During my early years as a Scoutmaster fundraising for Scouts was a miserable task I dreaded.
We tried selling stuff offered by fundraising companies with marginal success. What we finally hit on was a spaghetti dinner that has been a great money earner and event for the past decade or more.
There is no ‘right’ fundraiser for Scouts. Some will find success where others fail; but here are a few guidelines that have served us well:
Value for Money
Don’t sell a fifty cent candy bar marked up to two bucks. It never feels quite right hawking a product at a price well beyond its intrinsic value. I don’t like to see children selling overpriced products in front of a grocery store or be asked to buy them by their parents on the job or in the office. To my mind it would be more honest to walk around with a can and ask for the two bucks.
Get it Over With
Selling something that requires the customer order a product, that these orders be managed and turned into a group order, delivered to a central location, distributed and finally delivered to the customer require huge commitments of time. We distribute and sell tickets, collect the money and spend a long day cooking and serving the dinner. Then we all get to go home. No lost orders, no late deliveries, no hard feelings, no overstressed volunteers.
Keep it Fun
We do two dinners a year (spring and fall). We ask (not require) each family to be responsible for five tickets each – most do several times that. The tickets are mailed right to their homes. Parents and scouts are asked (not required) to assist with preparing and serving in two hour shifts – many end up staying longer because it is actually a lot of fun. The men work in the kitchen, the ladies work the dining room, the Scouts serve as waiters. Most of the Scouts have a great time playing waiter and the customers get to see them in action. The whole thing has become an event that Scouts and parents look forward to – we work hard for a day (there is a prep evening the week before) and have a blast.
The official policies for BSA units are the “Ten Guides to Unit Money Earning Projects” found on the “Unit Money Earning Application” available as a PDF File