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Is Butter Flavored Popcorn Bad For Your Health?

5 Jun

Popcorn has long been a favorite option for healthy snacking, though it has recently been receiving quite a bit of negative news coverage. Recent scrutiny of commercially-used artificial butter flavoring (specifically, a chemical called diacetyl) has kicked up quite a bit of controversy about the health benefits of popcorn.

At Popcorn Palace, we believe your health comes first – and we’d love to shed some light on the subject.

To start, diacetyl is a chemical included in microwave or theatre popcorn – it’s that buttery-yellow substance which gives microwave popcorn it’s distinctive aroma. A byproduct of the fermentation process of butter, beer, and vinegar, diacetyl is also synthetically produced for use by food companies, because of its irresistible flavor and smell.

Better safe, than sorry.

Recent studies have linked diacetyl to lung damage (caused by breathing its vapors) as well as potential brain-related health risks. It is currently unclear whether eating foods containing diacetyl (which is used in both microwave and theatre popcorn, as well as other snack foods and baked goods) might increase the risk of developing brain-related issues such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The concerns are significant enough that companies have already begun removing diacetyl from use. Still, removing diacetyl from microwave and theatre popcorn doesn’t necessarily make it safe – as several substitute ingredients are also suspected to hold negative impact on consumer health.

So, is buttered popcorn still okay to eat?

The short answer is, yes – as long as it is made with real butter, or other natural ingredients, such as those used by Popcorn Palace. Our products contain no artificial additives or flavorings, ever – so you can rest assured that our products are a safe and healthy snacking alternative.

Our delicious gourmet treats are prepared using the finest natural ingredients. We use high-quality popcorn, and celebrate its natural flavor by highlighting it with the best mix-ins – crafting custom flavors with integrity. We preserve the naturally occurring qualities of popcorn (which is high in body-friendly whole grains, fiber, and antioxidants) by producing our popcorn in small batches – so that you can experience this healthy snack in all of its glory!

So, popcorn lovers rejoice! You don’t have to give up this crunchy and satisfying snack. Just dump the artificially-flavored popcorn, just take a look at Popcorn Palace for delicious and healthy popcorn snacks.

Smart Questions for Fundraising Strategy

29 May

With recent cuts to federal and state budgets drastically reducing educational funding, your school’s fundraising efforts are becoming more and more important. The responsibility of generating financial support for school programs and projects is falling to parents, teachers, and volunteers – who often have little to no fundraising experience. Because of this, the creation of a cohesive fundraising strategy is often overlooked.

The following questions are designed to help you analyze your fundraising strategy – so you can devote your time and energy to the activities and efforts which best meet the needs of your educational institution. If your school already has a fundraising plan, these questions can be applied to evaluate its effectiveness, and help you create or strengthen your existing fundraising guidelines.

Why you are raising funds?

Your fundraising efforts should be focused on the problem you hope to resolve, or the needs and opportunities you hope to meet with the funds collected. Raising funds to purchase new playground equipment is great – but the real reason you are raising those funds is to allow children to play safely, and promote their health by encouraging them to exercise. By emphasizing the reasons behind your goals, you’ll help your fundraising team and donors understand your purpose, define how the money raised will be used, and provide a connection between your goals and fundraising efforts.

What values do you share with your donors?

In the example above, your school’s efforts would be supporting the health and safety of students. Your best prospective donors would be those who also hold interest in supporting those efforts – for instance, the parents or grandparents of your students, or a community organization which is focused on teaching kids healthy exercise habits. Ask your fundraising team to brainstorm, and identify any local organizations or individuals known to share the values which define your efforts – and you’ll find yourself connecting with donors who are already inspired to support your cause.

Do your efforts align with your values?

It is essential that your fundraising strategy reflect the values of your goal, or it may be counterproductive. For example, a cake walk to support the purchase of your playground equipment (which aims to promote the healthy habits of students) would be inappropriate – where the sale of healthy snacks, such as those offered in a Popcorn Palace fundraiser, would be perfectly suited to support your efforts. Making sure that your fundraising activities and efforts align with your ultimate goals and values is important to donors – and to the success of your campaign.

What will your fundraiser cost?

A comprehensive fundraising strategy needs to take the cost of fundraising activities into consideration. If your fundraiser is centered around product sales, make sure you are clear on any up-front or out-of-pocket costs before committing. You should also take into consideration additional costs such as posters or flyers, prizes, or awards, when determining your campaign budget, and cost per dollar raised. Revisiting these numbers after your campaign is completed will help you refine your fundraising strategy for future efforts, as well.

Are your fundraising partners operating in their integrity?

Partnering with corporations or other organizations is a great fundraising strategy, and can be an effective way to raise additional support for your campaign. It helps you demonstrate wide support for your efforts, and can help you raise additional awareness about your educational organization’s needs. Still, you should carefully assess any company or organization considered for partnership before beginning your campaign, in order to ensure that their values align with your own, and that they are operating in their integrity. Aligning with a business who’s efforts or practices are in conflict with your goals could be detrimental to your campaign – but a strong partnership with an organization whose values and goals reflect your own can offer an incredible boost, and reinforce your fundraising efforts.

How will this campaign benefit your community?

Whenever possible, explain how the accomplishment of your school’s goals will positively impact your community. When you can help others understand how their contributions directly affect their community on a wider scale, you’ll gain greater support, and pave the way for their willing participation.

While these questions aren’t the only things to consider, you can use them to hone your fundraising strategy, educate your community, and prepare volunteers and students for interacting with potential donors. By focusing on your school’s goals, and the values they support, you’ll allow your donors the opportunity to contribute to your campaign in a way that makes them feel valued and connected.

For more information on how Popcorn Palace can help you launch a fundraising campaign which supports the health and well being of your students, with no out-of-pocket cost – contact our fundraising team, and we’ll help you get started on the path to fundraising success!

Competition vs. Cooperation: Which Gets Better Fundraising Results?

19 May

Are you organizing a fundraiser for kids, and you’re wondering whether to make it a competitive or cooperative fundraiser? You should start by asking yourself which is better for the members involved and which would raise more money. Before you begin your fundraiser, compare the pros and cons of each.

Competition

Many fundraisers are designed to be competitions and with good reason. Some students get inspired and energized trying to outdo each other in school fundraisers – some kids have really competitive spirits.

Using this as a healthy advantage can lead to excellent results with fundraisers. If the kids are not yet at an age where they care about or understand the financial side of things, set other goals they can focus on. For example, choose a number of items each child is expected to sell. Keep a tally with stickers on a decorated poster.

For older kids who do understand the finances, directly setting monetary goals lets them be more involved in the fundraising, and they can track what percentage of the overall fundraiser they’re bringing in by themselves. For further incentive, offer a small prize to the one who raises the most.

You don’t want any angry or hurt feelings between anybody involved, so you have to find a balance of friendly and competitive. If you succeed, you can achieve fantastic results. To make the most of this, try a few of these tips:

  • Regularly meet to compare sales and numbers. Merely knowing there is a number to aim for helps, but having a time to review how each team member is doing keeps everyone on their toes.
  • Make sure to make the goal easily measurable.
  • Keep the end prize something fun but not over the top.
  • Always be positive about everyone’s efforts. If you keep the tone light and friendly, kids will follow with the tone you set.
  • Make sure the focus is always kept on the end goal and what they will be able to be accomplished with the funds.

Cooperation

If you feel your group isn’t well suited for competition, than cooperation is a better option. Cooperation has its advantages. Where competition can foster individual successes, cooperation can teach your group to work with each other to achieve the same goal. You can use this as an opportunity to teach kids about teamwork and sharing successes, and some people just do better in a cooperative environment because it’s friendly and less stressful.

Fundraising is really well suited for cooperation because your members have the same end goal in common: raising money to do something awesome with the funds.

There are multiple choices for how to organize a cooperative fundraiser. You can focus on teamwork and working in groups. Either set teammates early on, so they’re working together in their small groups throughout the fundraiser, or organize teams and consistently change up the members, so it is less likely they will get competitive in their groups.

You can also organize larger group events, so everyone is working together with the same opportunities. Some kids can work booths, while others raise awareness for the organization. Some kids can help set up, and some kids can help break down the booth at the end. This way, kids are responsible for more than just sales. They all pitch in in different ways.

Some final tips for cooperative fundraising:

  • Regularly meet to talk about the group goals and what you are doing together to achieve them.
  • Tally success as a group and don’t track individual contribution.
  • Offer a group prize for everyone when the fundraising is finished, like a pizza party.

Competition and cooperation both have their merits and can each drive great results. Choosing one over the other depends on the people involved and what your ultimate goal is.

At Popcorn Palace, we love to talk fundraising. If you need any help with an upcoming fundraiser, than read through more blog articles for helpful fundraising tips or contact Popcorn Palace today.

 

 

Guidelines for Successful Fundraising

12 May

When fundraising for your school, team, or charitable organization, you’ll likely be relying on the participation of volunteers, PTO/PTA members, and your students parents to get the bulk of your work done. Whether your fundraiser involves the sale of Popcorn Palace’s delicious and nutritious gourmet snacks, or the planning of another fundraising event – your team needs a great fundraising strategy to help them succeed in raising the funds your organization needs.

Working with a group of students or volunteers is different than working with a paid staff. Though they may be enthusiastic, and have access to a wide range of community members and social contacts, they need to feel supported and appreciated, in order to remain motivated. Here, our fundraising experts outline some simple guidelines of fundraising strategy, intended to assist you in organizing your volunteer efforts:

Provide volunteer training

The best way to support your volunteer team is to hold a pre-fundraising orientation, in which you outline your goals, fundraising strategy, and expectations. Share any specifics you’d like them to keep in mind, and let them ask any relevant questions. You can also let them know exactly who to contact if they run into any issues, snags, or concerns. By taking the time to help familiarize your volunteers with your unique goals, you’ll help them focus their efforts, and ensure their satisfaction – and happy volunteers make better fundraisers!

Provide materials (and ongoing support!)

In addition to training, make sure your team has everything they need to be successful. Provide your volunteer team with printed copies of your training and orientation outline, along with a healthy supply of the items they will need to fundraise – including Popcorn Palace brochures, order forms, donor envelopes, annual reports for your organization, or information regarding where donations will be spent (such as images of team uniforms, equipment which will be purchased, and so forth).  Also, be sure to provide ongoing support, by scheduling frequent volunteer check-ins, or providing a volunteer “hotline” for questions which arise throughout the campaign.

Be open to creativity

While you should outline the basics protocol and standards of fundraising for your school or organization, don’t stifle the creativity of your fundraising team. Stay open to the new angles and ideas presented by enthusiastic volunteers, and you may find their feedback helps you expand your fundraising strategy to incorporate new angles and opportunities.

Keep track of progress

Make sure each individual has a clear handle on the tasks they are expected to accomplish, and stay in close touch with your volunteers throughout your campaign. Keep track of your progress, and make sure to offer support to volunteers who may be faltering. Your ongoing support, encouragement, and attention to detail will ensure the success of your campaign!

Appreciate your volunteers

Remember, your volunteers are here to support your efforts – not because they have to, but because they want to. Make sure your team feels appreciated, by expressing your gratitude and thanks throughout the process. By providing them with ongoing praise and recognition for their efforts, you’ll find yourself with a dedicated team of volunteers – who return to support you, year after year!

For more information on fundraising strategy, and how to successfully organize and support your volunteer team, feel free to contact Popcorn Palace. Our fundraising experts are available to provide you with the information and support you need to make sure your campaign is a hit – year after year!

Celebrating Your Successful Fundraiser

28 Apr

Imagine your Popcorn Palace fundraiser is complete – and it was, of course, an amazing success! Now, it’s time to celebrate your accomplishments, by acknowledging and honoring all of the students and volunteers who have supported your school, along the way.

There are many different ways to reward volunteers and participants – but your fundraising team deserves the best. Why not celebrate their achievements (and encourage future participation) by throwing them the ultimate fundraising celebration?

To help make your fundraising celebration memorable, and keep your participants pumped for future events, the fundraising team at Popcorn Palace offers these great tips for honoring your VIPs:

  • Invite friends and family who participated in your fundraiser to a VIP event. Offer delicious and nutritious low-cost snacks.
  • Host a formal rewards ceremony, where top fundraisers or VIP volunteers receive their awards and prizes, alongside a personal acknowledgment of their contribution to the campaign. If a rewards budget was not included in your original fundraiser, solicit donations from local businesses, and hand out door prizes to attendees.
  • Provide personalized thank you certificates (or cards), signed by members of the team or club benefiting from your fundraiser (or school or organizational staff). You can also honor top collectors by listing their names on your website – both are low-cost options for expressing your gratitude!
  • Showcase your achievements. If you’ve successfully collected the funds needed to install new playground equipment, plan your celebration alongside the unveiling – or show a slide presentation or video which describes future improvements.
  • Make your VIPs feel like stars. Put together a highlight reel of your fundraising efforts, and watch it as a team. Students and volunteers will be excited to see themselves participating – and it will emphasize the importance of every individual’s unique efforts.
  • Show off. If the funds you’ve collected support the science club, offer a VIP viewing of the Science Fair. If the funds support your dance or cheer team, include a performance as part of your celebration. You’ll help students and volunteers connect their efforts to real results – very rewarding!
  • Close with a toast, and express your sincere appreciation and gratitude to everyone who participated – your thanks will go a long way with those who are considering participating again, next year!

Following these tips will help you express your gratitude, honor the achievements of your fundraising team, and make your fundraising celebration unforgettable! For more information on how Popcorn Palace can help your school or organization meet your financial goals, contact our fundraising team, today – and you’ll be on your way to the ultimate celebration!

 

5 Tips for Fundraising Leadership

21 Apr

You stepped up to lead a school organization because you love the topic… whether it’s band, cheer, sports, or academics. You know what you’re doing when it comes to managing the kids and inspiring them to work harder and have fun. But embracing the fundraising aspect of an organization can be a lot harder, even if it is fundamental.

Many organization leaders have had bad experience with previous fundraisers. They cost too much to get started. They didn’t work or they took too much time away from important practice or other activities. Fundraisers don’t have to be complicated and overly time-consuming to be successful.

In this article, we’ll provide you with 5 tips to help you with fundraising leadership, so you can lead your organization to fundraising success.

Research

The first step is to find out how much you really need to raise. This might seem obvious, but we see a number of groups that don’t know the specific dollar amount they need. It doesn’t have to be down to the cent, but you really need an approximate amount. Raising money is always helpful to an organization, but knowing what you need makes the fundraiser significantly more relatable—for members and funders. Progress without purpose doesn’t work as well.

Conquer Your Fear of Sales

Money can be an uncomfortable topic, but fundraising is sales. If you’re more comfortable talking to people about your organization’s goals, the money you need to achieve them, and what you’re selling then you can translate that comfort to your members. Have a firm idea of what your sales pitch is and be sincere and specific, so you can be proud of your fundraiser.

Be Supportive

You’re a valuable part of the fundraiser, even if your members are the ones doing the actual selling or service. Be ready to answer questions, help students that struggle with the fundraiser, and celebrate every win—big or small.

Keep on top of tracking

Don’t leave fundraiser tracking for the very end. If you do, the numbers will be overwhelming, and it’ll take so much time to tally and organize, that members and funders will feel disconnected by the time they hear the results. There are super fun ways to keep track – such as a fundraising thermometer that you color in at the end of every week.  Whether you decide to track publicly or privately in a spreadsheet is up to you—as long as you stay on top of it.

Find Your Own Support

Lastly, don’t take too much on your own shoulders without support. Being a fundraising leader is awesome, but it can get overwhelming fast. Form a committee, so you have different people handling different tasks. Or have multiple adult volunteers that can act as fundraising mentors for the kids. Make sure the school is on board, and ask advice from anyone else that has run a similar fundraiser.

At Popcorn Palace, we’re fundraising experts and we want to show you the support you need to step up your game in fundraising leadership. We offer tons of fundraising advice on our blog, and you can always contact us for more information on how to start a fundraiser of your own.

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!

 

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