Each year, troops and crews from around the country participate in the age-old Scouting tradition of running Christmas tree lots. Not only do these Scouts and Venturers get to work on their business skills—they also get to experience the excitement of holiday fundraising.
Whether you’ve been spreading holiday cheer in the form of Christmas trees for years, or this is your first encounter with local fundraising, we’ve got the expert insights to help make this your best fundraising event, yet!
Bryan on Scouting recently shared some seriously useful tips from the pros on running one of these Christmas tree lots, and we’re breaking them down here. Keep reading for the top tips of the trade, straight from fellow Scouters.
1. Create a shift calendar.
We all know time is a precious commodity during the holidays, so creating an online schedule can help to evenly distribute the time commitments for everyone. This will also help you steer clear of scheduling mishaps and other confusion.
Bryan’s recommendation: “Schedule two- or three-hour shifts — or longer shifts with breaks — so everyone gets a turn and nobody feels too big of a burden.”
2. Accept credit cards.
It should come as no surprise that a number of people don’t carry cash. However, this shouldn’t be a deterrent to your fundraising efforts! Be ready to accept other forms of currency with an electronic card reader such as Square or PayPal.
Scouter’s recommendation: Scouter Earl B. suggests considering an electronic reader that accepts chip cards or contactless transactions such as Apple Pay.
3. Prevent tree theft.
An unfortunate factor of this festive holiday commodity is tree theft. Fortunately, Bryan knows some great ways to avoid tree lot thefts, so be sure to check them out on his blog.
Bryan’s recommendation: “Stop these real-life Grinches by locking your trees, securing the lot with fencing, installing motion detectors, hiring security or setting up surveillance cameras.”
4. Make it youth-run.
Nothing teaches commerce skills quite like hands-on experience, and tree lot fundraising is a prime opportunity for Scouts to take the wheel and drive their own Scouting sales force.
Scouter’s recommendation: Scouter Dave M. suggests deeming your Scouts as lot “co-owners,” and allowing them to help with tasks such as marketing, promotions, and sales tracking. This is a chance to nurture both creativity and business know-how!
“We have found that getting the Scouts, and families, involved in the business side of the sales, be it trees, popcorn, or whatever really helps sales involvement and makes it much more fun,” the Scouter explains.
Does your unit host a Christmas tree lot, or do you participate in other unique holiday fundraising? Share your own tips with us in the comments below!