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Popcorn Palace Supports AllStar Success!

16 Apr

The Popcorn Palace fundraising team recently had the pleasure of visiting Rockford, Illinois, to connect with the AllStar Rebels – a local cheerleading team with big dreams!

The AllStar Rebels are a small co-ed team, consisting of 15 members – and they have been working hard to prepare for competition at the 2015 World Cheerleading Championships, hosted at Walt Disney World, Orlando, on April 23rd-24th. Cheerleading teams from across the world compete in The Cheerleading Worlds qualifying events in order to receive a bid, and this team was the last team to receive a bid. What an amazing accomplishment.

Earning an invitation to the Worlds is every cheerleader’s dream. The top 316 teams from around the world will be competing for the cheer championship, while their performances are broadcast live on ESPN. The drama, energy, and excitement is real – as they strive to showcase the moves they’ve been perfecting all year.

After a local news channel featured their story, calling out to the community to support their fundraising efforts, we were excited to help them raise the funds they needed to send the entire team to Orlando.

We visited the AllStar Rebels at their home gym, attended one of their practices, and brought along a donation (and some delicious popcorn). We were pumped to watch these amazing cheerleaders tear up the gym – and to share our nutritious treats with such an awesome and talented team!

The AllStars gave us a warm welcome – and one of the cheerleaders even agreed to wear our GoPro camera while they practiced! Check out the footage below to see what Noah sees during their warm-up routine – it’s incredible!

If you want to watch the 2015 Worlds, check here for viewing coverage information. We’ll be watching here at Popcorn Palace and supporting the AllStar Rebels. They’re amazing athletes, so watch and cheer for your favorite teams.

At Popcorn Palace, we’re pleased to help the AllStar Rebels achieve their dreams, by offering our delicious and nutritious treats for use in their fundraising efforts. If your dance or cheer team is in need of funding – consider Popcorn Palace. Our fundraising program is a simple and tasty way to raise funds.

Using Dance for a Dance Fundraiser

13 Apr

Make your fundraiser stand out by capitalizing on what your group already does best. If you are part of a dance or cheer team, then try to incorporate dance or cheer into the fundraiser. You’re invested in it, and people are more likely to give money if they feel like both you and they are involved.

There are a number of ideas for a dance fundraiser. Hosting a dance-a-thon or a dance-off at your school or church would be fun and encourage enthusiastic competition. Donors can sponsor a dancer to see how long they can dance for or how far they can make it in the competition. If the fundraiser is for a dance school then you already have the perfect venue! If the dance fundraiser is for a program at school, you can either use the auditorium or talk with a local dance studio about hosting your event there. You can also talk to the studio about hosting dance classes or getting a portion of the studio’s profits for a certain day of the month, or a combination of the two.

Similarly for cheer fundraisers, the team could host cheer clinics or seminars. This could be a one-time event – maybe during a school break – or recurring classes. Having the team teach what they’ve learned to others reinforces it for them and provides an opportunity for fundraising. This could even be as big as a summer day camp that runs for a few days or a week to give a chance for young ones interested in cheer to try it out.

You can also use dance or cheer to help you with a sales oriented fundraiser. If you have an upcoming performance or competition that is out of state, you can organize a small recital where you explain to everyone what the upcoming event is, do a small demonstration and then let them know they can help by ordering popcorn – or another fundraising item – from your troupe.

If you can’t put on a full recital or demonstration, have each team member wear his or her dance or cheer outfit when they fundraise – it’s a great way to raise sales. People are more likely to support your team if they can see who and what they are giving to.

Doing cheer or dance fundraisers like this allows your group to utilize what they already know. A dance or cheer fundraiser can absolutely go beyond the basics for raising money. People are more willing to pay extra for something different, especially if they – or their kids – can get something more out of it.

Cheer and dance fundraisers can be fun as well as profitable, so find a way to incorporate both. For more fundraising ideas, take a look at our blog. If you would like more information about hosting a cheer or dance fundraiser, Popcorn Palace can help. Give us a call and we can help you get started today! With Popcorn Palace, we make sales oriented fundraising profitable and fun. There are no up-front costs, no minimum orders, and your team gets 50% profit on each item.

Eye on the Prize – Using Fundraising Incentives

20 Mar

Let’s face it – rewards are great motivators. Offering prizes and other incentives has been proven, time and again, to be the most effective way of driving participation in fundraising efforts. So, how does your school or organization decide what will inspire and encourage your team to meet (or exceed!) your goals?

Incentives are an essential part of your fundraising strategy – so it’s important to get them right. Here are some tried and true tips from Popcorn Palace, designed to help you make the best choice for your campaign.

  • Ask others for guidance. Check in with others in your area who have fundraising experience – ask them what has worked within your community, previously. And, ask your Popcorn Palace representative for ideas about offering delicious, gourmet prizes!
  • Plan a great launch! Kick your fundraiser off with a launch gathering or special event, and use the opportunity to rally excitement about your campaign. This is a great time to show off the rewards and prizes you’ll be offering, and encourage your community to participate.
  • Set achievable goals. A focus on participation is more successful than one which emphasizes total sales. If possible, offer at least one reward for each participant – and use a tiered system to award additional prizes or incentives for those who go meet and exceed additional goals.
  • Keep their eyes on the prize. Don’t wait until the very end of the campaign to distribute prizes – awarding incentives while your fundraiser is still active will encourage sustained participation, and maximize your campaign’s exposure to the community.
  • Offer experiences. Not all incentives need be in the form of physical prizes – try offering your participants experience­based rewards, and you may find yourself retaining more budget. Students, for instance, may be motivated by playful ideas – such as special recess privileges, or getting a teacher or administrator to dye their hair. Think outside the box – or even ask your participants for ideas!
  • Award honors to team leaders. Drive the action by offering rewards to teachers for class participation, or incentives to team leaders who inspire their community.
  • Provide prize layers. Offer something for everyone, by providing a variety of layered prizes. When possible, allow participants the choice between two awards when reaching their goals – for instance, letting students choose between a special privilege pass, or a gourmet snack from Popcorn Palace.
  • Give public accolades. Acknowledge your top fundraisers publicly, by posting their names to your organization’s website. If possible, hold an awards ceremony at campaign closing, to thank your supporters publicly (and provide one final boost to your campaign).

For more ideas on how to increase your fundraising sales and maximize your campaign’s effectiveness, contact your Popcorn Palace representative, today!


Get Creative with 6 Spring Fundraiser Ideas

12 Mar

Winter is almost over and that means there is a new season of holidays coming that can inspire you with fun and festive spring fundraiser ideas. Easter is April 5th and Mother’s Day is May 10th this year, so if you’re looking to raise money for a cause soon, use the holidays to boost your sales.

Carwashes and bake sales are old news, so here are some fresh takes on familiar ideas. You can choose to do an event and service based spring fundraiser or a product based spring fundraiser.

Event Based Spring Fundraiser

  1. Organize a spring-cleaning drive to help people clear out last year’s unused stuff. Have a yard sale with the collected items or work with a thrift shop to get paid by the pound. Everyone can find at least a few things they can part with.
  2. Have a cook-off and sell tickets for tastings. People get excited to show off their recipes for chili, barbeque, salsa, desserts, soup, spaghetti, and more. The overhead costs for this will be low since the contestants will provide the food. That just leaves eating utensils, posters and maybe renting some tables and chairs. Hosting it at a free location is even better, like a local park or a school. If there’s a budget for other activities, especially family oriented ones, you can make an all-day event out of it. Who wouldn’t pay to eat amazing barbeque once they’ve smelled it?

Product Based Spring Fundraiser

  1. Sell tasty treats at a game for a local sports team. If you can make an agreement with the team to sell at every game for the season, people can come to expect you’ll be there and plan on buying from you.
  2. Have an art auction. This might be better suited for art made by children. Mother’s Day is coming up and moms always love homemade gifts, but not everyone is creatively talented. Paintings, collages or even birdhouses made by little hands are sure to bring in the money.
  3. Have a popcorn and movie night. Admission can even be free, but you can push the sale of tasty popcorn you can’t get at the grocery store. Popcorn Palace has multiple delicious flavors that can make a movie night even better. You’d have to order ahead of time, but you can always offer sales after movie night is over. Invite people to wear their pajamas and host it in your school auditorium or church.
  4. Use spring as inspiration when holding a Popcorn Palace fundraiser. Beautiful weather in spring can make it easier to sell outside and in your neighborhood. You can set up a spring table with beautiful flowers, spring colors, and signs to match the holidays. Remind people they can buy popcorn for their mother’s and share sweet treats with the whole family.

No matter what you’re raising the money for, taking an old idea and making it fresh can make your spring fundraiser stand out and raise more money. Starting with a useful or delicious product and jazzing it up for a good cause will lead to success.

To get more ideas for a tasty spring fundraiser, contact the team at Popcorn Palace!


Rally Kids to the Cause – Fundraising Tips

27 Feb

With the Great Recession stretching school budgets everywhere, finding financial support for school trips, student clubs, and extracurricular activities can be a bit tricky. To help your cause gain momentum, it’s essential to rally the support of your community – which means motivating students to get the word out about your fundraiser!

So, how do you get your fundraising materials out of student backpacks, and into the hands of community members? First, you’ve got to get students excited to act as community ambassadors, by motivating them to rally for the cause. These time-tested strategies will help you inspire your youngsters to share the vision – and put the FUN back in fundraising!

  1. Set the stage. Make sure your fundraising team is on the same page. What will the funds you raise be used for? Let your students in on the mission, and clearly outline goals, so they understand the importance of their participation.
  2. Make the incentives sweet. The success or failure of your fundraising campaign is largely determined by the enthusiasm of your students – so give them something to strive for. This doesn’t necessarily mean offering expensive, large-ticket items – incentives can also be non-tangible rewards (such as a teacher or principal’s commitment to dye their hair in the school colors, or special privileges for the highest-participating class). Popcorn Palace’s snack-sized bags can also make great student handouts – talk to your fundraising advisor about including these items in your campaign order.
  3. Provide instant gratification. The more giveaways, the merrier – by offering numerous small, obtainable incentives, you’ll keep the kids motivated to succeed. Distributing prizes while the fundraiser is still in effect will also keep the kids’ attention on your campaign – ensuring ongoing participation.
  4. Inspire confident pitches. Make sure your students know how to talk to their community about their fundraising goals. Provide your students with strategic coaching, and eliminate front-door nerves by practicing your school’s fundraising message.
  5. Embrace social media. Get teachers, parents, and older students on board by encouraging them to share fundraising updates via social media. Provide examples of appropriate photos and messages, and ask them to repost, share, and digitally document their own fundraising experience.
  6. Keep it FUN. Fundraising doesn’t have to be a chore! Keep the experience fun and engaging for everyone involved, and you’ll drive ongoing participation. And, launching or closing out your fundraiser with a great community-oriented event is an excellent way to give your campaign a boost. Throw your community an event to remember, and you may find that stories of their involvement outlive the campaign, itself.

Involving your students in fundraising can provide them with the opportunity to learn real-world skills, hone their math and organizational abilities, and learn valuable lessons surrounding personal responsibility and community involvement. It also provides them with a sense of ownership regarding your school’s efforts – and may inspire them to be more involved, in future!

For more fundraising tips and tricks for turning your fundraiser into a FUN-raiser, contact the Popcorn Palace team today!


Popcorn Palace’s Favorite Popcorn Folktales

18 Feb

In Native American folklore, some tribes believed that each kernel of corn housed a tiny spirit, whose only desire was to live in quiet and contentment. When the houses of these spirits became too warm, the spirits would grow angry, and begin to shake their kernels. When the heat grew unbearable, these spirits would leap from their homes, transforming into a puff of steam which would carry them elsewhere.

The cultural stories and folklore surrounding popcorn are just as interesting as popcorn, itself – and, just as popcorn has traveled alongside humanity for quite some time, many of these stories have been around for a while.

At Popcorn Palace, our love of all things popcorn extends to the cultural history and folktales of this delicious and nutritious snack. Here are some of our favorite stories, on our favorite topic. We hope you’ll enjoy them, alongside one of our delectable gourmet treats.

The Popcorn Book by Tomie DePaola

In this classic favorite, a group of kids get together for a lively popcorn-making adventure. As the story unfolds, so does a lesson on the history of popcorn, itself. The author also shares fun scientific facts about popcorn, including what makes popcorn pop, and other details.

The Purloined Corn Popper: A Felicity Snell Mystery by E.W. Hildick

In this children’s mystery, the family corn popper goes missing. At his mother’s suggestion, Tim requests assistance from Felicity Snell, the town’s new librarian (who is also a former undercover agent) – and the help of a team of neighborhood kids.

McBroom Tells a Lie (The Adventures of Mcbroom) by Sid Fleischman
Farmer McBroom and his family own the best farm around – a magical place, where things grow faster than anywhere else. In this story, they save their farm from a conniving neighbor who wants to claim their land for himself – through the use of a Popcornmobile, frozen sunlight, and lightning bugs.

Mr Picklepaw’s Popcorn by Ruth Adams
When Mr. Picklepaw climbs to the roof of an overheated storage shed, the kernels inside explode into a mountain of popcorn, leaving him stranded at the top. Mr. Picklepaw faces the challenge of removing himself from this predicament – but not before the townspeople feast on his misfortune.

People of Corn: A Mayan Story by Mary-Joan Gerson

For the Mayans, each corn crop is welcomed as a miracle, and harvested with gratitude, and celebration. Beginning with the importance of corn in Mayan history and culture, this folktale tells how the Mayan gods strove to create the people of corn, in hopes that they would remember and honor their creators.

At Popcorn Palace, we believe in creating tales of community and connection through the sharing of delicious, nutritious treats. For more information on fun popcorn fundraising for your organization, visit Popcorn Palace.


Science Club Pop-Science Showcase & FUNdraiser

11 Feb

Raising funds for your school’s science club shouldn’t leave you feeling like a failed experiment. By hosting a Popcorn Palace Pop-Science FUNdraiser, you’ll engage and entertain supporters, and boost your popcorn sales.

Popcorn has some amazing and fascinating features – and you can apply your scientific knowledge and skills to create an interesting, interactive popcorn showcase. The unveiling of your showcase can be timed to correspond with your fundraising launch – and help you gain interest and momentum when gathering support for your science club. If each student completes one experiment or scientific presentation, you can charge a nominal fee for entrance to your showcase, as well as offering delicious Popcorn Palace samples, and treats for order or purchase.

To start, you’ll need a “research” team, and access to the school lab. With a little supervision, and some careful planning, your team can execute these easy experiments (and many more!) which reveal some of the fascinating truths and facts about popcorn.

  • Which kernels pop better – white or yellow? In this experiment, your team will form a hypothesis and conduct research which uses the scientific method to prove which kernels perform the best, under pressure.
  • What makes popcorn pop? This series of experiments is designed to answer the age-old mystery, by using unique controls to reveal the qualities and conditions which combine to turn regular ‘ole kernels into a delicious, homemade treat!
  • Which stovetop technique works best? When making popcorn on the stove, many debate about the benefits of popping with cold oil, versus preheated oil. This experiment is designed to compare the two techniques, and reveal which is more efficient.
  • Which popcorn tastes best? Though this may seem to some to be a matter of opinion, every person has their preference – and gathering information scientifically from many participants can provide you with helpful statistics regarding your subject. Use these guidelines to create a blind taste-test, and let your audience sample Popcorn Palace’s gourmet flavors, to find their favorite!
  • Where does popcorn come from? This research experiment will help you create a geographical display of the United States, which shows the most popular places to cultivate and harvest popcorn.
  • How long has popcorn been around? This research experiment is designed to create a chronological timeline, which showcases your team’s historical knowledge of popcorn.
  • Compare/Contrast. This research project should showcase the nutritional content of popcorn, side-by-side with other common snacks, such as potato chips. By providing this information, your team will allow your audience to come to their own scientific conclusions.

Remember – the key to good fundraising is to make your POPScience Showcase interesting and fun for your audience. The key is to get creative! An air-popping station which allows kids to participate in popcorn “research”, a guessing game which uses a jar filled with kernels, or a popcorn trivia game – all of these are great ideas which can help you turn your fundraiser into a FUNraiser. You might also consider offering Popcorn Palace samples as door or raffle prizes – inspiring additional sales to happy snackers.

You’ll find it simple to raise funds for your school’s science club, by doing what you do best – experimenting! And an interactive POPScience showcase will not only show supporters what your science club is all about – it will also encourage them to enjoy healthy, high-quality treats, and have a little wholesome fun.

For more information on how your school or organization can use Popcorn Palace’s delicious, gourmet popcorn to make your fundraiser successful, contact our team, today!

Ten Treats for Healthy Superbowl Snacking

30 Jan

Across the nation, friends and family alike are preparing to gather together in celebration of one of America’s greatest pastimes- football. That’s right – it’s SuperBowl season, once more! And, while the Superbowl offers an excellent opportunity to join loved ones for a much-needed day of fun and festivity, a full day of tailgating and junk-food snacking can leave everyone feeling the post-game slump.

According to the U.S. Calorie Control Council, the average Super Bowl watcher will scarf down more than 1,200 calories (and 50 grams of fat!) during game-time snacking – more than half of the average recommended daily caloric intake. Together, the CCC estimates that Americans will consume more than 30 million pounds of snacks on game day – including 19 million pounds of high-fat potato and tortilla chips.

At Popcorn Palace, we believe that a great snack should be both delicious and nutritious. Which is why we’ve compiled this handy guide to healthy Superbowl snacks, which will still tickle your tastebuds.

  • Lemon-Spiked Baked Wings – These delicious spiked chicken wings are perfect for tailgating – and since they are marinated in tangy sauce and baked (not fried), they offer a perfect low-calorie alternative to heavier snacks.
  • Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip – Simple, colorful fruit skewers will add color to your Superbowl Sunday, and are sure to be a hit with young and old, alike. Offer them up with a drizzle of honey, and their own yogurt “dip” for a fresh and nourishing snack.
  • Loaded Sweet Potato Skins – Need a sweet and savory treat? These loaded skins morph an unhealthy favorite into a feel-good Superbowl snack. Top these off with some extra veggies, or substitute goat cheese for cheddar, and you’ll sneak in an additional nutritional boost!
  • Delicious Brocc-a-mole – While we don’t expect anyone to do away with the chips and dips altogether, this delicious brocc-a-mole dip will up your health-food game. This low-calorie, guilt-free dip comes loaded with all-natural vitamin C – and offers a fun and fresh alternative to traditional dips, which tend to be loaded with unhealthy fats and additives.
  • Gourmet Popcorn – Need a salty, sweet, or savory fix, without all the extra complications? Gourmet popcorn serves up a real win! Nutritious, delicious, and low-calorie – popcorn is nature’s perfect snack food. And, with this versatile treat, your flavor options are endless!
  • Zucchini Fries – Toss the traditional potatoes – these zucchini fries will score some serious fans. And, by substituting spuds with this greener alternative, you’ll give your guests a healthy boost of manganese and vitamin C. Plus, these baked goodies go great with any of our dips – a double-win!
  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip Traditional spinach dips are full of high-fat dairy products – a real no-no for anyone trying to cut back on calories. This dip, however, gets its creamy texture from white beans – a tasty, protein-rich alternative. And, spinach greens are rich in flavenoids, calcium, and vitamin D – so this leafy dip packs a real nutritional punch.
  • Hummus with Sun-Dried Tomatoes – Store-bought hummus is great, but this delicious home-made treat is a quick, colorful, and nutrient-rich alternative – packed with riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and folate. Serve it up with slices of whole-wheat pita, veggie sticks, or those fantastic zucchini fries, and you’ve got a fresh, new favorite at the tips of your fingers!
  • Strawberry Footballs – No game day would be complete without a little something sweet… and these football-themed treats really take the cake! These simple chocolate-dipped strawberries are sure to score with guests – and satisfy even the most sensitive sweet tooth – while providing a boost of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Make this Superbowl Sunday a real win – by feeding your friends and family the foods that support their good health!

For more information on healthy snacking, read more on the Popcorn Palace blog!

Where Fundraising Money Is Spent

26 Jan

Three years ago, Dana Perkins volunteered to join her local school’s parent teacher group, Partners in Education (PIE). She discovered that PIE had some lofty fundraising goals, but no formal fundraiser in place. In the past they had hosted an annual carnival to raise money, but they now needed to expand if they were going to meet their goals.

With no prior fundraising experience, Dana really had to learn on the fly. She searched for a fundraising program on Google and found Popcorn Palace. The idea of selling popcorn stood out among alternatives because similar local groups were selling trail mix or cookie dough, and she knew PIE could corner the popcorn market.

The Popcorn Palace fundraiser kickstarted PIE’s ability to make a bigger contribution to their school, and they have now been running a highly profitable program for the past three years. We invited Dana to share PIE’s methods so we could help other parent teach groups achieve similar success. She was happy to oblige.

To kick off the fundraiser each year, the PIE volunteers create an informational packet about the fundraiser, and the teachers distribute these packets to each student. The packets include the fundraising form and a letter to the parents that explains why the fundraiser is important and how the money will be spent. It also outlines the incentives to the students and the success of previous years.

Dana says this letter is particularly important because it sets expectations for the parents of how their contribution will benefit the school.

Each year, they have had a different goal for equipment they wanted to purchase for the school and other improvements they hoped to make. During the first year, their goal was to buy 20 iPads; in the second year, they focused on funding assemblies and field trips; and in the third year they wanted to buy a new drinking fountain for the track and field ground. They’ve been able to meet all of their goals and go beyond each year. Last year, the top individual seller sold $1,000 worth of popcorn and the top class sold $3,814!

As a result of sharing these accomplishments in their annual letter, all of the parents have deeply bought into the program. The entire community is very helpful and engaged with both buying and selling. The kids are always very excited about the popcorn, and Dana says it’s an easy sell.

At the end of the fundraiser, the school rewards the top individual seller with a packet of movie tickets and the top selling class with a pizza and ice cream party.

Dana’s advice to new sellers is this: “Keep the selling period short and include a couple of weekends, otherwise the fundraising steam will die down or people will just forget.” Everyone at PIE also loves how the new Popcorn Palace sorting feature has sped up their process. With the tally sheet, it only takes about two and a half hours for her small team of volunteers to sort the students by class and tabulate the final results.

“50% profit is the best that you will find for a fundraiser!” says Dana. With delicious popcorn, high profitability, and the ultimate convenience, it’s clear that there is simply no better fundraising program for your school. Learn more about popcorn fundraising with Popcorn Palace and get started today.

Kenwood Academy Brotherhood Fundraiser

13 Jan

When Dr. Shelby T. Wyatt of The Kenwood Academy Brotherhood set out to help his students raise funds to cover the cost of their 2014 Spring Break College Tour, the stakes were high. Airfare to Southern California alone was priced at $350 per ticket, and with 20 participating students, the Brotherhood was left struggling to cover the cost of the trip – estimated at over $750 per student.

The Spring Break College Tour is important, as it allows students who are preparing for graduation the opportunity to visit and preview colleges and universities which they might be interested in attending. Campus tours include meetings with Admissions, Financial Aid, scholarship committees, and the departments which oversee campus life and multi-cultural affairs – an incredible opportunity for students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to connect, in person.

With only four months to raise funds which would cover the significant cost of this trip, the Brotherhood decided to think outside of the box, and began to search for innovative options which might support their fundraising efforts.

“We reached out to Popcorn Palace to give it a try,” said Dr. Wyatt. And, with the help of Popcorn Palace’s fundraising team, the Kenwood Academy Brotherhood was able to achieve their goals.

“The fundraiser was a huge success. Several of the students sold more than they needed to pay for the trip, which helped the other students. One student sold more than $700 worth of popcorn!”

Kenwood Academy

With airfare costs covered, the students were able to visit participating Southern California schools, as scheduled.

When asked what his best suggestion might be, for schools considering using Popcorn Palace for fundraising purposes, Dr. Wyatt emphasized the importance of parent and participant communication. The quality of Popcorn Palace products also helps to keep everyone motivated.

“Our Popcorn Palace fundraiser more than covered the cost of airfare,” said Dr. Wyatt, “and the popcorn was so delicious that we placed a second order – not for fundraising, but because people kept asking if we had extra bags on the side!”

If you have any questions or need information about popcorn fundraising for students, contact Popcorn Palace for more information.


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