Steps to a Successful Popcorn Sale

Our units that have the most success selling popcorn typically follow our step-by-step guide below. Read this guide to learn all about how to run your Popcorn Sale! Remember you can always contact our Popcorn Team with any questions or if you need help!

  1. Identify and recruit your unit’s Popcorn Kernel. This is the adult volunteer who will be in charge of your unit’s sale. It is best to recruit this person in the spring before everyone breaks for summer. They should be enthusiastic about the sale and share this excitement with your unit! Ideally, this adult should not already be a key leader in your unit; you do not want to overwhelm an existing leader (having trouble recruiting a kernel? Contact our Popcorn Team).
  2. Have your Kernel register your unit to sell popcorn at This is the online interface where your Kernel will review your initial popcorn order, enter Scouts’ individual sales, and can trade your unsold popcorn with other units. Your Kernel can also use Popcorn Manager to review last year’s order and make a plan for what quantity to order this year. They should also review Popcorn Kernel Handbook Section 1 and Popcorn Kernel Handbook Section 2.
  3. See where popcorn fits into your unit’s annual budget and establish goals. Do you want to raise a certain dollar amount to fund your activities for the year? Do you want your Scouts to raise money for camp? A high adventure trip? Scouts should also set their own personal goals. Popcorn can be a great motivator for Scouts to “pay their own way” towards activities and outings they want to attend. The Trail’s End Virtual Sales Planner is another great resource to help plan your sale.
  4. Review the 2018 Public Popcorn Calendar and plan your unit events accordingly. Make sure that your Kernel or another volunteer can attend the Council Popcorn Kickoff, Distribution, Super Sunday, and Final Distribution.
  5. Have your Kernel or another volunteer attend the Council’s Popcorn Kickoff on August 8th–you will get to sample the popcorn products, see the prizes available, and receive your unit’s sales materials.
  6. Help your Kernel Plan a Popcorn Kickoff for your Scouts and parents. Many of our units do this at their first meeting of the year to get everyone pumped about popcorn! At the kickoff, your Kernel will introduce your families to the Popcorn Sale, showcase the product lineupdistribute sales materials, and review proper sales techniques and safety. Show Scouts all the cool prizes and incentives they can earn. Show the parents how popcorn benefits their Scout and the unit: the Scouts learn salesmanship and the Scouting value of “paying their own way,” they are eligible for Trail’s End Scholarships, and the Popcorn Sale is the lowest-risk, highest return fundraiser in Scouting.
  7. Pick up your popcorn or have it delivered. You can sign up for a delivery window at Popcorn Kickoff on August 8th, or through Popcorn Manager. If you require a specific delivery time, please contact your District Popcorn Kernel so they can assist you. If you are having your popcorn delivered, please make sure that you are available during the delivery window and have a check ready and payable to Shur-way Moving & Cartage. Delivery rates are generally between $225 and $275, but prices vary based on size of order and distance.
  8. Get out there and sell! Scouts can: sell online any time, do “take-order sales” (selling using just the order form) starting August 8th, and can take part in Unit “site sales” (selling at or in front of a local business or event) or individual “show and sells” (going door-to-door with the product) beginning September 7th. Remember that the sale ends October 28th.
  9. Keep Accurate Records. Collect money when popcorn is purchased and have checks made payable to your unit. Keep track of each Scout’s sales in Popcorn Manager. Schedule a time at end of the sale to collect outstanding orders and money from the Scouts. Set a time after you receive your popcorn for your Scouts to deliver any take-orders.
  10. Settle up with the Council on November 4th, Super Sunday. You will need: one check payable to the Northeast Illinois Council, your final popcorn order if needed, your final patch/prize order, and any unsold popcorn that needs to be returned.
  11. Have a VICTORY Celebration! Recognize your Kernel, Scouts, and volunteers for all of their hard work!