The initial question is a key in every pack success. The key to addressing this issue is boils down to leadership. The problem with having a scout account with proceeds from popcorn sales is that it happens at the beginning of the scout year and new recruits don’t have equal amount of time to contribute therefor making the equal benefit disproportional. That I believe would violate the IRS guidance.
The real question I think is how do you motivate scouts and parents to participate in the popcorn fundraiser enough to fund the pack activities and other expenses. I think every pack has to define that in their own way. What we have found success is really defining the purpose of the fundraiser and outside the box motivation. When we were not successful in our popcorn fundraiser we defined the purpose as “it pays for the pack activity and a scout earns his own way”. We found that did not work. We had to redefine the purpose to not only include the aforementioned purposes but how and what lessons does each scout learns by selling popcorn. For example a scout learns how to sell himself and a cause. Which will be beneficial when he goes for a job interview later in life. The more he does it the better he will become. This example and many other you can tie right in to the scout law.
Motivation the scout. Unfortunately there is not a one size fits all. How we do it is we have each scout vote on a “Big Overnight Trip”. We factor that into the pack budget and then we find out the AVERAGE sales per scout has to be. Knowing that some scouts and new recruits will not reach the average but others will exceed it, I found the average approach is better. During popcorn kickoff and at recruiting nights I articulate the goal and the results of the goal. Then when a scout passes the average goal he earns a whipped cream pie that he will be able to feed to his leader of choice. Believe it or not we found the pie is a huge motivation and a fun thing to do.
Motivating the parents: This one I always found challenging. When I see a scout is not selling popcorn I will call or e-mail the parents. The most often reason is the parent doesn’t want to “peddle” popcorn. I explain to them how it is applying the scout law (see example from above). If that does not work another approach I do is ask will holding a door and saying thank-you be against your values? (We have a popcorn and pancake breakfast fundraiser during the popcorn season to help the scouts out a bit.) Usually by the direct contacting the parent helps but on occasion it doesn’t. When it doesn’t work the scout ends up quitting scouting. Personally I wish to see all kids in scouting but if they don’t want to learn and apply the scouting law and oath is there point of him in scouting?