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4 Social Media Tips for a Successful Fundraiser

30 Dec

The influence of social media to the success of a fundraising campaign is huge. It allows you to branch your campaign to people who identify with your cause, broadening your audience to reach more donors. Recent studies by Blackbaud show that online giving grew 13.8% in the summer of 2015 when compared to the year before it[1].

While the opportunities found in social media are highly valuable for fundraisers, success comes with time and dedication to your message. To help your fundraiser reach its social media potential, follow our 4 tips to effectively communicate your message to your audience:

  1. Invest in Platforms That Best Fit Your Fundraiser

It’s important to understand the demographic and voice of your social media networks. For example, 30% of people between the ages of 26 – 34 use Twitter with 23% using Facebook[2]. These numbers are different for people between the ages of 18 – 25, with 29% using Facebook and 13% using Twitter[3]. Although these age groups are a few years apart, there is a major difference in lifestyle and experience.

Another thing to consider when choosing your social media networks is the nature of the medium itself. Facebook allows you to share more information than most other platforms with a character limit of 175. Twitter on the other hand caps you at 60 characters. Audience demographics, character limits and other features will play a major role in the way you communicate your message.

  1. Design Content to Your Audience

Before you can ask someone to donate, you need to have an audience of people who identify with your cause. The key to fundraising is to maintain a narrative for your audience to identify with. The narrative tells your audience why they should donate, where the donation is going, and how their part is building into your cause.

Social media gives you the opportunity to bring personality into your narrative by sharing milestones, offering opportunities for involvement, and stay responsive to your audience. To do this effectively, focus your message around social sharing – captivating posts that people publicly identify with. According to Marketo, 73% of people share posts to find people with common interests[4]. Having highly sharable content will organically grow your audience as people identify with your message.

  1. Maintain Your Momentum by Being Interactive

Maintain the momentum of you message by interacting with your audience. A survey conducted by Waggener Edstrom found that 55% of people who engage with causes on social media are inspired to take further action[5]. This can be as simple as updating your logos and images to reflect the holidays and public events or thanking your donors.

Stay in the loop of what people are responding to by using relevant hashtags. For example, if there is a trending hashtag about a football game and your fundraiser is raising money for new football equipment at a local high school, it may benefit your fundraiser to follow the hashtag. The important thing is to stay in the conversation and engage with the subject matter.

  1. Call to Action – Reference Your Website

The most important component of your message is its call to action. Without a call to action, then your audience will not know how they can support your cause. Keep in mind that social media isn’t necessarily designed to accept donations. You will need to refer people to your website or pay page to see value from your efforts.

Social media allows you to engage your message to a broader audience. It offers you more opportunities to drive your narrative and personify your cause, allowing your audience to accept your message as their own. The key is to remain consistent with your message and efforts, maintaining the momentum that you’ve built overtime.

 

Let us be part of your message. Our gourmet popcorn at Popcorn Palace is made fresh with all natural flavors with gift tins. You can earn 50% profit per item with no order limits. For more information, fill our form below and a fundraising expert will contact you soon!

[1] Allyson K. “Online Donations Rise in 2015”. Care2services. http://www.care2services.com/care2blog/onlinedonationsrise

[2] Danielle M. “Social Media Marketing for Musicians”. SlideShare. http://www.slideshare.net/mmmsocialmedia/social-media-marketing-for-musicians-35271915

[3] Ibid.

[4] Brian C. “Contagious Content”. Marketo. http://www.marketo.com/assets/uploads/Contagious-Content.pdf

[5] “14 Must-Know Stats About Fundraising, Social Media, and Mobile Technology”. Nonprofit Tech for Good. http://waggeneredstrom.com/what-we-do/social-innovation/report-digital-persuasion/

First Thanksgiving Dinner Popcorn Myth

6 Nov

Most Americans associate Thanksgiving with popcorn. However, it turns out that the long-held belief that Squanto and the other Wampanoag Indian visitors brought popcorn to the first Thanksgiving dinner in Plymouth is just a myth. That said, historians are quite sure that roasted corn was one of the items on the first Thanksgiving dinner menu.

Popcorn Not Eaten in Atlantic Northeast Area

Urban myths that resonate deeply with a cultural psyche are difficult to discredit, and that seems to be the case with the long-standing myth regarding Native Americans bringing a basket of popcorn to the first Thanksgiving dinner.

Archeologists have thoroughly debunked this myth, but many (if not most) Americans continue to believe it. It’s not really all that surprising though, given nearly all Americans were taught some variation of this fact back in elementary and middle school.

The facts are, however, that the type of corn the Wampanoag Indians in the Massachusetts and Virginia area  grew was related to the Northern Flint variety that does not pop (relatively few varieties of popcorn have enough water to pop explosively and form popcorn).  Furthermore, according to James W. Baker, vice president and chief historian for Plimoth Plantation, no signs of popcorn have ever been uncovered in archaeological excavations in the area.

National Myth About Popcorn at First Thanksgiving Dinner Created in 1880s

The myth of popcorn at the first Thanksgiving dinner table was part of the Manifest Destiny frenzy that defined mid-19th century U.S. history.  Well-known food historian Andrew F. Smith says the Pilgrims-and-popcorn myth dates all the way back to the 1880s. This historical period saw many immigrants arriving in the country, and a number of national myths were created by stories in magazines and newspapers (and even school textbooks) to help Americanize all the newcomers.

Smith notes that popcorn was especially popular during this period. “Popcorn was sold in grocery stores, popped at fairs, and peddled at sporting events.” Other scholars also note that references to popcorn become more common in the mid-19th century. The first known popcorn poem appeared in Harper’s Magazine in 1853.

By the late 1860s popular had evolved into an important agricultural commodity. Advertisements from the era offer popcorn gifts and popcorn for sale as a novelty item. Of note, local varieties of corn must not have popped well, because an ad from popcorn entrepreneur J. A. Hathaway noted his popcorn had been imported from Brazil and then grown and acclimated in Cincinnati for two years.

We hope you’ve enjoyed a little history of popcorn. If you are interested in more information about Popcorn Palace in general, please visit our homepage here or fill out the form below.

Using the Internet and Social Media to Leverage Your Fundraiser

30 Oct

Technology has changed the fundraising landscape. You used to think you were doing pretty good with marketing if you posted a couple of dozen flyers and ran an ad in your local newspaper about this year’s gourmet popcorn fundraiser for the school football team.

Not anymore. Today, effective marketing of a fundraiser largely revolves around digital media. Sure you want to have some color glossy brochures of your products to show your customers, but virtually all the rest of your marketing activities today are online. You need to set up a website and fill it with top quality, focused content. SEO isn’t really an issue, as most visitors are going to get to you via a link. Then after your website is set up you can get serious about your social media marketing campaign.

The Power of Social Media

Facebook is about more than Likes and Twitter can also give your fundraising campaign a big boost. Step one in your social media marketing campaign is prominently featuring the fundraising campaign on your Facebook page, and getting your friends and family members to do the same. If it’s a major fundraiser, you might consider putting in the effort to give the fundraiser its own Facebook Cause page.

You should also take advantage of other social media tools such as Twitter and YouTube.  You don’t want to bombard your network with over-frequent tweets on the subject, but a tweet announcing the start of the fundraising campaign and an update every few days on progress, goals met, etc. is appropriate. Sending out a mass email with a link to the fundraiser website to all of the contacts on your mailing list is another tried and true marketing method.

Popcorn Palace Can Help with Fundraiser Marketing

Popcorn Palace is a premier provider of gourmet popcorn for all kinds of fundraisers. We offer over a dozen varieties of delicious popcorn in a range of sizes and packages. Best of all, with Popcorn Palace there are no upfront costs and you make 50% profit on each item sold. All products are delivered by UPS and are presorted by participant.

You can also get useful tips on organizing your fundraiser from Popcorn Palace.  Our useful Fundraising Information Kit can be ordered online from our website, and this handy guide tells you everything you need to know to run a successful popcorn fundraiser. We can also send you a form if you fill out the form below.

Fall Football Fundraisers

17 Oct

Fall is both the start of football season and the beginning of a new school year, which also makes it the perfect time to put together a fall football fundraiser. Everybody wants to support their school football team, and it’s common knowledge that the expenses of organizing a football team continue to increase every year.

Schools of all types and sizes (including middle schools, high schools and community colleges) can put on a successful fall football fundraiser. Perhaps the most important decision in holding a successful fundraiser is picking the right fundraiser. Do you want to sell a product, hold an event, or offer some type of service like a car wash?

Events frequently mean high upfront costs, which you might or might not recoup. However, they can be fun, raise significant donations, and boost awareness of your team. Services mean significantly less upfront costs than events, but you do have to juggle date scheduling and find volunteers willing to donate a large amount of time and energy. A product based fundraiser can raise significant amount of money, and you can pick the right product and company to work with, so you avoid upfront costs or a minimum obligation.

If you decide that a product-based fundraiser is the right fundraiser for you, you still face a bewildering array of fundraising product choices – candy, fruit, meats and cheeses, gourmet popcorn, magazine subscriptions, clothing, toys and games — so how do you choose the right product for your fundraiser?

Popcorn Is the Perfect Choice

Gourmet popcorn is an ideal choice for a football fundraiser. Almost everybody loves popcorn, so it’s a great seller. Popcorn also ships and stores well, and best of all, it’s healthy and tastes great! You can buy the products for your popcorn fundraiser from a number of different manufacturers, but Popcorn Palace has years of experience making fundraising easy, profitable, and tasty.

If you want to schedule your fundraiser around a fall holiday, Popcorn Palace has got you covered with delicious flavors, savory and sweet, to help you celebrate.

Low Cost, High Profit, Guaranteed Delivery

Popcorn Palace’s fundraising program allows you to organize a no upfront cost, high profit football fundraiser for your organization, and provides guaranteed delivery of your gourmet popcorn via UPS. Note that there is no minimum order and your organization makes 50% profit on every sale. You can even track your shipment online as soon as it leaves our Illinois production facility.

You can learn more about our fundraising program on the Popcorn Palace website, and order your free fundraising information kit to learn how to get started today.

Popcorn Palace Testimonial – Jackie the sports mom

13 Oct

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Jackie Cunningham wore many hats: mom, baseball fan, football fanatic, and involved parent for her children’s school PTA. When looking for a fundraiser, she found Popcorn Palace and had so much success with them one time that she kept on going back. Here is her story:

 

“I worked with Popcorn Palace on three separate occasions – all for the same school. Once was for our little league baseball team, another our middle school, and finally our little league football team. In each fundraiser, we raised about $4,000.

Each team posed a different problem requiring a different solution. For instance, we were raising funds for the baseball team to go to Cooperstown to play the final game of the season while the football team was in need of new equipment. What worked well for us was the popcorn could cover each of our unique teams fundraising needs while practically selling itself. We were able to take our baseball team to Cooperstown and buy all new shoulder pads for the boys football team of 136 players.

What was great about a fundraiser like Popcorn Palace was you didn’t have to beg people to buy it. People will actually ask me when will our teams be selling popcorn again. That was nice, and people wanted it. So you knew it would continue to be profitable in years to come.

The people at Popcorn Palace made working with them an even easier decision in our hunt for a fundraising opportunity. They were very personal even when I had to call about several order issues. They would fix it right away without an issue. If I had to add an extra order, not a problem. If I had an issue in my online ordering, it would be fixed as soon as possible. You want that kind of customer service with a company. I always talked to a real person who helped me every step of the way.

Plus, Popcorn Palace saves you time. Everything comes boxed individually, which is a big bonus for working moms. It takes the guesswork out of everything. When everyone sold fundraising items in the past, we would have had to sort out orders for hundred of kids. Popcorn Palace makes it really simple by doing all of this for you before it gets to the school

Fundraising with Popcorn Palace is a great opportunity. They give 50 percent for your fundraiser proceeds to your organization; it is a no brainer. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t choose to do it! That is amazing. And that it comes fast, they give you everything you need – from envelope to boxes. They even give you samples. Kids love it, parents love it… it’s awesome.”

 

Take advantage of the opportunity to start raising funds for your organization. Start fundraising with Popcorn Palace today.

Popcorn Palace Testimonial – Sharon the Fine Arts supporter

6 Oct

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Sharon wanted to reach out to her local community, but first she needed the funds. After using Popcorn Palace for two years, she has become a repeat and satisfied customer.

 

“My name is Sharon. My position is Director of Community Outreach at Catalyst Circle Rock – a Kindergarten through 8th grade charter school in Chicago, IL.

I needed funds to help support our Fine Arts activities at the school and also to give our scholars incentive parties and treats. I also wanted to use the funds raised to help with parent incentives and parties.

I heard about Popcorn Palace from my daughter who works at one of our campuses. She read about the organization and thought that she might use it because it sounded like a good deal. So I tried it…

What I liked best about Popcorn Palace is the delivery is on time and the order comes back individually packaged with each students name on the box and what is in the box; this makes for very easy distribution. This feature is the reason that I would choose Popcorn Palace again and again. I don’t have to get extra help in sorting the items – you can’t always get enough help because parents are either working or busy with other children.

It was relatively easy for me to sell the popcorn to my parents and students. I also give incentive prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place top sellers and that is a big hit with my families.

I have used Popcorn Palace for two years now and both times I have met my goals of $4,000.00. I would most certainly use Popcorn Palace in the future, as it is an easy way to make money for my school. The pictures on the brochures and forms make you really hungry and you can taste the popcorn before you get it. The scholars, parents, and customers love it!”

 

Interested in funding your next project through the help of a fun and creative fundraiser? Start fundraising today with Popcorn Palace.

More Fun Popcorn Facts

3 Oct

More Fun Popcorn Facts

Popcorn is not just a delicious healthy food that is consumed by millions of Americans every day, popcorn as a food and as a story is deeply woven into the American cultural psyche. Native Americans have been eating roasted corn and popcorn for thousands of years, and within a couple of generations many European-origin Americans also adopted the tradition. That said, popcorn didn’t really become a full-fledged public craze and reach significant levels of commercial production until after the Civil War.

Odd Facts About Popcorn

  1. The 17 billion quarts of popcorn consumed by Americans every year would fill an empty Empire State Building 18 times.
  2. Popcorn is the official snack of Illinois. The state even has an annual “Popcorn Day”.
  3. Popcorn kernels have been known to pop more than three feet high in the air.
  4. There are nearly 1,600 kernels in 1 unpopped cup of popcorn.
  5. Unpopped popcorn should not be stored in the refrigerator. The refrigerator will dry out the moisture in the kernels. Without the moisture, popcorn will not pop. The ideal place to store popcorn is in a cool, dry cupboard.
  6. The Guinness World’s Record largest popcorn ball was more than 12 feet in diameter and weighed over 5,000 pounds. The giant popcorn ball included 2,000 pounds of corn, 40,000 pounds of sugar, 280 gallons of corn syrup and 400 gallons of water.
  7. One ancient method for popping corn involved heating sand in a fire and then stirring kernels of popcorn on top of the hot sand.
  8. Two tablespoons of unpopped kernels produce around quart of popcorn for a cost of around 25 cents.
  9. Nebraska produces more than 250 million pounds of popcorn per year—the most of any U.S. state. That represents over 25% of all the popcorn produced in the U.S. every year.
  10. Unpopped popcorn kernels are often called “spinsters” or “old maids.” Good quality, fresh popcorn should result in 98% popped kernels with less than 2% spinsters
  11. Orville Redenbacher is the best-selling popcorn in the U.S. and the world. Orville R. began growing popping corn in 1919 at the tender age of 12.
  12. One cup of plain popcorn only has 31 calories.
  13. The oldest known popcorn popper is a shallow bowl with a handle and hole on top was designed around A.D. 300. The first commercial popcorn-making machine (steam-driven) showed up 1,500 years later at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
  14. American businessman Charles Cretors created a commercial popcorn machine in 1893. He developed an automated machine that could pop popcorn and apply flavorings/seasonings uniformly.
  15. Perry Spencer, an American electronics researcher, invented microwave popcorn in 1945. When he stopped briefly in front of a device called a magnetron tube in his lab, he noticed that the tube had half-melted a chocolate candy bar he had in his pocket. A few additional experiments showed the microwaves emitted from the magnetron tube were ideal for heating up the water.

Popcorn has quite a history and is still a favorite of kids and adults today. If you’d like to look into popcorn as a fundraising item. Click here.  Every flavor of our premium popcorn is guaranteed fresh and delectable, time after time, bite after bite.  You make 50% profit on each item with no up-front costs.

Popcorn Palace Testimonial – Tonya, the first-time Fundraiser

29 Sep

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Tonya Sikes was a member of an organization in Memphis focused on keeping youth active and focused. Through the organization of the Memphis Wildcats, a pee-wee basketball group for boys and girls ages 8 to 12, her organization was able to achieve these goals.

Some of the kids who participated in the program were under-privileged, unable to afford uniforms or even the group trip to a local amusement park. Tonya decided a fundraiser would be a great opportunity for these kids to get to participate with the group without having to pay anything out of pocket.

Tonya needed something that was hassle-free, easy and efficient to work with, and had a high profit margin for those participating. After some research, Tonya decided Popcorn Palace was a good fit for her organization’s fundraising opportunity.

One feature that Tonya raves about with Popcorn Palace is the customer service. “It was great and very quick in response,” Tonya said. “The staff is friendly and the service is quick.”

She also said that the popcorn was fresh, a big reason why she said she would use Popcorn Palace again.

“It was great. I have ordered popcorn from other people who did fundraisers from other companies and the popcorn was stale,” Tonya said. “We raised a lot of money and we were able to take the team to a fun event,” Tonya said.

 

Are you looking for a fundraising to benefit your sports team? Popcorn Palace has the solution you have been looking for. Start fundraising with Popcorn Palace today.

Popcorn Palace Testimonial – Michelle and the last-minute fundraiser

22 Sep
This picture was taken when Michelle (treasurer), Johana (president) and Jerri (secretary) presented the middle school principal with a check for the funds raised with the Popcorn Palace fundraiser.

This picture was taken when Michelle (treasurer), Johana (president) and Jerri (secretary) presented the middle school principal with a check for the funds raised with the Popcorn Palace fundraiser.

Michelle Cavazos and the PTSO of Potomac Middle School had a goal: to raise funds for the middle school’s annual end-of-the-year activities. Activities included Field Day, a carnival hosted on campus, and the 8th Grade Graduation Ceremony. She needed something that required little effort, worked within her time frame, and would be a big seller.

Michelle chose Popcorn Palace at the last minute. Even though it was on a whim, she said the process was incredibly easy and the staff was great to work with on her time crunch. With little effort on their part and free sorting options, it took the guesswork out of fundraising organizing and made it easy for Michelle and her fellow board members to work with students to make the fundraiser beneficial to them.

In addition, Michelle really loves the popcorn.

“The popcorn was delicious,” Michelle said. “The gourmet popcorn was different from the typical fundraisers. Popcorn Palace had a great variety of flavors as well!”

Lastly, Michelle states that the 50 percent profit made the decision easy, along with some other factors.

“There was no start-up fee… I think everything they offer to benefit fundraising organizations is awesome. It’s stress free – especially since there was no minimum amount in sales required to participate,” Michelle said.

 

Have a success story like Michelle’s become yours today. Start fundraising with Popcorn Palace today. 

A Brief History of Popcorn

11 Sep

Oldest Popcorn

Scientists have found traces of wild corn pollen as far back as 80,000 years ago, but the archeological record indicates corn was first domesticated in the highlands of Mexico some around 7000 BC (9000 years ago).

According to Popcorn.org, “the oldest ears of popcorn ever found were discovered in the Bat Cave of west central New Mexico.” Archeologists have dated some of the charred ears of corn found in the Bat Cave to 4000-5600 BC.

Corn/Popcorn Historically Popular Throughout Americas

Popcorn was one of the earliest foods eaten by indigenous people in the Americas. Proto-historians believe people harvested wild corn for at least a few centuries before the first domestication of the plan. Domesticated corn spread from central Mexico, and after a couple hundred generations corn had become a staple of the Latin American diet and popcorn was known throughout Central and South America.

Popcorn was an important ceremonial food for the Aztecs, and popcorn gifts were given to the priesthood and the gods. The Aztecs and other groups used popcorn as decorations for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of various gods (in particular, Tlaloc, the god of fertility and rain.

On observing an Aztec coming of age ceremony in the mid 16th century, Bernardino de Sahagun writes: “And also a number of young women danced, having so vowed, a popcorn dance. As thick as tassels of maize were their popcorn garlands. And these they placed upon (the girls’) heads.”

Another early account of a ceremony in honor of the Aztec gods who watched over fishermen reads: “They scattered before him parched corn, called momochitl, a kind of corn which bursts when parched and discloses its contents and makes itself look like a very white flower; they said these were hailstones given to the god of water.”

In describing the Incans of the Peruvian highlands in 1650, Spanish explorer Cobo reported: “They toast a certain kind of corn until it bursts. They call it pisancalla, and they use it as a confection.”

Popcorn in the U.S.

Corn first became a popular agricultural crop in the U.S. in the mid-19th century didn’t really become popular with the American public until the 1890s.

Popcorn remained a popular from the gay ’90s until after the Second World War. Vendors used to follow crowds around in big cities, pushing steam or gas-powered popcorn poppers through fairs, parks and expositions. A few enterprising businessmen introduced the idea of popcorn gift baskets and other popcorn gifts during this period.

Popcorn at 5 or 10 cents a bag during the Great Depression, and was one of the few luxuries low income families could scrape together the money for. In an interesting historical note, despite other businesses failing right and left during the early 1930s, the popcorn business thrived.

There was a sugar shortage in the U.S. during the Second World War, which meant candy production slowed to a dribble. Because of this, Americans ate three times as much popcorn as usual from 1943 to 1945.

Popcorn became less popular during the early 1950s, when television became popular. Attendance at movie theaters dropped and, with it, popcorn consumption. However, Americans began eating popcorn at home again a decade or two later with the introduction of microwave popcorn. Today, the average American consumes about 51 quarts of popcorn.

Popcorn has developed so much since then that it is now considered a gourmet food product. While we added flavors including cheese and caramel to the traditional butter and salt choices a while ago, flavor choices go far beyond these three to include savory options, spicy options, and complex sweet toppings. Popcorn has gotten fancy and stayed popular through the years.

Learn more about our popcorn and fundraising efforts at our Popcorn Fundraising page.