Boost Popcorn Fundraiser Sales in 5 Easy Steps


5 ways to make more money selling popcorn 

No one plans to fail at fundraising; yet many fall short of their financial goals. Why is that?

Everyone has their own preconceived notions about what will help them succeed. Circumstantial evidence supports a few of these ideas, but there are many false notions that also need revaluating.

Gourmet popcorn is a product that many people love so in theory it should sell itself. But to actually experience a successful popcorn fundraiser takes a little know how.

First, it’s vital that sponsors determine the amount of money they need up front. Then they should calculate how much each student in the group needs to sell. Sam Ashe-Edmonds writes for one of the largest newspapers in the United States. He makes an important point about this in one of his articles. He says that goal setting is one of the most important aspects of fundraising.

Once you’ve determined your need, the next question should be, “How much is it going to cost?”  Many schools want to “raise as much money as they can” so they can have available money in the general fund. It should be clear but you won’t realize your full earnings potential with this approach.

Instead, focus on building a strong foundation around a specific predetermined money goal.  Determining how much money you’ll need to raise helps you establish a baseline for your success. Then build in strategies that will help you reach your sales objectives. For example, use a tracking and accountability system.

Check out these 5 easy to use steps that will help you achieve your popcorn fundraising goals:

  1. Why Are Your Fundraising? 

Fundraising now and then figuring out how to spend the money later is a backwards approach.  Many groups decide where they’ll spend the money from their sale once they see how much they raise. This approach comes across as indecisive and noncommittal and is never a good idea.

This question seems so obvious. Why are you having a sale? Everyone who’s going to become involved in some way should know why they’re putting in the effort. You’re “why” will become the engine that drives your success.

Students need to understand the goal so they become more outward focused. Making popcorn sales for prizes, although effective, is focusing on what’s in it for them.


Learn about 4 Goal Setting Strategies for Your School Fundraiser 

  1. Calculate Your Popcorn Fundraiser Goal 

Once you have a purpose, do you know how much it’s going to cost? Will you fulfil your financial need with a single campaign, or will your group need to do many sales? Knowing how much you need to sell and then communicating your goal from day one is important. You will add credibility to your cause in the eyes of your students.

To make it easy, you can determine how many popcorn bags each student needs to sell right from our website. Your product page has a ‘Calculate Your Profit’ tool. All you need to do is type in your numbers.

Learn about our fundraiser goal setting guide 

  1. Establish an Individual Seller Goal 

Selling is optional but you should expect it if you want to succeed. What does it mean to tell everyone to “do your best”? This is too vague.

Your students and parents need to know how much popcorn they need to sell. Determining their individual selling goal will thus be important. This way, to help your group reach its goal, participants will know how much they need to sell.

To help with this, the ‘fair share goal number’ for your group is in your parent letter.  4. Meet with Your Students 

The buck starts and stops with you. No one else will become excited about your cause unless you are. Your fundraiser can thrive if you’re able to unify your students around your purpose. Make them feel they can work together and their efforts will make a difference.

The kick-off meeting is where you establish your fundraising foundation. Your students will need direction and motivation so tell them what they need to do.

For example:

  • How much do they need to sell?
  • How much money will the group make?
  • What will you use the money for?
  • When will the sale end?
  1. Keep Your Students Accountable

For some groups this is harder to do than for others. Your kickoff is the starting point and will get your students motivated to sell popcorn. But to maintain the momentum, make it a point to meet with your sellers during your sale as well.

Being able to track seller progress is vital because it gives you important feedback. You can do this by asking your students to show you their order forms at different points of your sale.

Before your sale, be sure to set intermediate sales goals.

For example, your end goal may be for each student to sell 10 bags of popcorn. You may want to set a first day goal at 3 items. At the half way point, 7 items is reasonable. Check in days are important because of accountability. Your students are more apt to make sales if they know that you’re keeping up with them.

Plus, this gives them the opportunity to break the sale down into easier to manage goals. You can even spice things up a little to make things fun. This is where in-sale incentives some into play. High school groups have experienced success incorporating our Money Fundraiser Incentive Game.

It’s true. Engaged students improve results.

There is no substitute for the right game plan. Understanding what you need to do to succeed and then putting it into action is key. If you put the right effort in up front, it will most likely pay off for you in the end. You may even be fortunate enough to not need another sale.