Note: Please read the entire document since popcorn sales do not a linear process. These guidelines are organized by subject.
Getting Started-Beginning of September
Chris Wells at the Marin Council office is your point of contact. Her contact info is 454-1081 ex 111 and her email is CWells@BoyScouts-Marin.org. She will contact you at the end of August to announce the date of the Popcorn Kickoff meeting. It is usually the first Wednesday of September. At that meeting you will receive a packet that includes some background information, timeline and dates that must be adhered to in order to maximize profits to the pack.
Getting ready for the store sales or “show and sell.” Part 1-Mid-September The first action you will take is to send Chris the popcorn order for the store sales. She will give you the due date, but it is usually mid-September. This is based on the previous year’s order (see attached with recommendations). Recommendations for increasing or decreasing the order is based on the history from the previous year. If you don’t have the order from last year, ask Chris to email it to you.
To reserve space at the local grocery stores-Beginning of September Ideally, the popcorn assistant will largely be responsible for overseeing the store sales portion of the popcorn selling season. This person should also be the one who makes the reservations for the store space as well.
To make reservations to sell in front of Safeway go to the Gold Dreams Jewelry store in the Redhill Shopping Center, they are the Redhill Shopping Center manager. She will allow you to reserve a total of 3 days for in front of Safeway. She will request a $50 deposit in case of damages. You can provide that check or ask the Treasurer to write one from Pack 50. In all my years we haven’t had any issues with getting the deposit returned. To reserve space for United Markets, you need to go to their HQ at 522 Third St., #B and fill out and sign a contract. There is no deposit. You usually have your choice of dates. I would suggest that you make reservations at both stores for the first weekend of October before the community gets saturated with sales from other packs and troops. Be mindful of dates in the community, i.e. Octoberfest, San Anselmo Country Days, etc. The United sales usually go for 3 weekends, both Saturday and Sunday. All store sales will run from 10-4.
At least 2 weeks before the first weekend of sales, the assistant should prepare the schedule (see example attached) of location and dens. Tiger dens should not have their own slot. They can “shadow” another den. Divide up the 2-hour slots evenly among the dens. Some of the larger dens may be able to fill in additional slots since it is not optimal to have more than 3-4 scouts selling at any one time. All leaders and scouts must be in uniform.
Popcorn Sales Kickoff at the Pack meeting-Late September You will receive sample prizes, brochures and samples at the Marin Council kick off that you can showcase and distribute at the September pack meeting. Be short and sweet and emphasize prizes on both the individual and pack level. Also make sure our pack understands that this is our ONLY fundraiser and the funds go to scout awards and other pack events. In the past we have offered a $15, $25 and $50 gift certificate of their choice to the three top sellers. The top selling den gets a pizza party paid for by the pack for up to $200. Make sure everyone leaves with a brochure and a Pack 50 Popcorn 101 flyer (see attached). You will have to make changes to the flyer to include new dates and info.
Popcorn pick up for the store sales-End of September-Mid October At the end of September, the popcorn order is ready to be picked up. You will need at least 2 large, empty SUVs or trucks. You will also need an inside place to store this popcorn. You will collect 2 shoeboxes, one for each store. In each shoebox should be: pens, extra brochures, price list, tape, $20 in change and pieces of paper with the price of each product (see photo attached). You should also have 2 large, clear containers, marked “donations.” You will also need 2 tables and the 2 Pack 50 banners. You will set aside 2 stacks of popcorn the night before labeled by store so the first den picks up the right amount of popcorn. I would suggest putting out 2 boxes of each of the expensive stuff and 3 boxes of each of the least expensive stuff. Once the dens know their schedule, the first slot in the morning will go to the assigned storage place and pick up designated stack of popcorn, the table, banner, shoebox and donation container. The last den of the day will return all of it to you. You will want to keep track of how much money was made from each of the 2 stores. Keep and tally the popcorn money and donations separately. It is always interesting to see how much is made from which store from which source. Be generous with the amount of popcorn that goes to the stores.
The popcorn sold at the stores does not count towards an individual scout’s prize. We see this as a collective activity for the pack and without it the pack does not go.
All money should be carefully calculated and given to the Treasurer for deposit. If there is extra popcorn left over, keep it stored and subtract it from the take order total when the time comes.
“Take orders” or brochure orders-September-October Every scout should get a brochure at the September meeting. Make sure you have extras on hand since you will get lots of requests for them. I left a stack on my porch for folks to come by and pick up at their leisure. I also brought them to the October pack meeting as well.
Chris Wells from Marin Council will have the due dates for the brochure orders to be turned into the Council in her packet. You should set the pack due date a good 5 days before you have to have everything in to the Council. NOTE: You should include this due date in the Popcorn 101 flyer before you distribute it at the September pack meeting.
We hope each scout can try their best to sell at least $250 worth of popcorn .The popcorn that the scouts sell in front of stores isn't included in the $250 goal. They can start collecting their take orders as soon as they get their brochures. If the scout does not collect all of the money in advance from his customer, he is responsible for providing that money up front. Be sure to tell parents to determine how much popcorn their scout sold and note on the bottom of the brochure which prize they would like to receive depending on their sales numbers. Ask them also to keep a copy of the take order form in order to help with deliveries.
Some scouts will want to pick up the actual product and sell it in their neighborhood. This is a very effective sales strategy. However, you need to make sure that they return any extra popcorn with their money by your established due date.
Ask another parent help you tally the brochure orders. There are always a number of mistakes, missing money, unclear orders etc. I would email the parent right away with my questions, so I may get it answered while I’m still working on the tallies.
When you tally a brochure order, start by making sure that the popcorn order matches across and down at the bottom. Re-calculate how much money each order is worth. Then count the actual money. A good percentage of them match up. Those that don’t--turn you into Sherlock Holmes. When confused, just ask the parent and hope that they can clarify quickly.
After all of the orders are calculated and the all of the popcorn numbers have been recalculated and placed at the bottom of the order form, then you are ready to put together the spread sheet for the pack. On excel, I had a friend give me the name of the scout and then she read off their order from the bottom of their form. I could then tally how much of each product I needed at the end. I also tallied how much each scout sold and added their prize choice on the same spreadsheet (see attached). I was then able to use that info to put together the top sellers and the den totals (see attached). You will submit the total popcorn order to Chris by her due date. Important Note: If there is leftover popcorn from the “show and sell” subtract that from the order you would put into the Council. The leftover product can be used to fill the brochure orders.
You will undoubtedly have to follow up with at least 50% of the parents about what prize their scout wants. You will have at least a month from when you turn in the order to when you have to turn in the prize list to the Council.
Make a copy of everyone’s order form to have on hand when it comes to the distribution day. You will want to keep the original and the family gets a copy in order to make the deliveries.
Popcorn Delivery-Mid November
Chris will let you know when the popcorn orders are ready for pick up at their distribution center. I highly recommend a VERY large delivery van for this task. In past years, I have asked Ongaro Plumbing to use one of their work trucks since the owner is a personal friend. Since we piggy-back the popcorn order distribution with Scouting For Food (SFF), we use the truck to pick up the popcorn and take it to Brookside and it gets unloaded and then it gets loaded with food from SFF and taken to the Marin Food Bank and then returned to Ongaro Plumbing. In the past, we have filled up their gas tank and brought them bags of popcorn as a token of our appreciation.
The morning of popcorn delivery which is also the morning for food pick up for SFF, have at least 7-10 volunteers ready to fill orders while the pack is out gathering food. Bring any leftover popcorn and empty boxes from the store sales to put together the orders. You will accumulate additional empty boxes as you fill orders. You will have made copies of everyone’s order and have the stack ready for filling. Make signs with each den number of it, so you can fill each individual order, but organize it by den. Bring extra tape, pens and Sharpies. Conduct a quick training with your volunteers: Each volunteer take a form and carefully fill the order. Mark the boxes with product in them with the last name. After the orders are all filled have a different person check the order. When the families come to pick up their orders, they can go to where their den sign is and have the volunteer and family review the order again.
If the family isn’t there to pick up their order, ask someone else in their den to take it. You will probably end up taking home a few of the orders, so you will need to contact the families to pick up their orders asap.
Prizes-Dec-Jan When the time comes to order prizes, Chris will send you the form to fill out. Tally the prizes and send back to her. Everyone who sold popcorn gets a patch including the store sales. You will need to ask at the den level who participated since there will be those who sold at the stores, but did not sell off the brochures. The complete list of who sold popcorn will also go to the Awards Chair since the pack also give a segment for everyone who sold popcorn.
Although the popcorn company prizes arrive after the December pack meeting, you can give out the pack prizes at the December meeting. I asked the parents of the winners what kind of gift certificate their scout would most like. It ran the gamut of Borders, Booksmith, and/or Lego Store. The prize increments are $15, $25 and $50. The winning den gets a pizza party for up to $200. Make a big deal of announcing the individual winners and the den. Last year, I received a bunch of items from the Council that I was also able to give out as prizes for the 3-10 top placed sellers. I don’t know if these will be available in the coming years.
The prizes from the popcorn company will be sent to you usually right after the December pack meeting. When the prizes arrive, make an inventory to be sure that all of the items are correct. In order to make the prize distribution run smoothly, I put the name of each scout on the prize. At the end of the January pack meeting, I had the scouts line up and gave them each their prize and patch.
At the beginning of December the Council will deposit our profits into our Council account. In 2010, we made $6,820! Beat that! Good Luck!