More insight into the National Council’s role in unit fundraising

Mark Moshier and the fundraising experts at the Boy Scouts of America hear you.

Last week’s explanation of why a unit’s fundraiser was determined to be against BSA rules left some of you with even more questions about fundraising and the National Council’s role in the money-earning process.

Some of you even questioned whether the National Council regulates fundraising projects because it wants to make sure to get its cut of the profits. Let me say right now: That’s not true.

Read below as Moshier, head of the BSA’s Fund Development Department/Fundraising and Staff Development Team, takes time to address many of the questions you raised in the comments section of last week’s post. His official answer, after the jump …

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Upon further review, troop’s grocery-bagging fundraiser isn’t permitted

fundraisingUpdate, Feb. 7: See more explanation and answers to questions left in the comments below at this post.

I stand corrected.

Yesterday I blogged about a troop that raised money by bagging groceries for tips at a local supermarket.

Today I learned that such fundraisers aren’t permitted by the Boy Scouts of America. Mark Moshier, team leader for the BSA’s Development and Corporate Alliances and Council Fund Development teams, was friendly and helpful in providing me with an explanation as to why this type of project isn’t allowed.

Be sure to read Mark’s full explanation below, but the essence is that the project involves “solicitation of funds,” he writes. “Only the BSA national organization and local councils are authorized to solicit funds in the name of Scouting.”

I should say that several wise volunteers who commented on yesterday’s post knew something was fishy with the project idea and should be commended for staying aware of these important rules.

Today Mark gave me a copy of “Funding Your Scouting Program,” an official BSA training video I posted to YouTube. Watch it below. It’s 13 minutes and worth your time if you’re at all involved with fundraising in your pack, troop, team, post, ship or crew.

Thanks to Mark for this clarification. Please read his official response to yesterday’s post: Continue reading


This troop has fundraising in the bag (Update: Project not BSA-approved)

RETRACTION, Jan. 30: Fundraisers like this one are not permitted by the Boy Scouts of America. Please read the official explanation here.

The original post is below.

Would you like paper or plastic?

Or maybe you’d prefer some cold, hard cash.

One troop says bagging groceries for tips at the local supermarket is “the best fundraiser our troop does by far.” Would it work for your unit?

“We generally work two to four lanes at a time depending on how busy it is,” Scouter Jeff commented on a recent post. “We have ice cream buckets labeled with where we are going, and the money goes into a general fund for the trip and for gas.”

That brings up a larger point about fundraisers: You might find more success if you tell the potential giver exactly how you’ll use their donation. People are more likely to donate if you say “Help send us on a backpacking trip to Philmont” than if you use the vague “Help support our troop” line.

As for the grocery-bagging fundraiser, Jeff says his boys “raised Continue reading


23 bizarre but true fundraising ideas from Scouting’s past

Popcorn’s all the rage these days, but Scout fundraisers haven’t always been so mainstream. Throughout history Scouts have sold a variety of less-conventional products to raise money for their pack and troop. I’m talking candles and fire extinguishers, road atlases and safety flares, candy and oranges — if you could slap a price tag on it, chances are Scouts sold it.

Not that fundraising creativity is a bad thing, of course. Fundraisers are a necessary part of any Scout unit, always done in the name of filling a unit’s coffers so it can offer more and better Scouting outings. But some of the items I came across when searching through Scouting magazine’s digital archives made me do a double-take.

But hey, whatever works, right?

After the jump find 23 bizarre fundraising ideas from Scouting’s past, all presented as they appeared in Scouting magazine. And those of you who have been in Scouting a while, tell me: Did you sell any of these items? Or better yet: What was the craziest Scouting fundraiser you ever took part in? Continue reading


Credit cards welcome: How to take plastic for popcorn

Cash or check only? Not anymore.

Thanks to some handy new tech tools, it’s possible to accept credit cards at your unit’s next popcorn sale, carwash, or other money-earning project.

That eliminates a big reason customers give when choosing not to buy from packs, troops, teams, or crews at events like Show and Sells: “Sorry, I don’t have any cash.”

Enter the card readers. These free, pocketable devices plug into the headphone jack on your iPhone, iPad, or Android Phone. Just like that, you’re set up to accept credit cards.

They’re secure, they look professional, and they give you quick access to your funds. I even hear that some councils are giving them out at popcorn kickoff events.

Here’s a look at the three biggest card readers out there, each with its own special features:  Continue reading


What can this Boy Scout marketing prodigy teach you about popcorn sales?

Donovan Fisher isn’t your typical door-to-door salesman.

“The Popcorn Scout,” as he’s now known, is a 12-year-old marketing prodigy who in 2011 sold $9,208 in Trail’s End popcorn and chocolate pretzels, ranking 14th among all Boy Scouts in the U.S.

I first read about Donovan last year on the marketing Web site “Web.Search.Social.” Here’s what marketing pro Scott McKelvey wrote about Donovan:  Continue reading


Help reimagine the next generation of Cubcast

Call it a temporary role reversal.

The team behind Cubcast — which Cub Scout leaders listen to every month for practical tips — is now listening to you.

I told you all about the monthly, BSA-produced podcast when I previewed the July and August editions. It’s already excellent.

But the folks behind Cubcast aren’t resting on their laurels. They’re taking the admirable “if you’re not moving forward you’re moving backward” approach and will start from scratch to make Cubcast an even better tool for Cub Scout leaders.

A tool sort of “like your favorite hammer or kitchen spatula,” says Caryl Lombardi, BSA multimedia producer. Listening directly to the leaders? I think she hit the nail on the head with that one.

Here are some of the questions they’re looking to you to answer:  Continue reading


Popcorn-selling secrets heat up August Cubcast

When someone down the hall makes popcorn, the enticing aroma makes me drop everything and find the source.

If only selling Scout popcorn were as easy, right? Turns out it is.

That’s thanks to the August 2012 edition of Cubcast, the excellent audio podcast for Cub Scout leaders that I told you about earlier this month.

Part 2 of the latest episode explains why units sell popcorn, some secrets for how to sell more, and info about some tasty new flavors.  Continue reading

Trail's End Popcorn Sales Military Donation

Support Scouting and American troops with popcorn sales

Popcorn sales help fund Scouting activities, but this salty treat can also bring cheer to service men and women overseas.

Popcorn buyers can do both—support the troops and Scouting—by participating in a Trail’s End military donation. This service act can be completed in two ways:

When Scouts sell popcorn, simply ask buyers if they wish to purchase one box of popcorn for themselves and an additional box to be sent to the American troops overseas. This donation is noted on the order form, and later reported by the council to Trail’s End. Continue reading

Ten tips for making your Scout popcorn sales really pop

Question: What do movies and Scouting have in common?

Answer: They both can be made better by popcorn. 

It’s nearly fall, and that means it’s time for Scouts to sell popcorn to help fund all the fun activities planned for the coming year. We know that non-Scouts out there love popcorn, and we know they want to support a good cause like Scouting. The hard part is getting your Scouts connected with these eager customers.

To better prepare you for popcorn season, we tapped the wisdom of your fellow Scouters to see if they had any kernels of knowledge about how to sell popcorn. We posted a question on our Facebook page and on Twitter (@scouting), and we got some great responses.

So here are 10 Tips for Making Popcorn Sales Pop. With each tip, we’ve listed the helpful Scouter who submitted that suggestion.

  1. It’s just a numbers game. The more houses boys visit, the more they’ll sell. (Blair P.)
  2. Set up at a local university. College kids love popcorn! (@amsb)
  3. Give the Scouts ownership of the sale. Instead of adults making all of
    the decisions about how the money earned will be spent, get the boys
    involved in the decision making. The more input the boy has, the more
    excited he will be about selling, and the more he will sell. (Tonya A.)
  4. Sell Scouting, and the popcorn will sell itself. (Pat G.)
  5. Make it fun, and give them an incentive to help the unit. We
    have a prize jar so the Scouts can earn a small prize for each sale. (Ken D.)
  6. Sell the actual product. We call it “Show and Deliver.” The
    customer sees the product is available right then and there and will be
    more likely to buy. (Roberta H.)
  7. Let the boys who sell the most throw a pie in a leader’s face! It’s amazing how much popcorn a Scout will sell with that chance in front of them! (Jason M.)
  8. Tell the boys to be professional and use manners. Make sure they introduce themselves and explain what they’re doing. (@JoshWilberger)
  9. Work on the Salesmanship merit badge during popcorn sales. (Cindy P.)
  10. When boys deliver the popcorn, have them include a thank you note. Their customers will remember the boys next year. (Kimmy P.)
Great suggestions! And now one tip from us: With all money-earning projects, be sure to follow the BSA’s “Guide to Money-Earning Projects.”