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Tips and Tricks For Successful Fundraising

5 Jan

Popcorn Palace Gourmet Popcorn makes fundraising for your school or organization simple – but staying organized can help smooth the way for a truly successful campaign. Make sure your team is ready, by following these helpful tips and tricks!

  1. Communicate. Let your school or organization’s administrators know your plans, and clearly communicate your fundraising goals and plan, in order to gain any necessary approvals. Reaching out to the person in charge of announcements and community outreach is also a great idea – they may be able to help you spread the word to students, parents, or participants.
  2. Gather your team. Go over the information contained in Popcorn Palace’s Fundraising Kit with your team. Make sure that everyone involved understands the process, and is clear about the purpose and goals you’re working to reach.
  3. Create a timeline. You’ll want to decide the following:
  • Customer Delivery Date. When do you plan to deliver orders to customers?
  • Order Delivery Date. Allow yourself a few days after the receipt of your order to organize and distribute your Popcorn Palace Gourmet Popcorn. Remember, your team might have other commitments, scheduling in a little cushion will help keep it low stress for everyone.
  • Fundraising Dates. Outline clear dates for the beginning and end of your fundraiser, and make sure that everyone involved knows when the campaign will end. Short sales periods (under two weeks) are ideal. Also, allow a day or two of grace time, to ensure that you receive orders from every member of your team.
  1. Make a cheat sheet. List sales prices, dates, and other important information, in case your fundraising team needs a little reminder. Preparing helpful responses to frequently asked questions will help you save time, and avoid confusion.
  2. Rehearse the sales pitch. We know that Popcorn Palace products are delicious enough to sell themselves – still, providing your team with a basic sales prompt is empowering (and rehearsing it can help avoid the “deer in the headlights” experience). It will help your team feel more comfortable, and help you boost sales.
  3. Stick to the plan. Following your outlined dates will be critical to your success. It avoids confusion, eliminates lagging orders, and ensures that all of your customers are pleased with their orders.

Remember, staying organized will help ensure that your team stays on the same page – and helps your ensure your fundraiser is a success.

For more information on successful fundraising, contact Popcorn Palace. We can help your school or organization achieve its goals – contact us today, for our helpful fundraising kit!

Smart Snacks in Schools

30 Dec

To build a healthier nation, we first need to build healthy habits in our younger generation. This is the principle behind the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, an initiative which is focused on improving the health of school children, by ensuring that students are offered healthier options for meals and snacks.

This initiative is changing the way our students eat, for the better. Across the U.S., school lunches are now required to include more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Driven by this initiative, the USDA has published the Smart Snacks in School standards – a comprehensive, science-based guide to school nutrition.

The Smart Snacks in School standards will support the improvement of student health, by ensuring that school kids are offered only the most nutritious and delicious foods throughout their day. It outlines strict guidelines for the selection of healthy options, and limits the availability of junk food in the education environment. According to these standards, any food offered for sale in schools must –

  • Be a “whole grain-rich” grain product, or
  • Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food; or
  • Be a combination food that contains at least 1⁄4 cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
  • Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber).

Popcorn Palace is proud to meet the USDA’s Smart Snacks in School standards, by offering delicious, healthy, nutritional gourmet snacks which appeal to students and staff alike. Our snack-sized popcorn packs can be sold in the cafeteria or snack bar during school hours, as well as at concession stands, school stores, and extracurricular events.

A healthy experience can also be a heavenly experience! Our student-appropriate options are richly flavored, low-calorie whole grain treats.  Our student-friendly gourmet selections deliver a delightful and healthy snacking experience, while falling below the outlined USDA standards for sugar, fat, and sodium content.

If you’d like to learn more about how the USDA’s Smart Snacks in School program is positively impacting the health of our students, you can read the full standards online, here. (Or, visit http://www.regulations.gov , and search for docket number FNS-2011-0019.)

To find out how Popcorn Palace can support your school’s good health, or to learn about our student-appropriate snack options, contact us today!

Popcorn Garland – A Traditional Holiday Decoration

22 Dec

In early American homes, the holidays were a time to deck the halls – but tree trimmings were often limited to what could be found in the home. Families would gather round the fire, crafting handmade ornaments from nuts, berries, and marzipan – and stringing popcorn into festive garlands, which would later bedeck their mantel and tree.

If you’re interested in carrying on this great American tradition, popcorn garlands are a fun, festive, and timeless holiday decoration, sure to please young and old alike!

These easy tips from Popcorn Palace will help you get into the holiday spirit, and make the crafting fun for everyone.

  1. Pop plain popcorn the day before you intend to make your garlands. Fresh popcorn will crumble, but yesterday’s leftovers are perfect for stringing together.
  2. Use an embroidery needle (or, one with a hole large enough to thread easily).
  3. Use dental floss instead of thread – it’s stronger, and it will pass through your popcorn kernels more easily. Also, don’t cut the floss until you’re done – leaving it on the spool will help keep your kernels from sliding off before you’re finished, and ensure that you have plenty of length.
  4. For a fancier look, alternate sections of popcorn kernels with dried (or raw) cranberries, or raisins.
  5. Hang the garland on the tree before all other decorations, and it will be less likely to tangle or catch.
  6. After the holidays are over, wrap your popcorn garland in tissue paper and seal it in a dry, airtight container to save until next year – or hang it outside, and let the local wildlife share your holiday treat!

Creating these fun and festive decorations is a great way to start a new family tradition. But remember – the hardest part of creating a popcorn garland is not eating your materials! Make sure your decorating team has a healthy snack to tide them over – check out Popcorn Palace’s delicious gourmet flavors, and you’ll find something perfect for the whole family.

Happy Holidays!
Popcorn Palace

Dos and Don’ts of Modern Fundraising

17 Dec

Smaller organizations such as school clubs, fan groups and special interest societies typically have to run at least one or two fundraisers a year to make ends meet. Some organizations simply send out a donation request to their donor mailing list, others host a gala charity event, but groups with a lower profile most commonly sell products like t-shirts or candy or popcorn to their friends, family and the general public to raise funds.

Fundraising Dos

  1. Do get organized, but don’t overdo it. It is important to keep careful track of product inventory and sales, and setting goals and firm deadlines is also a good idea. But you don’t want to have a five-page list of exactly how, what and where the product must be sold. For the most part, it’s best to let people take the initiative and trust them to exercise good judgment in selling the fundraising products.
  2. Do have an online presence. Any size organization can afford to have a website today, and it takes very little time to add a new page to an existing website. It might even be a good idea to have a dedicated website if you are running a larger fundraiser.
  3. Do get everyone involved. It’s also important to get as many people in the organization involved in the fundraiser as possible. This is especially true for school or special interest club organizations where everyone will derive benefit from the proceeds of the fundraiser.
  4. Do offer incentives. Keeping people motivated is always a good idea, and some reasonable and fun incentives (gift cards, free movie passes or night in a local B&B, etc) can create some friendly competition to help drive sales.

Fundraising Don’ts

  1. Don’t use the same fundraising idea over and over again. Both the members of the group doing the fundraising and your buyers/donors get burned out if you sell the same old tee shirts every year. You need to change things up and sell something that people can get really excited about — like more than a dozen varieties of delicious gourmet popcorn from Popcorn Palace.
  2. Don’t rely on the same people to organize the fundraiser every year. It’s just human nature that most people burn out after a couple of years leading fundraisers. Bring in new blood as much as possible to keep your fundraising team motivated and effective.
  3. Don’t forget to thank your volunteers and donors. This might seem obvious, but thanking everyone that participated in your fundraiser takes some organization. You need to have the names and  mailing/email addresses of all your buyers and your volunteers in a database, and somebody will need to spend at least a couple of hours creating mailing list and sending out bulk email thank you messages or, even better, snail-mail thank you notes.

How to Write a Great Direct Mail Fundraising Letter

10 Dec

Even great products don’t sell themselves. You’ve got to get out there and market the product you are selling in your fundraiser. An important part of that process is crafting a persuasive letter to introduce your fundraising campaign and the product you’re selling to raise funds. The product itself significantly colors your fundraising letter — you would probably take a quite different approach to your letter if you were selling raffle tickets for a cruise, for example, than if you were selling premium flavored popcorn.

Personalize Fundraising Letters

Most fundraising experts emphasize the importance of sending all personal correspondence to individuals by name. A personalized letter is much more likely to make the reader actually stop and consider making a purchase. An obvious form letter addressed to “Dear Supporter” may even get tossed in the trash without being opened.

Using Emotion

The best way to convince someone to buy something they don’t really need is to appeal to one or more emotions. Getting an emotional response from a reader makes it much more likely that they will buy the product. Someone who isn’t thinking emotionally is much more likely to say why should I buy an expensive fundraiser fruit basket when I can get almost as good fruit at the store for a third of the cost?

Your letter needs to make the reader feel like he or she is part of a bigger cause and is truly making the world a better place by their participation in your fundraiser. Everyone wants to think of themselves as generous, kind, and noble. So you want to play up that theme in your letter with something like: “I’m so glad we are lucky enough to have generous friends like you.”

Strong Attention-grabbing Intro

Another essential part of a truly effective direct mail fundraising letter is a powerful intro that grabs the attention of the reader and leads her into the critical pitch in the body of the letter. Depending on your organization, the product you’re selling and the tone of your letter, you might even consider starting the letter with a catchy headline followed by the greeting. You definitely need a strong first sentence to “hook” the reader: “Did you know that funding for music programs in Houston schools has been cut by 75% over the last five years? All of the profits from the sales of Popcorn Palace’s delicious gourmet popcorn in this fundraising campaign go directly to the music program at Beechlawn Middle School.”

Supporting Education – One Student’s Story of Success

4 Dec

A photo of Theda Robinson's son, in his new school uniform.

A photo of Theda Robinson’s son, in his new school uniform.


When Theda Robinson and her husband were looking for options to help fund their son’s Christian school education, they turned to the internet for fundraising resources. That’s how they connected with Popcorn Palace. Popcorn Palace offers more than twenty flavors of gourmet popcorn – and sponsors a fundraising program designed to help individuals and grassroots organizations raise support for their efforts.

“I am very happy that I found Popcorn Palace on-line, when I was looking for fundraiser ideas. I was really pleased when I picked up my order,” said Robinson. “We have received a lot of positive feedback!”

Finding donations to cover the rising cost of education can be difficult, which is why Popcorn Palace goes over and above to reduce the burden on schools and parents. There are no up front costs, all products are presorted by participant and delivered via UPS, and best of all – fundraisers keep 50% of the proceeds on each item sold. Popcorn Palace makes it easy for parents and schools to organize their efforts, and raise the money they need, quickly.

It was easy for the Robinsons to begin their son’s popcorn fundraiser – they simply requested Popcorn Palace’s free information kit, which included all of the information they needed to get started.

The Robinsons chose to keep it simple, focusing their fundraising efforts on their local community. “My husband and I took the brochure to work,” Robinson said. “My son took it to school, and a Wednesday night prayer meeting.”

With the support of the friendly and helpful Popcorn Palace fundraising team, and delicious free samples, Popcorn Palace’s products virtually sell themselves. The Robinsons had an excellent fundraising experience – and they easily reached their goals.

The family sold plenty of popcorn, raising more than $1200 for their son’s tuition – in under two weeks. The Robinsons found their friends and family were very willing to show their support.

“It seems everyone likes popcorn!” said Theda Robinson. “It was perfect. My family and I want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to raise money for my son’s education.”

Fun Popcorn Facts

20 Aug

Almost everyone loves popcorn. What’s not to like about an inexpensive whole grain that can be combined with virtually any flavoring to create a delicious, healthy treat?

Popcorn is almost as American as apple pie. Popcorn originated in North America, hit the big time in the late 19th century, and exploded in popularity with the advent of the microwave oven in the mid-1970s. Popcorn was no longer just a treat at the movies. Suddenly popcorn was in every living room, office break room and school. Popcorn gifts, popcorn fundraisers, you name it, the American public had become totally enamored with popcorn.

As the number one popcorn consuming nation, the U.S. consumes more than 16 billion quarts of (popped) popcorn annually. That means every American consumes close to 52 quarts of popcorn a year.

Popcorn Facts

  • The corn that popcorn comes from is a member of the grass family, and is scientifically known as Zea mays everta.
  • There are six major types of corn—pod, sweet, flour, dent, flint and popcorn—but only popcorn pops completely when heated.
  • The moisture content of popcorn is ideally between 13% and 14.5%. Popcorn will not pop properly with much higher or lower moisture levels.
  • The two main types of popcorn relate to the typical shapes when it’s popped: snowflake and mushroom. Snowflake popcorn is commonly found in movie theaters and stadiums because it pops up bigger. Mushroom popcorn, on the other hand, is used for popcorn confections and popcorn gifts because it is stronger and won’t crumble as easily.

How Popcorn Pops

Popcorn has a thicker hull than most other types of corn kernels. The thick hull means pressure from the internal water will build when heated and the kernel will eventually burst open. The inside starch becomes gelatinous during the heating process, and when the hull pops, the gelatinized starch is forced. The starch almost instantly cools into the familiar popcorn shape we all know and love.

Popcorn Production Statistics

Popcorn is grown on almost 1,000 farms on more than 201,000 acres in 29 states (2007 data).  The biggest popcorn producing states today are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio.

Popcorn production in the U.S. has almost tripled over the last four decades. According to the Popcorn Board, the U.S. produced around 350,000,000 pounds of popcorn in 1970, and broke the billion pound barrier for the first time in 2013.

Of note, the vast majority of U.S. popcorn production is contracted in advance with processors.  Given these contractual arrangements and generally thin markets, popcorn is usually grown under irrigation. According to IbisWorld market research, the U.S. popcorn industry brought in more than a billion dollars in revenue in 2013.

Well over three-quarters of U.S. popcorn production is consumed domestically.  Although it’s difficult to measure exactly, most sources agree that away-from-home popcorn consumption represents less than one-third of overall popcorn consumption.

Five Easy Steps to Running a Money-Making Popcorn Fundraiser

18 Jun

There are plenty of ways to raise funds, but before you decide which way is best for your particular organization, consider your options thoroughly. Many fundraising methods require money up front or involve other aspects which may get in the way of your primary goal of raising funds.

Fundraising with gourmet popcorn from Popcorn Palace is as easy as, well, popping popcorn. Plus your group makes a 50% profit on every item they sell. Here are 5 easy steps to running your own popcorn fundraiser with Popcorn Palace:

Getting Started

Check out the website to get a sense of what Popcorn Palace is all about. Explore the flavors made with fresh real ingredients. On the top right of the website, click on the link titled “Make Fundraising Easy,” to request more information or start a fundraiser. Also, take a few moments to check out the blog which features testimonials from previously successful fundraisers.

Fundraising Kit

When you’re ready, you can request a free fundraising kit by filling out the form online at our fundraising page. You should have it in approximately 10 business days.

Popcorn Palace also provides a variety of tools to help make the fundraising process simple and fun. We provide a fundraising brochure with an interactive form to help create your own business plan, as well as letter templates for a parent letter, reminder letter, order pick-up letter and more. Make sure to ask for these materials.

Delicious Decisions

Next, it’s time to make some decisions. Pick the launch date and end date for your fundraiser, which should run approximately two to three weeks. Make sure to also give the group time to prepare for the fundraiser. Create a Facebook event page, put up flyers and spread the word.

Now it’s time to choose your flavors. Review the price list to see available options and determine which option is best for the group. By using the interactive form, you can set personal and group sales goals.

Set Up Your Account

Create an account online at: popcornpalace.com/Home/Fundraising. All necessary information will be provided in your fundraising kit or we can send you a PDF file with all of the ordering details.

On Your Marks, Get Set, Sell!

Now, it’s all up to you! Popcorn Palace fundraising is risk free since you sell orders before the product is purchased. Selling popcorn is as delightful as it tastes. Popcorn Palace has been seen on Food Network and is beloved across the country, and you’ll soon taste why!

Once the fundraising is completed, place your order, either online or via regular mail. Once payment has been received, be sure to allow 10 business days for delivery. If you have any additional questions or comments, please call 800-873-2686. We’re always happy to help!

Five Outstanding Ideas for High School Fundraisers

22 May

There are an endless number of ways high schools can raise funds for their band, glee club or other organizations. High school programs often have limited resources, thus leaving it up to the parents and students to supplement the budget. If you need inspiration for your next fundraiser, we can help!

  1. EDIBLES and MORE:

In a traditional fundraiser, students sell an assortment of items such as candy bars, pies, cookie dough, and t-shirts. It is important to offer a unique and quality product that people want. Gourmet popcorn is an excellent way to raise funds because so many people love popcorn, and it’s a healthier and heartier snack than candy and cookies. Edible fundraisers are best when the profit made on each item is high. Also, make sure you only pay after the orders are taken, so you don’t incur any risk for your organization.

  1. PLEDGE EVENT:

Sports teams can rally their supporters and boost team spirit by hosting a pledge event. For example, a basketball team can organize a “Shoot-a-Thon,” and invite friends and family to pledge 50 cents for every successful free-throw a team member makes. Wrestling teams can host a “Lift-a-Thon,” where people pledge a dollar amount for each pound a student can bench-press. It’s a fun way to get fans excited about the upcoming competition(s) and raise money at the same time.

  1. AUCTION:

Although it can require a lot of planning and coordinating, an auction can be a fantastic way to raise a significant amount of money. Parents and friends are asked to donate desirable goods and services that can be auctioned off at an event. For an auction to be successful, it’s helpful to find corporate sponsors who can also donate items such as gift certificates, an MP3 player, and artwork. Sponsors can also donate food, drinks or needed items for the auction so upfront costs can be minimized.

  1. BOOK SALE:

A book sale is another great way to raise funds for high school groups and doesn’t require much up-front cost. Friends, relatives, teachers and fellow students are asked to donate their old books. Its best to have a wide variety of books, and you definitely need excellent marketing so you can use posters, flyers, Craigslist ads and social media. Leftover books can be donated to a library, shelter or school, which means everybody wins!

  1. SCAVENGER HUNT:

Provide an evening of entertainment and an exciting prize by setting up a scavenger hunt! Plan a route and make a list of interesting or unusual items that participants must find in order to win. Advertise the event and charge a small fee to participate. Be sure to find a company willing to sponsor the price, so all of the money donated can go straight to the organization, and you can include the prize and sponsor on the advertisement. You’ll draw more participants and the sponsor gets an advertising opportunity.

These are five options for successful fundraising for any school group. Be creative, and pick an option that helps your organization and your community. Popcorn Palace is always happy to help high schools reach their fundraising goals! Click here to find out more.

 

 

Popcorn is a Profitable and Fun Way to Raise Funds

15 May

While there’s no doubt that everybody loves those delicious cookies sold by savvy little girls every year, eventually people get tired of seeing them. Other popular fundraising items such as candy bars and cookie dough also get tiresome.

Fortunately, Popcorn Palace offers an alternative for schools, churches and other non-profits needing to raise money. Popcorn Palace offers over 12 flavors to choose from, which range from sweet to savory, and supreme. Everyone has their favorite, but some of the most popular flavors are Milk Chocolate Drizzle, Nutty Caramel and Spicy Cheese.

Organizations can take pride in fundraising with Popcorn Palace popcorn because it’s a healthy snack made with premium natural ingredients such as roasted nuts and real fruit oils. Each flavor is made by hand in small batches, which means each kernel is fresh and flavorful.

There are numerous benefits to fundraising with gourmet popcorn made by Popcorn Palace. The number one reason is that organizations earn 50% profit on each item, and there is never an order minimum or up-front costs. Orders come pre-sorted by group or individual, saving you time and distribution errors.

From high school bands to youth ministries, organizations of any size can take advantage of this opportunity. Even organizations in very small communities have successfully met their funding goals, simply because the popcorn is so delicious, everyone leaves happy, and many come back for more!

There’s also an outstanding support staff ready to assist with any questions or concerns you may have. Interested organizations can get started by setting up an account online or by calling 800-873-2686 today.

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