Top Scout Troop Fundraising Ideas

Top Boy Scout Fundraisers - Boy Scouts Tech

Unless they have a really great benefactor, every Boy Scout Troop, Pack, and Crew has to find ways to fund their adventures. Some units levy high annual dues or charge fees for every outing. Some balance the costs of running their units – in part or in whole – by fundraising.

Here are a few of the most popular fundraising methods we’ve seen:

  1. Trail's End(R): America's Best PopcornParticipate in your council’s Trails End Popcorn sales (if you’re looking for popcorn, please consider supporting the Pack I’m affiliated with!). Many councils partner with Trails End. In Montana Council, Troops and Packs keep between 28% and 38% of sales. Trail’s End gets 30%, and the Council keeps the remainder after prize costs are deducted. Lately, Trail’s End has stepped up their game by offering online sales, which can be used to raise funds year round!
  2. CountryMeats.comCountry Meats snack sticks always gets rave reviews from units that sell them. They offer 45% profit on each snack stick sold BUT, at $1 per stick, you will have to sell a lot of them to match the potential profits from popcorn sales. Depending on your region, minimum orders are one to three cases ($89  to $267 upfront cost).
  3. World’s Finest Chocolates is what I sold as a kid from Kindergarten – 4th grade at my Catholic school. WFC offers units 50% profits (not including the cost of shipping) and you can offer your supporters either $1 or $2 chocolate bars. It might be worth mentioning that either through nostalgia or difference in the recipe, I have seen several people opine that the taste of WFC is not what it was when “we were young”. Their minimum order is 8 cases ($480 upfront cost).
  4. Cleaning out estates and holding garage sales. This is a fundraiser that I picked up from the Explorer Post I was a part of as a Scout. Here’s the general gist of how this works: when people are looking to clean out the estates of people who have passed they often hire in companies to clean out and clean up the property. Instead of paying a company, your unit offers to do the clean out and clean up and in lieu of or in addition to payment, your unit keeps the “stuff” left behind. This can be tricky though: you either need to have a parent or unit leader with enough space to store the acquired “stuff” until it’s time for the annual garage sale or builds in the cost of a storage unit into the unit’s budget. Since the unit didn’t have to pay for the stuff to sell, every dollar that is earned at the garage sale is profit in the unit’s pocket. For the cost of a few pizzas and some Scout elbow grease, this kind of fundraiser has the potential to be very lucrative.
  5. Spaghetti Dinners/Pancake Breakfasts: Only one organization that I have been a part of over the years has done any type of regular meal-based fundraiser. It’s an annual Shrimp Peel. It raises a fair amount of funds, but requires quite a bit of planning and preparation on the front end and has the potential to consume a lot of time of a few volunteers. I have also observed that this type of fundraiser has the highest risk to be “lynch pinned”, where one volunteer coordinates the event year after year and when that volunteer leaves, the institutional knowledge of the event goes with them, and the rest of the volunteers are left to re-learn how to organize the event.
    If you go this route, start by writing down EVERYTHING that is involved – planning, budgets, actual costs, actual time spent, calendar of events, etc. so that you can create a guidebook for posterity. The guidebook can be handed off to another volunteer with the full knowledge of what works and how much time and energy will be required.

Those are the top 5 fundraisers that I’ve seen for Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. What’s your favorite fundraiser? What has worked, and what didn’t? Leave a comment below!