Now is the time to start planning your unit’s fall fundraiser. One company with a longstanding tradition of helping Scouts has a way your unit can provide beautiful, festive products and manage its profits, all while doing so safely for Scouts and customers alike during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 1977, Mickman Brothers, a family-owned business based in Minnesota, has offered a holiday fundraiser for schools, church youth groups and Scouts. It quickly became a popular fundraiser among Scout troops, and today, in communities where Scouts have established this Christmas wreath tradition, it’s greatly anticipated every year.
“Most people would like to have a Christmas wreath for the holidays, and if they’re buying it through a Scouting organization, it helps the youth of our country aspire to be active members in the community on into adulthood while funding their fun activities — everybody wins,” says company founder John Mickman.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to adapt to continue Scouting, including fundraising. Scouts have been selling wreaths, door sprays, tabletop trees and Christmas centerpieces from Mickman Brothers that will work appropriately and effectively during this unusual time.
How you can sell
When Scouts first started selling Christmas wreaths from Mickman Brothers, they primarily sold by going door-to-door, but the company has not encouraged door-to-door sales for the past couple decades. Instead, the company has recognized and encouraged additional innovative and helpful ways to sell.
Through the Traditional Program, in August or September, Scouts and unit leaders would begin organizing their holiday fundraiser and begin selling in September through October, submitting order forms to Mickman Brothers, which then fills those orders and sets up a delivery date, usually in late November or early December. Scouts pick up the products and then distribute them to their customers.
Unit leaders can easily adjust this format to be contactless by laying out wreaths for Scouts to pick up after the shipment arrives.
“It still should be just as much of a success as any other year,” Mickman says.
He suggests giving Scouts at least three weeks to sell.
Another way to sell wreaths that Mickman Brothers offers is through the Holiday Gift Program. Through this method, customers can fill out a gift order form, and even include a personalized greeting card. The product and card are then sent directly to the recipient.
“It’s very easy to do, no contact — that program has been very successful for over 30 years,” Mickman says.
The third way, which Mickman Brothers introduced several years ago, is through Gift It Forward. This site, at GiftItForward.com allows customers to input a fundraising code when they make their order. These codes are assigned to individual units, so when the code is applied, units earn $8 per item sold.
“This Fundraising Website is quite robust and does an excellent job of keeping track of participation for each Scout,” Mickman says. “When an item is purchased on Gift It Forward, there’s an opportunity for the buyer to say which Scout they’re buying it through.”
For the Traditional Program and Holiday Gift Program, units can adjust their prices to fit their markets, giving them more opportunities to manage their profits. The final order day is Nov. 3. Even after that date, Scouts can still promote Gift It Forward.
With any program, if a Scout can focus on selling to just neighbors, family or friends, he or she should expect a nice profit to help fund their Scouting adventures. The fundraiser overall though, can yield hundreds, even thousands of dollars in profit for ambitious sellers.
Make it festive
Mickman Brothers’ quality Christmas decor is harvested in a sustainable manner — the boughs are harvested without cutting down the trees, so the trees can continue living and providing for years to come. Some of those trees were ones the company helped plant.
Since 2007, for each item purchased via Gift It Forward or the Holiday Gift Program, Mickman Brothers has supported the planting of more than 800,000 evergreen seedlings in state or federal forests and lands across 49 states.
“When they purchase those Christmas wreaths, they’re helping reforest public lands,” Mickman says. “It’s making a great difference.”
These fresh, beautiful branches are fashioned into wreaths, door sprays and other Christmas decor. The company uses 3 million jingle bells and 1.5 million pinecones to decorate their products. Watch the magical process here:
Customers will have their choice of several different wreath themes and sizes: Classic, Victorian, Cranberry Splash and Wintergreen — all made from fresh Minnesota balsam fir. The door sprays come in accompanying themes. The indoor decor, such as table top trees and centerpieces, are perfect for adding that special touch inside the home.
You might remember seeing Mickman Brothers advertisements in Scouting magazine — they have been featured in the magazine since 1986.
If you want more information on the company and its holiday fundraiser, you can watch this webinar for Scouting groups:
Mickman Brothers will be hosting a Facebook Live on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. CST. The company’s Facebook page is great resource for fundraising tips. Those who choose Mickman Brothers as their holiday fundraiser can be signed up for weekly emails. Each email will be full of sales tips and ideas presented via short videos. The emails will also feature important dates and details to know.