Scouting troops never have enough money to go around. There are always more items that need to be purchased for meetings and more trips that your troop would enjoy to go on. Parents do what they can, but when a big event comes up, it’s time to fundraise. Thankfully, when it comes to scout-troop fundraising, there is a variety of successful strategies that can raise a lot of money. With some effort and a lot of teamwork, you can take your fundraiser to the next level.

Here are five tips for how to create a fundraising campaign that will provide everything your troop needs:

Start Simple

Fundraising for your scout troop doesn’t have to be complicated, nor should it require a large initial investment. Ideally, you want a fundraiser that will be easy to manage and short enough in duration that the kids will be able to see their rewards quickly.

As a scout troop, you already have at least one event throughout the year that leads to boxes taking over the troop leader’s home and filling every parent’s minivan. The rest of your fundraising efforts should be as simple as possible! This means that everything from your advertising to the items you sell should be as easy to manage as possible. Merchant tickets, for example, are simple to create and sell. Just contact local merchants who are interested in offering discounts to be featured in the booklet, have your booklet printed with your custom design, and sell them to the community.

Hold Your Fundraiser At The Right Time

Plan to start fundraising at a time that will be convenient for most of the members of your troop. What are their other responsibilities? When are they most busy? If your scout troop is made up of homeschooled kids who don’t participate in sports or other activities, then you can have a fundraising event at almost any time throughout the year. However, kids who are in public or private schools may feel overwhelmed by all of the fundraising taking place at once.

Be aware of the other fundraisers going on that generally take place at the beginning of the school year and other high-impact times. Schedule your fundraiser at a different time to be more considerate to your troop, and more effective for raising money. Not only will this ease the burden on your kids, it will make it more likely that their family members—the people who are most likely to buy from them—will have money to spend on the fundraiser for your troop.

Make It Kid-Centered

Since you are ultimately selling to the adults in your troop’s lives, it’s easy to make your fundraiser too parent-focused and adult-oriented. But at the end of the day, it’s the kids who will be doing the hard work, and you want them to have a good time. Remember, you aren’t sending parents out with your fundraising folders or putting up table talkers in their workplaces.

Consider the age range of your troop. Your scouts’ ages will determine quite a bit about how much they’re able to do for your fundraising efforts. The more involved the kids are, the greater the ownership they will feel of the process. Kids who feel disconnected from the process—whose only involvement is passing off the order forms to their parents, for example—won’t feel as though they’ve done anything special to earn the money that the troop has raised. Kids who are involved with every step of the process, on the other hand, will be much more excited about the fundraiser and more excited about what they’re working for.

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Choose a fundraiser that your scouts can get behind and let them take on the responsibility of making sales and contributing to the fundraiser in other ways. If the kids are excited, they’ll be eager to pitch in however they can. Some popular ways to get the troop involved are are:

  • Raffling off items that the scouts have made.
  • Selling tickets to a play that they’ve put together.
  • Letting the troop choose the businesses that will sponsor their discount cards.

Let your troop know that the fundraiser is for them, and how they contribute matters to the outcome of the fundraiser. Most kids like to know that their hard work pays off, and that their opinions matter.

Consider Offering Services, Not Goods

Fundraising has historically focused on selling goods: food items, wrapping paper, and trinkets. While all of these items have their place, families with kids are often slammed with countless opportunities to place these orders and distribute items to everyone they know.

Instead, stand out by selling services. Time the services you offer carefully. For example, if you’re fundraising around the holidays, offer gift-wrapping services, or organize scout volunteers to rake leaves in the fall, wash windows, or whatever other services your troop is good at and interested in.

Advertise Effectively

If you have a small troop, it can be hard to get the word out about your fundraiser, but effective advertising is important. In order to be successful, your community needs to know what you’re doing. Whether you’re putting up huge advertising flags at school and community events, creating a stunning banner display, or setting out table talkers, you need to make sure that your advertising draws people in for a second look.

Keep it simple, yet effective. Use a catchy picture or phrase to draw people in, then describe exactly what your troop is offering. Make sure to include images of the actual products or services so that people know what they’re getting. Your advertising is what will bring customers to your troop, so make sure to spread the word as efficiently as possible! You don’t have to blow your budget on advertising to make it big, either. Often, simply letting people know that you’re doing fundraising for a scout troop will draw their interest.

Whether you’re planning a cookie fundraiser that’s bigger than anyone else in your area or hoping to provide merchant tickets to your community, keep your troop at the center of all your efforts and advertise strategically. When your scouts put in the elbow grease, your fundraisers can have an incredible impact on opportunities for the entire troop.