Archive for the ‘Fundraiser’ Category


Your pack or troop is planning to hold a fundraiser. Is it a one day event, such as a meal or a car wash? If it is, then you need to get the word out about it. You need to promote it.

How do you do that? And how can it be done for little or no cost to your unit? After all, if you have to pay for advertising, then you have to sell more product to cover those costs. Here are a few tips our troop has learned over the last twenty years. (Some of these may work better in a small town then they do in a large city.)

Newspapers – Placing an ad in a newspaper can be expensive, but some newspapers will give non-profit groups a little discount on the cost. Our local papers have a “local events” listing which lists group activities and fundraisers for free. Does yours?

Television – Commercials can make a newspaper ad look very inexpensive. However, some stations will air a “Community Happenings” spot during local programming free of charge. You will need to get the information about your event to the station three to four weeks before the event’s date. Many community access television stations run a bulletin board of local events between their programming. Your fundraiser could be listed there free of charge.

Radio – Some radio stations will do public service announcements. Your fundraiser may qualify as such an announcement. Or bring some tickets of your event to the station and let them give them away to a lucky caller. Volunteer to be interviewed on the air by the deejay. Look at how much promotion the Girl Scouts receive by bringing cookies to radio stations during the sales period.

Marquees – Almost every bank and credit union has an outdoor electronic marquee these days. Our financial institutions will place information about our fundraiser on their marquees, free of charge, for two or three days before the event.

Posters – This has got to be one of the oldest ways to advertise. Posters can be easily designed on a home computer and then printed in large or small quantities. Many stores, restauraunts, offices, churches, and schools have cork boards for the placement of these posters. Some businesses will even place the posters in their front window. Just be sure to ask permission before placing a poster.

Church Bulletins – Contact your local churches. Most of them would be happy to include your event in their weekly parish bulletins.

Electronic messaging – Send out emails to friends and family. Text your friends on the phone. Just do not do it so much that people start looking at it as spamming. We even post a note about the event on our troop’s website.

Speaking – Yeah, that is right. Talk about it. Tell your relatives. Tell your friends. Tell your coworkers. Talking has worked for centuries. Spread the word, man!

Well, there is my list. How does it compare to yours? Did I give you any ideas? Do you have ideas that I did not mention? If you do then leave a comment and share it with us all.

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    Each year on Palm Sunday, Boy Scout Troop 68 conducts a spring breakfast fundraiser. The troop has done this for most of the last twenty years. It has done well, usually bringing in over $1000.00 to the troop’s general fund and the boy’s credits for camp.

    I am getting a little concerned about how much longer we will be able to do the breakfast with our dwindling membership. Ten years ago we had nearly thirty Boy Scouts to presell tickets and work the morning of the breakfast. Currently, we have only nine Scouts, which is barely enough to conduct this fundraiser.

    The troop takes one meeting night three or four weeks before the breakfast to hold a ticket selling kick-off during which we try to cover as much of the town in one night as we can. When we had thirty Scouts we could cover a large area of the town (of 3100 people) in one night. The boys would usually sell $700-$800 worth of tickets in that two hour period which was enough to cover most of the expenses. Now, with our small troop, we cannot even cover one third of the town in that first night of selling.

    And this year was worse. Four of the nine Scouts did not attend due to sickness or family matters. An extremely cold kick-off evening made our time for selling even shorter then usual. The boys did not want to be out in the cold, and I really could not blame them. When the last Scout returned from selling we had sold less then $300 in tickets. “This is not looking good,” I thought to myself.

    During the next three weeks the weather stayed cold with many days below zero degrees. Tickets sales were not going well because the boys were not getting out to sell them. During the fourth and final week the weather finally warmed up, allowing the Scouts to get out for one last push.

    The Boy Scouts turned in their money and leftover tickets as they arrived at the church basement on the morning of the breakfast. I was surprised, and proud, to discover that they had sold over $900 of tickets after that first night. Things were beginning to look up. If the walk-in business was good, then we would do well.

    The Scouts and parents worked hard that morning. The parents did the cooking. The boys set the tables, cleaned them off, and did the dishes. By noon, everyone was exhausted. Eight Boy Scouts and their parents had accomplished what used to be done by two dozen Scouts and their parents.

    Our troop treasurer was sick with the flu Sunday morning, so I took all the money home and began to get the preliminary figures together. I was smiling when I pushed the last button on the calculator. It appears that the troop will once again make a profit of over $1000.00. Nearly $300.00 of that will go toward the boy’s funds for camp.

    Not bad, huh? Everyone worked hard and we did well. We are now done with fund raising until October when we have another breakfast, followed by the council’s popcorn sales.

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      The troop’s spring fundraiser, a pancake and sausage breakfast to be held on Palm Sunday, had it’s kick-off Monday night as the Scouts used their meeting night to begin selling tickets in our community. This breakfast has been a great fundraiser for over 20 years, and usually adds over a thousand dollars to the troop treasury.

      During the ninety minute first night kick-off we pair up the Scouts and, using maps of the city and parents for the transportation, send the boys into their sections to sell as many tickets as possible. We we had a larger troop of over 30 boys we could cover most of the town and sell enough tickets to pay the expenses of the breakfast. Now that we have a small troop of only ten members we may sell enough to pay for half of the expenses.

      A percentage of the ticket sales in put into a kitty which is evenly split between the boys who work that first night. This credit is then used to pay camp costs. After the first night, the Scouts and parents continue to sell tickets on their own time. The boys receive camp credit for those sales also.

      Several years ago a few of the younger boys came back after the first night of selling with tears in their eyes. Some of the older boys were very frustrated. Unfortunately, some people were very rude to the boys when they answered their door. Others made up excuses or out right lied to the boys to avoid having to buy a breakfast ticket. “I already bought my tickets,” was the most popular lie, which was impossible because the boys had just received their tickets. “I will be out of town,” was said before the boys could even tell them the date of the breakfast. “I will get my ticket from the girl scouts,” was my favorite. (Umm, excuse me. This is a BOY SCOUT fundraiser.)

      The next time we had a ticket sales kick-off I made a game of it. I told the boys to remember the excuses given to avoid buying a ticket. When the boys returned we had a few good laughs over those reasons, instead of a few tears over hurt feelings.

      My question to those people is a simple one. Why do you lie to the Scouts? We try to teach the boys to be honest and trustworthy and you lie to them, looking them in the eye as you do it. If you would just tell the Scout, “No thank you, I am not interested”, the Scout would understand, thank you for your time, and move on to the next home. Is that too much too ask? I would hope not.

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        I bet that I could safely say that we have all done fundraisers that were, shall we say, less then successful. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again.

        One fundraiser that has been very successful for our Boy Scout troop has been the pancake and sausage breakfast. We have done these for nearly twenty five years. The troop usually makes a profit of $1000-$1500 each time. Two approached the $2000 mark.

        Troop 68 conducts two breakfast each year. The first is held in the spring on Palm Sunday. The second is held in the fall, usually on the first Sunday in October. We serve breakfast from 8:00 am to noon in the church basement of the largest church in town.

        A few parents begin working the morning of the breakfast around 6:00 am to start preparing the food. The Scout and other parents arrive after 7:00. We require at least one parent from each Scout family to work during the breakfast. The adults work in the kitchen and prepare the food. The Boy Scouts set the tables, clear off the tables, and clean the dishes. Everyone is on clean-up detail after noon.

        We serve pancakes, smoked and unsmoked sausage, scrambled eggs, frosted bread, milk, and the fixings. This is an “all you can eat” event so no one goes home with an empty stomach.

        The Boy Scouts begin preselling tickets three or four weeks before the date of the breakfast. We charge fifty cents more per ticket when bought at the door.

        The troop takes one meeting night to conduct it’s “ticket kick-off”. A local bank assists us by allowing us to use their facility as a base of operations as we send the Scouts through our community to sell as many tickets as they can during the two hour kick-off. Parents provide the transportation to get the boys around town. We will usually sell enough tickets on this first night to pay most of the expenses of the breakfast.

        The Scouts earn credit toward camp for each ticket they or their parent sells. If the Scout meet three goals set by the troop during the fundraiser he will receive a bonus that is added to his account. Tickets sold at the door the morning of the breakfast goes into the general troop account.

        So, that is a quick look at our troop’s best fundraiser for the last 25 years. It is quick, nearly painless, and works very well for us.

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          We all have to do it, although we would rather avoid it. Fundraising is a crucial item on every Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout Pack’s agenda. The big question seems to be, “How can we raise the most money with the least amount of work?” Sound about right? After twenty-six years of Scouting I can tell you what has worked well, and not worked well, for Boy Scout Troop 68.

          We have tried several fundraisers throughout those years. We tried selling candies. They were not as sweet as we were hoping they would be. It can be tough to convince people to buy a candy bar for twice the amount for which they could buy one in the store. We tried selling seafood a couple times. The first seafood sale went fairly well so we tried a second one. Sales dropped significantly and left us feeling like we were left high and dry. We tried delivering phonebooks door to door in our community, but the boys lost interest in that very quickly.

          For several years the troop sold Christmas trees. A local grocery store allowed us to use a portion of their parking lot to display the trees. The Scouts were assigned shifts after school to work at the tree lot. The profit made was divided by the total number of hours worked by the boys. Each boy received an “hourly wage” based on the profit made that was then placed into their individual accounts.

          The trees sales went very well the first couple of years. Then things began to work against us. Sales began dropping as more people bought artificial trees. Troop membership dropped so we did not have enough Scouts to fill the shifts needed at the tree lot. One year several trees “disappeared” from the lot and cause a disaster in the profit made. We barely broke even that year. We finally dropped the tree sales as a fundraiser. A community of 3200 people just did not make it profitable enough during the last few years.

          Our Boy Scout council does conduct an annual popcorn sales fundraiser as I know many councils do. We use this as an “optional” fundraiser for the boys in our troop. If they chose to participate they receive all the profit into their individual account. We do this as an optional fundraiser because our brother Cub Scout Pack uses this as their major fundraiser.

          The troop best way we have of raising funds have been the pancake and sausage breakfasts we hold twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. I will make this the subject of my next blog entry.

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