We have spent the last two weeks talking about the kickoff and the sale. Now it is time to get to the REALLY important part...PRIZES! It is no big secret that the only thing that really motivates a 7-10 year boy is a really amazing prize. I have heard all different theories about this, and have tested several and can tell you what works, and what doesn't really hold much water for the boys. Having three sons, this part of the job was easy. I would brainstorm ideas for prizes with my sons. If they just shrugged I knew it was a dud. If they sat up and got excited about it, I knew I had found something good.
No matter what you are using for a fundraiser, you really should offer some kind of prize. I don't care if your boys are selling mother's day carnations! Offer them some kind of reward for doing it! Most companies such as Trails-End offer a prize program to accompany your sales. However, if you want a really great sale, you will need to go above and beyond what they are offering.
To keep kids motivated during the sale offer a weekly drawing. Our unit does this as a way to collect the order form sales totals each week. Some years the boys just have to give me the total of the sales from that week to be entered, other times they have to sell a certain dollar amount to be entered. So for example for every $50 they sold, their name was entered into the drawing for that week. I communicate reminders and winners via an email to the Pack. Then just bring the prize to the boys the following week. Rewards don't always have to cost money. Many of the boys are happy to receive some of that leftover popcorn as a prize! ;) If your unit does a Pack t-shirt you could also considering giving boys one of these. Other smaller prizes that the boys tend to love include fancy flashlights, and Pinewood Derby Car Decals. There have been years that instead of doing a drawing each week, I simply gave them a piece of candy if they brought me a total each week. Much of this will depend on how your unit meets. Our unit meets all on the same night, in the same location, every single week, so it is pretty easy to catch the boys each week (and for them to find me).
If you don't meet like this, consider forming Den Popcorn Kernels to gather this information for you. I shared info about that in here.
Some Districts and Councils offer great motivational prizes for big sellers. Ours does great with this, however last year they dropped the $600 Club. This is a landmark where boys sell $600 and receive a special prize and sometimes patch. Generally $600 is about one completed order form. Since I know that this is a big motivator for our boys, we went out and bought about 20 ZX Crossbows on clearance. Every time a boys sold $600 he got one. I think we gave away all but 2 of them last year! I was really excited that our District brought the $600 prize back again this for year.
Den Participation and Den Top Seller Prize...
You can also offer Den Participation prizes. In all honesty, I haven't had much luck with these, but I know others that have, so it is worth giving a try. For every Den that has 100% participation give them a pizza party or a bowling party. This will create team work within your den and put a little pressure on those that haven't sold anything yet. No one likes having the Den Leader say to them that they are the only one that hasn't sold anything yet. ;)
Some Councils will encourage you to do the "Pie in a Leaders Face" as a big prize. Our unit did this one year. Since then I have talked to many of the boys, and almost everyone of them told me that it is a lot of fun to do, but it wasn't why they sold. In other words, it isn't a motivational prize, just a fun one. If you want to offer this as a cheap prize, consider doing it for the top seller in each den. Maybe they get to pie the Den Leader. This may help increase your den participation (and get a lot of complaints from your leaders!)
Offer a $1000 prize - I feel strongly that this is a must! You really need to offer something for the boys that reach this level; or to put it another way, to motivate your Scouts to reach this level. Be really creative with what you pick. For 2 years we offered a limo ride to Blue and Gold for the boys that sold over $1000. Our first year we had 3 boys in the limo. The next year there were 8! Last year we switched and offered a ride on a local pirate ship to go with our theme of Pirates. This was still good with 6 boys earning it. This year we went back to the limo and 10 boys sold over $1000. To me, that clearly makes the limo a huge motivator!
We like having the limo drop the boys off at Blue and Gold because the other Scouts get to see it and it builds the motivation for the next year. You could have the limo take the boys to something else though. Maybe a lunch out at McDonald's, or a different Scout event. Sometimes by calling around and explaining what you want the limo for, you can get the companies to donate or deeply discount the service. Just be careful, we have found that sometime because you are discounted they will put less value on your service. If you don't want to have to work out having 10 boys crammed into a limo, you could also offer a limo ride for the top 4-5 sellers in your unit.
100% Pack Participation or Goal Reaching Prize...
Finally always offer a reward for either 100% participation from the unit or reaching your sales goals. For the first few years we did a pizza party for having 100% of our boys sell. I am not going to lie. I spent a lot of time on the phone with parents to make sure we got this prize. I didn't badger, in fact often I would offer to purchase something from the Scout so he could have a sale and the parents quickly responded with , "Oh no, we have an order!" Uh huh!;)
Since this is so much work I finally switched this and started offering the prize for us reaching our sales goal. So for the last two years we have had a "Popcorn Sleepover and Pancake Breakfast". This has become one of my favorite events of the year, and I think many of the boys would say the same. We are fortunate enough to be able to use the gym of our charter organization for the Sleepover. Here is a sample agenda. Printable Popcorn Sleepover Sample Agenda
We had such an amazing time this year! My kids are still talking about it. One thing we did that was probably the most fun I have ever had in Scouting, and really allowed parents and kids to get involved, was to play minute to win it! I have attached a list of all the games here. Printable - Minute to Win It Game Ideas We had an adult and Scout for almost all of the challenges which made it so fun. On a few of the games siblings got to play too. I even downloaded the Minute to Win It count down and would play that for each of the challenges. If you really want to get crazy you can also download the game instructions too. I found everything on YouTube.
Other prizes for Cub Scouts that are motivating are:
- Lego (any size set of Lego is great)
- Gift cards
- Pocket knives (if they have a whittling chip)
- Motor scooters
- Camping gear (more so for the older boys)
- Special trips
- Ice cream parties
- Bowling parties
- Video Games or Systems
Other items for parents that are motivating would be money for the Scout's Pack savings account or an overall reduction in fees. When parents realize how much their sale money covers, they usually are more willing to help out. We always make a point to do a noticeable price slash on one major event and say, "Because you did so great selling popcorn..." It goes a long way when the parents know where the money is going.
You know your area and your boys best, what would be a big prize for them? If your not sure, ask the boys! They usually have better ideas than I could ever come up with.
Be sure to layout at your kickoff what the prizes will be for that year. Be creative in your selection, use resources within your unit. Does anyone have a job at a place that could donate items? How about local business, are they willing to discount the prizes for you? You will be surprised how many will do just that!
I sure hope you have found some fun and motivational prize ideas for your Cubs here today! If you use something that works well, please share with us!
Read more about Cub Scout Fundraising:
Linking up at Moonlight & Mason Jars #46, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Krafty Inspiration Thursday, Let's Get Real Party