How to spend less time fundraising and more time Scouting

On the lengthy list of reasons to join Scouting, fundraising ranks right near the bottom.

But let’s face it, all those Scouting adventures don’t pay for themselves.

Fortunately, with the right online tools, you can make your next fundraising effort painless, efficient and — dare I say it? — fun.

Consider popcorn sales — often a unit’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Those units that sell their popcorn online, using powerful tools from companies like Trail’s End, can raise more money in less time.

Below, some more ways to spend less time fundraising and more time Scouting.

1. Sell your stuff the 2017 way: online.

These days, people expect to buy everything online: Scout uniforms, tents, freeze-dried backpacking meals and more. You can’t beat the convenience of tapping a screen and magically getting something delivered to your doorstep.

For popcorn-selling Scouts, convenience reigns online as well. Scouts who sell through Trail’s End’s online site don’t collect money or deliver products.

They can sell wherever, whenever to whomever — and get rewarded for it.

But that doesn’t mean Scouts can expect the orders to flood in. They still need to do some work.

2. Tweet, snap, post and share.

Whether selling online, door to door or through a “show and sell,” self-promotion is critical.

Use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube to promote your fundraiser to friends and family.

You’ve put up with cat videos and vacation selfies cluttering your feed. Your friends will tolerate a few posts about how they can support local Scouting.


  • Change your profile picture to something about fundraising.
  • Post two to three times a week. The best times are before 8 a.m., between noon and 3 p.m., and between 6 and 9 p.m.
  • Share your unique selling URL (provided by Trail’s End) through direct messages.

3. Check your email (strategy).

The rise of social media hasn’t killed email yet. Here’s how to use good old-fashioned email to boost sales:

  • Create an Excel spreadsheet or Google Doc with a list of whom you’ve emailed and when.
  • Ask parents to email coworkers.
  • Use the Trail’s End email feature within your personalized selling page.
  • Send emails on Tuesday or Thursday between 10 and 11 a.m. or 8 p.m. to midnight.

4. Hit them up by text.

And what about those people who haven’t checked their email since the AOL days? Text them.

Encourage friends and family to share your fundraising page with people they know.

Here’s a sample text: “Hey, buddy! Trevor’s selling popcorn so his Boy Scout troop can go to camp next year. Mind taking a look? You can do it all online: [link].”

Too many people in your contacts to text them all? Well aren’t you Mr./Mrs. Popular!

Why not simplify by texting one person for each letter of the alphabet: Amy, Blake, Carol, Don, etc.

5. Go with Trail’s End.

Want a fundraiser that makes everyone happy? Trail’s End has you covered and provides you with tips on how to hit your goal!

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.


  1. Bryan, I appreciate how easy and successful the popcorn sales can be, but I am hearing a lot of comments second hand about the high cost versus what you receive when you buy it, Everyone knows it is a fundraiser, but you normally hope to double your investment. With a similar bag of popcorn costing about $3-4 in a store, $20 is really pushing the envelope

  2. Interesting that you are pushing Trail’s End when the council you live in left them last year.

  3. Control expenses and look for free events. An active, varied, quality, fun program does not have to be expressive.
    💲 💲 💲 💲
    Fund raising is NOT FUN and eats into program time. Fund raising means prizes and rewards, which means even high fund raising goals. Large fund raising leads to expensive cross country trips and distant amusement park trips, which are fun vacations with little educational or scoutcraft value. Means parents selling items at work. Sales to family friends and relatives. Unset and hurt feelings. Highlighting “rich” and “poor” families, or at least how much the family wants to spend for scouting. Parental time spent on fund raising can decrease volunteer time otherwise for scouting and other community activities.
    Presents to the community the image of Scouting primarily with its hand out and a tin cup.
    A check given directly to the troop/pack – how much is popcorn sales?

  4. The ridiculously high shipping costs have cost us a lot of sales this year with online and ship-to-home only sales that our council has switched to with Trail’s End. Our sales have dropped off nearly 50% because of the switch. No one wants to pay those shipping costs. “Can’t you just do it like you did last year?” is the phrase we hear the most.

  5. I tried to set up an account with Trails End. First they didn’t like my email. Then they wanted verification that I was a CC like really who wants to do this except those who have to. Then it was something else And finally they said the scouts had to set up first.Well ok. So that didn’t happen no online sells for us

  6. I’m not a huge fundraising fan and I agree that the online sales are higher than many folks are comfortable asking for – BUT. We spent 3 Friday evenings, and a total of 16 hours or so on 3 saturdays selling at a grocery store, and that plus our scouts selling at home and online have got us to over 8k. So i have several scouts who have covered all their expenses for the year, and a number of other families that spent 3 hours with families they hadn’t gotten to know yet, and have a campout or 2 covered. Plus, we recruited 4 new scouts:)

    Fundraising is needful for some families. Popcorn can be a problem, but it’s the easiest, quickest path for many families to help cover their scouting expenses. Please be mindful that you’re keeping scouts from being able to do the things they are hoping to do because their unit won’t fundraise.

Comments are closed.