Fourth of July Scout Fundraising

We’ve been very successful selling your glow products during Fourth of July fireworks events, but this past year has been especially good for us since we were working with a scout group using it as a fundraiser for them. To help out some of the other aspiring glow sellers out there Granny has asked that I provide a bit of a how to on selling these things at big events. In our area at the beach the Fourth of July fireworks draws in huge crowds, we estimated the crowd as being a good 20,000 strong this past year. Selling glow at such a huge event might seem daunting, but with a good bit of planning ahead of time it can be an incredible source for fundraising.

As I just mentioned the key to success at these large events is planning, planning, and a little more planning. In past years it’s just been a couple friends and I doing all the selling, which worked out fairly well, but frankly we just weren’t enough people to really cover the entire area. But this past year we decided to help out my kids scout group by letting all the proceeds go to them, and enlist their help in selling. For events this large that is the key, having enough people power. Since we didn’t want any kids being alone we split everyone up into selling teams, two kids with one adult. But before I get too far ahead of myself we probably should first talk about glow inventory, namely just how much you should buy for the event.

This can be a tricky thing to calculate, since it’s hard to tell exactly how much you’re going to sell until you’re actually out there selling. There are a couple things you should think about that will make your estimates of how much glow to buy a bit easier and more accurate. You first need to figure out about how many people will be at the event. If you’ve been to it before try to imagine how many people were in the area you were at, then multiple that by how many more areas that size were on the beach with similar crowds. It’s also a good idea to get other peoples opinions on the crowd sizes, then just average out all the estimates. Sometimes even old newspapers reports will list estimates how many people attended the festivities. Just don’t forget to include the kids in your count, since they are probably the biggest population you will be selling to. It’s also important to remember that people will sometimes buy more than one glow necklace or bracelet. Really until you’ve sold at a particular event before it’s all somewhat of a guess, but I recommend over estimating if anything, since glow products have a shelf life of at least a couple years, so worst case scenario you just have some more product you can sell at another event, or a bonus you can give to all the scouts as a reward for their efforts.

Ok, so you’ve decided how many people will probably be there, and ordered all your glow. Now what? Now is the time assign people into teams as I started talking about before. Even if you’re not using kids it’s still a good idea to keep people in at least pairs. This way one person can handled the money while the other person can focus on giving out the product. No one likes to wait in a line. To speed things up for our event we made the parents in charge of the money, as they are faster and more accurate at giving change. While we had the kids do the actual selling and “advertising,” since people just love buying from boy scouts or cub scouts. It’s just hard for someone to say no to a cute little kid wanting to sell them a glow necklace! We’d make sure each team had backpacks, or some other sort of container they could hold enough glow product in so they wouldn’t run out. Also you need to make sure each team has enough money on them to give change for the entire evening. To help with this consider what your prices will be, and what the most likely bills you will be receiving are. For example if you have a lot of glow product sets selling for $5, it’s probably a good idea to have a fair number of  $5 and $10 dollar bills ready to give change for all the $20s you’ll likely receive.

Ok, you’re doing good now! Product bought, teams set, but wait, where do they sell? This is actually one of the most important aspects that will affect your success. It’s not hard to sell glow, assuming there are people around. So you need to give some serious thought to where the most people will be, and where any crowd “funnel points” will be. At our local event there are only so many beach access points. These will be the places you want to be sure to have some teams assigned, since almost everyone attending the fireworks show will have to pass through here. If you’re not completely familiar with the area go there far ahead of time and see where people are most likely to be, such as areas close to large parking lots, access trails, etc. Teams that you don’t assign to these access points should be given rough areas that they should cover, this way teams won’t be duplicating their efforts by covering ground another already has. If you have enough people it shouldn’t be too hard to cover the entire beach, and remember, sometimes people won’t want a glow product right away, but if you come back they might after being badgered sufficiently by their children complaining that everyone else has one! If you don’t have a lot of people your best bet is to focus on just those areas where crowds seem to be forming, and don’t cover area you’ve already been to. These are typically nearest the fireworks, and other “good seats” that offer a great view of the show.

But how exactly do you sell these things? What’s the sales pitch? Well, quite frankly, you don’t really need one, especially if you have an army of cute kids doing the selling. The appeal of glow products is how they look at night, and that visual appeal alone is usually enough to draw in buyers. Just wave the glow products around at night and you’ll catch people’s attention. But here is something that really surprised us this past year, the sales before dark where actually better! Yes, we were all quite surprised as this usually is not the case, but I suspect there was a reason for this. It’s true people couldn’t see the glow products in their full nighttime glory, but what they could see was the scouts! Everyone loves glow products, but what’s better is buying them and having the proceeds go to such a good cause. So don’t underestimate the pre-nighttime sales, especially if you have boy scouts, cub scouts, girl scouts, or some other youth group doing the selling. Also if there will be any competition selling glow at the event, starting early gives you a great head start.

Success! The events over, you think you’ve sold a huge amount. Time to relax! Well, not quite. There are some final things you should go over. First you should go over how much every team has sold, and account for all the money and organize any left over product. With scout groups this really isn’t too big of issue, but if you just hired some people, or had some shady friends help, it’s a good thing to do to make sure people aren’t holding money or product out on you by doing a complete inventory. But the real important reason for doing this is to give you an idea of what areas had good sales, and which didn’t. This way when you’re planning for next year you’ll have a much better idea of where to focus your efforts, and how much glow you actually need to buy.

Well then, that’s basically all there is to it! Again as long as you just plan ahead everything should go smooth and the profits should be great. Don’t let the large crowd size intimidate you, just be sure to have enough people and it will just mean all the more profits for the fundraiser!