Planning your program helps implement the elements of a complete annual Scouting program for youth, committing as a unit to incorporate these elements, and providing adequate funding for them. Even more, it is committing to a proven fund-raising program that has consistently demonstrated its ability to raise enough dollars to fund an ideal year of Scouting.
If you like to raise money every month, plan your program as you go, limit your activities based on the unit’s income, or not involve the youth members in the planning process, then this format may not be for you. Those leaders who want a meaningful, exciting, and comprehensive youth program that achieves the objectives of Scouting will find this format the ideal way to go.
1. Plan your complete annual program.
2. Develop a budget that includes enough income to achieve the program.
3. Identify the dollar amount that will need to be raised per youth member to reach the income goal.
4. Get commitments from parents and youth.
The total is a well-managed, well-financed unit. Recognizing this, the Council recommends a basic unit budget plan, including 8 parts divided into three categories: basic expenses, other expenses, and sources of income.
Unit Charter Fee. Registration fees are paid to the National Council. These fees are only transmitted through your council and do not support the council at all! Instead, they pay for program research and development to improve Scouting programs.
Units are required to pay an annual charter fee of $20. Here are the recommended basic expense items per boy member:
Annual National Registration: $15
Boys' Life (12-issue publication, delivered to the home, containing program information): $12
Reserve fund: $2
Other basic expenses (badges, literature, goodwill, etc.): $5.50
Total basic expenses: $34.50
Registration. When a youth joins, normally the unit asks them to pay the full $15 national registration fee, regardless of the number of months remaining in the unit’s charter year, and the youth's prorated fee. The unit sends to the council the prorated amount for those remaining months. Note that fees are figured on a monthly basis: one month, $1.25; two months, $2.50; three months, $3.75; four months, $5.00; five months, $6.25; six months, $7.50; seven months, $8.75; eight months, $10; nine months, $11.25; 10 months, $12.50; 11 months, $13.75; 12 months, $15. The balance of the youth’s fee is kept in the unit treasury to supplement his dues in paying the next full year’s fee. This procedure ensures prompt registration at charter renewal.
Boys’ Life. Boys’ Life
magazine, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, is available to all members at $12.00, which is half the newsstand rate. (Prorated fees are available for youth who join a unit during the year.) Every youth should subscribe to Boys’ Life
because of the quality reading and the articles related to your unit’s monthly program. It is part of a youth’s growth in Scouting, and research proves Scouts will stay in longer and advance farther if he reads Boys’ Life
. If reserve funds allow, the new member should
be signed up for Boys' Life
on a pro-rated basis.
When reserve funds do not pay for the first year, then the member
may be asked for the amount. While Boys' Life is not a required part of
the national membership fee, your unit will want to ensure --through
your annual budget -- that every member gets Boys' Life as an important
part of his Scouting experience.
Unit Accident and Liability Insurance. Protecting the leadership and parents from financial hardship due to high medical bills from an unfortunate accident is a must for all involved in Scouting. Specific details on these programs are available at the council service center. (The Council covers the cost of this insurance for all adults and Scouts.)
Reserve Fund. The reserve fund might be established by a gift or loan from the chartered organization, members of the committee, or by a unit money-earning project. The reserve fund should meet unexpected expenses. A new member’s initial expenses may be met from the fund.
A small portion of each boy's basic expenses are budgeted to
maintain this important fund. If the reserve fund falls below this
amount, it should be restored through a money earning project or other
- Program Materials: Each unit must provide some
program materials. Depending on the type of unit program, these could include craft tools and supplies, camping equipment, videos and books, or ceremonial props. For example, it should have a United States flag,
unit flags and equipment and supplies for its regular program. (Note: Units may not hold title to property; only chartered organizations or the local council legally own property.)
- Activities: Critical to a successful ideal year of Scouting is a complete program. Traditionally, such activities as Cub Scout pinewood derbies®, Boy Scout hikes, camping, or high-adventure trips are financed by the boy and his family over and above the dues programs. It is suggested that the complete cost of these outings be built into the unit’s budget.
- Advancement and Recognition: Every youth member should advance a rank each year. (Boy Scouts can do even more.) The Cub Scout advancement program has a number of options that include achievements, belt loops, pins, and letters.
- Full Uniforms: Traditionally the individual pays for these expenses. We suggest that they become part of the total cost of the Scouting year. Using “individual youth accounts,” units can determine a fund-raising goal for new Scouts who need uniforms, etc. The full Scouting program includes the full uniform!
- Training Expenses: Trained leaders are the key to delivering a quality and safe program. Both adult and youth leader training should be considered as an integral annual expense.
- Summer Experience: Central to a complete Scouting year is a day camp experience. Local and national opportunities abound for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers to have an exciting, program-rich summer experience.
- Contingency funds: Because service to others
is fundamental in Scouting, the budget should include a goodwill
project, a good turn, or a gift to the World Friendship Fund. As a special note, refreshments at meetings can be homemade or met
by a cover charge or "kitty" at the event. Regular unit funds should not
be used for this purpose.
SOURCES OF INCOME
Dues. Most people agree that the habit of
regularly meeting financial obligations is desirable. The finance plan
of any unit should include participation by the member in a regular dues
plan. It is important to understand that this is part of the growth of
the member. An annual unit fee -- too often completely contributed by
parents -- does little to teach a member responsibility. However, if the
member has to set aside a little each week for a desired item such as
dues, he learns how to budget his own income.
Paying dues regularly is not easy, but it does help develop
character in an individual member. It teaches responsibility and a
wholesome attitude toward earning their way.
Regardless of your dues collection plan, individual dues should
cover the basic expenses as shown in the recommended budget. You may
also want dues to cover a part of the program and activity budget.
Money-Earning Projects. “One fund-raiser per year” is a central theme of the ideal year of Scouting. Rather than “nickel and dime” families every week, we suggest that the total cost for the complete year be figured upfront. Ideally, all income would come from one fund-raising program at the beginning of the program year each fall. A Policies and procedures are found in the
financial record books for packs, troops, crews and posts.
What is “private benefit”? When a non-profit organization raises funds, either through contributions, or the sale of a product or service, the assump¬tion is that the proceeds go to further the public good. For the fund-raising activities of the local council, there is no ques¬tion that this is true. The issue comes into play when incentive programs happen at the unit level for individual youth. If a unit establishes an "account" for a member based solely on the quantity of items sold, that reward may be seen as a private benefit to the individ¬ual. If this benefit is of sufficient size, it may require reporting of this benefit as income to the individual, as well as to call into question the non-profit status of the council and the Boy Scouts of America. These funds are clearly not for the public good, but directly bene¬fit an individual.
Therefore, we recommend the following:
1. Make sure that any sale of materials, instructions, and support information do not make reference to individual Scouts earning money for their own participation in Scouting activities.
2. When remitting proceeds, from any sales back to units, provide guidance on the distribution of funds.
3. Encourage units to develop fund distribution plans that include criteria other than the sale of items. These might include:
• Scout spirit
A portion of the unit proceeds from any sale or activity should be set aside for general unit expenses, and could include funds used for assistance to members with financial needs.
Except for the council-sponsored popcorn sale, all other fundraising projects require the submission of the Unit Money-Earning Application
, No. 34427A, to the council service center. To ensure conformity with all Scouting standards on earning money, leaders should be familiar with the Guides for Money Earning Projects
and in the financial record books.
Annual Popcorn Sale. The annual popcorn sale is an opportunity for units to raise a sizable
amount of money to provide a secure and stable source of income.
Financially sound units can spend more time and resources on providing a
fun and challenging year-round program. The popcorn sale also benefits
the Council by helping us to serve volunteer leaders and members by
investing in programs and camping facilities. This is the only Council sponsored product sale and does not require a unit money-earning application to be submitted.
Record Keeping And Reporting. Additional information concerning unit budget plans, the treasurer’s job, camp savings, forms, and records can be found in these publications: Pack Record Book, No. 33819; Cub Scout Leader Book, No. 33221; Troop/Team Record Book, No. 34508; Varsity Scout Leader Guidebook, No. 34827; and Venturing Leader Manual, No. 34655. It is recommended that units use one of the commercial software programs developed for Scouting units, such as Packmaster or Troopmaster. These tools are great for keeping track of individual youth accounts. They are usually advertised in the back of Scouting magazine. The unit financial
record books mentioned above are the best way of keeping track of your
unit's budget and finances. A finance report should be a regular part of
your unit's adult committee meetings.
Budget Worksheets. To develop the unit budget, complete a budget worksheet with the unit leader and committee; then share it with the Scouts' parents. In the case of Boy Scout Troops and Venturing Crews, the youth leadership should also review and put it into final form prior to study and adoption by the unit committee.
Be sure to keep parents involved and informed. Program calendar and budget information needs to be communicated regularly to families, and especially at the start of a program year.