pumpkin patch/corn maze where those who participated got to go on the hay ride and corn maze while those who met their goal picked out a pumpkin to take home.
Goals for the Blitz Day are important as well. I set a Scout Goal for the day and a Unit goal for the day. I typically set the Scout Blitz Day Goal at $300. This amount should be easily done in a 2-3 hour time period going door-to-door. I then multiply this by the number of Scouts participating in the Blitz Day to get the Unit Goal. If either the Scout hits his goal or the Unit hits the Blitz Day Goal, they get the pre-established reward. I do give a special prize for the top-selling Scout or duo (Scouts who go out in pairs, typically brothers) for the Blitz Day. There are times when a Scout will meet their $300 goal in just over an hour. Having the top-selling Blitz Day Scout reward gives a reason for same Scout to finish out the designated Blitz Day time slot and sell more. Again, the item does not have to be large. In the past I have given away a headlamp to this Scout which cost less than $10.
Blitz Days are the next wave of getting every Scout in your Unit the opportunity to sell while reducing the time parents have to spend on fundraising. Schedule your Blitz Day just like you would for Show and Sell with a set beginning and end to the event. I recommend doing your Blitz Day sometime during the first half of the popcorn sale in your council with the opening weekend being the best day. Make the Blitz Day a part of your annual calendar and it will become a tradition to start your Scouting year off right by having the funds to run your program.