Popcorn & Peanuts
Why Sell Popcorn?
We’ve been selling popcorn for a long, long time. That’s why we know it works for our Council and for our Scouts. Maybe you’ve received some objections to popcorn from other parents, or perhaps you yourself have doubts or concerns (or maybe you’ve written off popcorn altogether). This page is meant to address these problems with concrete answers and solutions.
Objection #1: “Popcorn is too expensive–people won’t buy it, and I don’t understand why it costs so much.”
We hear this concern about the popcorn sale quite often; it’s probably our most common complaint. Why is popcorn so expensive? Well, that’s because you’re not selling popcorn–you’re selling Scouting. When you donate to a non-profit and receive a gift in return (such as a tote bag or coffee mug), the dollar value of that gift or token is rarely equivalent to the dollar amount that you donated. Our Popcorn Sale functions the same way. You are asking customers to give a donation to local Scouting (remember that your unit receives a third of their sale, and our Council receives another third), and you are giving them the gift of delicious popcorn in return. We believe popcorn trumps a tote bag any day. When you frame your sales pitch this way, people DO buy popcorn. They also buy popcorn when you let them know how your unit is going to use the money–perhaps you are raising money for camp, a cool trip, or a new trailer. Customers enjoy knowing that they are contributing to a tangible goal.
Objection #2: “You don’t have any lower-priced items. The expensive products are too hard to sell.”
It is true that customers tend to buy your lowest-price items first, but that does not mean that lowering your prices will earn you more sales. If you sell three bags of popcorn for $20 each, you’ve made $60 by successfully selling to three people. If you split a box of our $20 microwave popcorn into 18 individual packages and sell them for $1.10 a piece, you have to approach 60 people to make the same amount of money (also, this is not allowed per Trail’s End regulations). In addition, we feature products as low as $10.
Objection #3: “We don’t need to sell popcorn. We charge enough dues to cover our expenses.”
You can certainly charge your Scouts the full cost of participating in all of your yearly activities. However, you could also lower those dues and add a fundraiser that benefits your scouts through teaching them about salesmanship, the Scouting principle of “paying your own way,” the value of a hard work, and goal setting. This also makes joining your unit less cost-prohibitive to families that may be deciding between Scouting and another activity.
Objection #4: “We don’t need to sell popcorn because we already have a yearly fundraiser.”
Many of our units participate in other fundraisers that have become longstanding traditions. That fundraiser is part of the unit’s identity, and we don’t want to replace it. However, popcorn can make an excellent additional fundraiser, either for the whole unit or for scouts who are working towards a particular goal or trip. You can choose to do take-order and/or online sales only, eliminating the need to store or transport the popcorn and, if you do choose to order popcorn, all of the products are returnable at the end of the sale, except products containing chocolate. With other fundraisers, such as candy or catalog sales, you are often stuck with a bunch of leftover products at the end of your campaign. This is not the case with popcorn.
Objection #5: “Selling Popcorn is for Cub Scouts. Our Troop/Crew doesn’t want to take that away from them, and no one wants to buy popcorn from our older scouts.”
We hear this argument a lot as well. We take the opposite stance–who better to sell popcorn than older scouts that most likely already have selling experience, a customer base, and product knowledge? Older scouts tend to be more goal driven and truly understand the lessons learned by selling. They also have more to pay for, including resident camp, high adventure treks, and leadership trainings. All of these costs can be offset or eliminated by popcorn sales. As far as taking away sales from Cub Scouts, older scouts not only have different connections and customers, but have access to a market that few Cub Scouts do: social media. Scouts can sell via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or their platform of choice. If your older scout sells online, Trail’s End has a customizable sales platform so that scouts can share their individual goals with their customers. Even better, Trail’s End will be updating their take-order app soon, to make in-person popcorn sales a breeze.
Objection #6: “Why can’t I just write a check instead of selling popcorn?”
If you choose to simply donate instead of participating in the Popcorn Sale, your Scouts lose out on the opportunities that popcorn provides:
- We live in a world where we are asked constantly to promote ourselves. Learning how to successfully market and sell Scouting through popcorn teaches scouts how to market themselves, which will prove useful when they apply to college or their first job. By not selling popcorn, Scouts miss this opportunity.
- Your scouts are also losing out on the lesson that comes from paying their own way: very few things in life are free, and you must earn the things you want. This is a lesson best learned young as to avoid the pain of disillusionment later on, and it is never too early to cultivate a good work ethic.
- Your Scouts miss the chance to earn money for college through the Trail’s End college scholarship program. To qualify, scouts need to sell $2,500 of popcorn within their first year. 6% of their sales are kept in a scholarship fund for that scout. Once enrolled, 6% of their sales each year will be added to their account.
Do you have an objection or concern not discussed here? Let Us Know–we would be happy to change your mind.