Popcorn Fundraiser for Schools & Non-Profits: 7 Profit Tips

How to set up a popcorn fundraiser

Considering setting up a popcorn fundraiser? This detailed guide on popcorn fundraisers has got you covered!

When it comes to raising funds for schools and non-profits, there are countless paths to explore, but few are as tantalizingly tempting – or as deliciously successful – as a popcorn fundraiser.

Why? Because popcorn is not just a snack; it’s a universally loved, nostalgia-invoking delight that spans all ages and demographics. Plus, with the wide variety of flavors and options now available, popcorn has become an incredibly versatile fundraising product.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the top popcorn fundraising companies, detail their offers, and provide pricing specifics. We’ll also tell you exactly how to set up a popcorn fundraiser and ways to promote one. This article is loaded with useful information and practical tips!

Whether you’re a small school trying to fundraise, a church group, a sports team, or any other non-profit organization, prepare to pop into profit with a popcorn fundraiser!

Popcorn Fundraiser – A complete guide to success

Is selling popcorn a good fundraiser?

Popcorn fundraisers can be wildly successful, and the reasons are as varied as popcorn flavors themselves.

  • Firstly, popcorn is universally adored. It’s a cross-generational delight that serves as a perfect snack for kids after school, a healthy nibble for adults during a movie, or a treat to be shared at social events. This wide appeal translates into broad sales potential.
  • Secondly, the variety of flavors available makes popcorn a flexible fundraising product. From classic butter and cheese to exotic flavors like sriracha and caramel macchiato, there’s something for everyone’s taste buds. This variety entices more people to purchase, boosting your total sales.
  • Another key advantage is affordability. Popcorn is relatively inexpensive, making it an easy sell compared to pricier fundraising items. It’s a low-risk, high-reward option that invites impulse buys.
  • Lastly, popcorn fundraisers are simple to manage. Many companies offer online platforms or direct shipping, reducing the need for volunteers to handle inventory or distribution.

The above reasons also make popcorn fundraisers particularly appealing for schools, sports teams, and other organizational events attracting a fun-loving crowd. For older, classier, or corporate crowds, popcorn may come across as a massy product or one that’s less valuable in comparison to subscriptions, home goods, handicrafts, etc.

Another potential issue is dietary restrictions. While many popcorn varieties are vegan and gluten-free, other gourmet flavors may contain allergens like dairy or nuts, limiting some customers’ options.

How much do you make on a popcorn fundraiser?

The profitability of a popcorn fundraiser depends on the number of units sold and the profit earned on each unit. Typically, popcorn companies offer a profit of around 50% depending on the number of units ordered. This profit margin is further reduced by event organization, transportation, and promotional costs incurred. Thus, realistically, it is possible to run a popcorn fundraiser for a 40% profit.

For example, if you partner with a company that sells cases of popcorn at $160, and each case contains 40 units, you would spend $4 per unit. If you then sell each unit for $10, you make a $4 profit on each unit sold, resulting in a 50% profit margin.

The number of units sold is another critical factor in your overall profitability. A motivated and engaged team can make a significant difference in the success of a fundraiser. If your school or non-profit is able to sell 500 units, for example, that would equal $2,000 in profit with the previous example.

There’s also the potential for a significant boost in revenue if you are using an online platform. Virtual fundraising allows you to reach out to a larger, more diverse group of potential supporters, possibly resulting in more sales.

Related: A complete guide to calendar fundraising | Fun ways to fundraise at school fetes | Fun fundraising ideas for kindergartens

How do popcorn fundraisers work? Important Tips to Maximise Profits

Popcorn fundraiser, like any other product-based fundraiser, involved ordering popcorn from a company and selling them for a profit. To maximize profits, you’ll need to heavily promote the popcorn fundraiser.

Here are a few useful tips to maximise profits and ensure that your fundraiser takes place smoothly.

Tip #1: Don’t choose the company hastily (Use the research checklist)

The first step in a popcorn fundraiser is to choose the company you’ll be working with. But choosing a company requires proper understanding of the various popcorn fundraiser companies, their offerings, terms, and conditions, support, etc.

Here’s a quick checklist of steps to take when finalising a fundraiser company.

  • Understand the Terms: Clearly understand the fundraiser terms, including popcorn cost, selling price, profit margin, return policy, and delivery process.
  • Check for Hidden Costs: Beware of hidden expenses like shipping fees or start-up costs that could reduce your profits.
  • Assess the Product Quality: Order a sample pack if possible to ensure the popcorn’s quality meets your standards.
  • Consider the Variety: Look for companies offering a wide range of flavors and types of popcorn to appeal to a broader customer base.
  • Look for Support and Resources: Choose a company that provides resources such as promotional materials, selling tips, and online storefronts to support your fundraising efforts.
  • Understand the Delivery Process: Clarify if popcorn is delivered in bulk or per order and whether the company handles distribution or if it’s your responsibility.
  • Choose a Company that Aligns with Your Goals: Consider factors such as profit margins, quality, and variety to find a company that matches your fundraising objectives.
  • Get in Touch: Contact the company directly to address any questions or concerns before committing.

Some of our favorite companies for popcorn fundraisers are


  • Popcornopolis offers popcorn for a 50% profit margin.
  • Their popcorn is 100% USA-made and completely gluten-free
  • The signup process is very simple and straightforward, unlike many other popcorn fundraising companies.
  • They have attractive brochures to facilitate sales. Brochures are delivered within 5-7 days of signing up. Collect enough for all your sellers.
  • Start promoting, take orders, and place one single order to Popcornopolis.
  • Pay only half the money and keep the other half as profits.
  • Double Good Popcorn

Quick tip: Popcornopolis fundraiser is very popular and gets sold out very quickly. Keep track of its fundraising seasons and apply well in time to avoid disappointments.

Just Poppin

Known for their unique flavors and combinations, they offer a gourmet popcorn fundraising program.

They provide custom pricing, which depends on the type and amount of popcorn you order but profitability could be up to 50% if ordered in bulk.

  • Before you fundraise based on their order form given online, it is advisable to get in touch with them regarding the pricing, delivery times, delivery costs, promotional material etc.
  • Once you have the relevant information, you can start collecting orders. You won’t get as much support from Just Poppin as you would from Popcornopolis. The process of signing up and setting up the promotion would also require more effort.

But the turnaround time of the company is excellent and the availability is also a lot better than Popcornopolis

Van Wyk Confections

Van Wyck Confections offers a variety of products for fundraising including popcorn.

  • Their popcorn is gluten-free and free of added preservatives, artificial colors and flavor.
  • It sells for USD 12 and comes in a wide variety of flavors like Sea Salt, Movie Theater Butter, Kettle Corn, etc.
  • Their shipment time depends on the quantity ordered.
  • They have various brochures to facilitate promotion on social media platforms.
  • The sign-up process is simple and a fundraising expert reaches out for support and strategy building.

Double Good Popcorn

This amazing fundraiser offers a unique digital fundraising model, selling their gourmet popcorn through an online storefront.

The biggest benefit of this model is that you don’t need to handle popcorn at all.

  • you set up a storefront
  • promote it
  • let the company collect payments from supporters (the payments are released to you within 4-5 days)
  • have the popcorn shipped directly to the supporters anywhere in the USA.

The profit margin on this virtual storefront popcorn fundraiser is up to 50% just like the other popcorn fundraiser companies listed here.

Tip No. 2: Plan the Fundraiser Well in Advance and Mark Key Milestones

Popcorn fundraisers can quickly go off track if you delay your order placing or sign up process.

Set key milestones to track progress and ensure that everything is on schedule. This might involve setting a date by when you’ll have

  • ordered the popcorn,
  • initiated the selling phase,
  • received all orders
  • and a final date by which all popcorn should be distributed.

Tip No. 3: Opt for a Virtual Fundraiser Instead of a Physical Pop-Up Stall

While traditional fundraising methods have their place, popcorn fundraisers are most profitable if conducted virtually. i.e. in a brochure or catalog format.

This way you don’t need to pay upfront and risk making a loss.

Virtual popcorn fundraisers also let you

  • tap into a wider network of supporters
  • eliminate the necessity of handling popcorn yourself
  • collect money in a hassle-free manner (and your supporters also get to pay digitally from the comfort of their homes)
  • reduce cost of print promotions, stall or booth set ups
  • run the fundraiser for a longer period of time

Tip No. 4: Create Buzz around the Fundraiser using Unique Ideas.

Let’s get real – popcorn fundraisers are too common for people to be get excited about it. Even if you promote it extensively across all platforms – like social media, emails, networking forums, community

Start with attractive promotional material

An attractive, well-organized brochure or online shop can significantly boost your sales.

Use clear, vibrant images of the popcorn, provide detailed descriptions of each flavor, and make sure to highlight the cause you’re raising funds for.

Use engaging, persuasive language that encourages people to support your fundraiser. Remember, people aren’t just buying popcorn; they’re supporting a cause they care about.

Plan Themed Popcorn Days

To make the fundraiser more exciting, you could organize themed popcorn days throughout the duration of your fundraiser. For instance, have a ‘Spicy Saturday’ where you promote your spiciest popcorn flavor, or ‘Caramel Crunch Friday.’ This can create excitement around your fundraiser and give a boost to sales.

Host a Popcorn Tasting Party

Host a virtual or in-person popcorn tasting party to kick off your fundraiser. This can be a fun, social event that lets people try out different flavors of popcorn before they decide what to buy. Pair it with some entertainment or games to create a memorable experience.

Leverage on collaboration with local businesses

Collaborate with local businesses to extend your reach. Perhaps a local café could feature your popcorn as a snack for a week, or a local bookstore might be willing to place a popcorn order form by their register. This can tap into their customer base and gain your cause more visibility.

Offer unique delivery models that are creative and exciting

Make your popcorn delivery more than just handing over a product.

Could you turn it into a parade, or deliver popcorn in costume, or create a ‘popcorn pickup party’? Making your delivery unique and fun can leave a lasting impression on your supporters and build excitement for future fundraisers.

Start a Popcorn Recipe Competition

Encourage your supporters to get creative with the popcorn they’ve bought. They could create popcorn recipes or use the popcorn in creative ways and submit photos or videos. The best entries could win a prize or recognition. This engages your supporters on a deeper level and can create fun, shareable content.

By implementing these unique tips, you’ll be able to infuse a bit of excitement around your popcorn fundraiser and make it a bigger success than commonly conducted popcorn fundraisers.

Tip No. 5: Take promotions seriously

Promoting your fundraiser should be taken as seriously as planning and executing the event itself.

Your promotion strategy directly impacts the reach and success of your fundraiser. Start by crafting a compelling story about your cause – people respond to stories and the ‘why’ behind your fundraiser.

Enhance social media promotional efforts by

  • making attractive videos to be repurposed for reels, TikTok, etc.
  • putting in place a system to collect testimonials and update those regularly
  • starting a competition between volunteers and rewarding those getting the most sales – this helps each volunteer truly tap into their personal networks and communities and helps increase the outreach to a great extent.

Tip No. 6: Let an Experienced Person or Volunteer Handle the Funds (Especially at School Fundraisers)

Fund management is a critical part of your fundraiser, and it’s vital to assign this task to a responsible and trustworthy individual.

This person should be comfortable handling money, recording transactions, and managing online payments, if applicable. Their role will be to keep accurate records of sales and cash received, and ensure all money is kept secure and deposited appropriately.

Tip No. 7: Plan a Robust Distribution System to Avoid Angry Supporters

The distribution phase of your fundraiser is as important as the selling phase.

Whether you’re handing out popcorn at a school or shipping it to supporters’ homes, it’s crucial to have a clear, organized system in place.

This could involve setting up designated pickup times, coordinating volunteers to help distribute the popcorn, or ensuring the company you’ve partnered with has a reliable shipping process. Remember, a happy supporter is more likely to support your fundraisers in the future.

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