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Can a unit acccept / solicit donations for goods or services to fund a specific event?

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  • Can a unit acccept / solicit donations for goods or services to fund a specific event?

    OK sages of the virtual campfire...

    Waiting to hear back from my DE on this one, but thought I pose it to the group...

    Can a unit accept / solicit donations for good or services as a one time gift for a specific unit event?

    Example: B&G banquet this year... if I (as a leader) am approached by a resturantuer who after speaking to a parent of one of the scouts WANTS to volunteer to cater the B&G for us this year at extremely reduced or free cost, are we allowed to accept it?

    Example #2: Is my organizing committee member for the B&G allowed by BSA policy to ASK for donations of goods / services to be used as door prizes or silent auction items for the B&G?

    What says the masses?

    Thanks in advance -


  • #2
    I don't have my leader book handy right now, but if I remember correctly you can accept unsolicited donations.

    I am pretty positive you can not ask for/solicit donations though.


    • #3
      As scoutlass says.

      Reminds me, about a month ago I saw a can on the counter for donations for an "Eagle project".. All it said was please help this scout become an "Eagle" Like we charged him a fee for the rank because there was nothing about the project or what he needed the donation for. It didn't have the scouts name on it but it did have a troop number on it.

      I told my husband the advancement chair of the district. He was going to bring it to the attention of the guy who heads his Eagle board. I wonder if he did. This is a big "no,no".. Besides being wrong, the whole message on it was just down-right tacky..

      Anyway some units do do it, not the tacky can bit, but the soliciting.. Such as asking for food donations for a supper or an Eagle canidate may ask for supplies for free or at a discount. These are frowned upon, and still considered not right. A bigger "no,no" is a raffle or asking for money when you are not selling an item..

      I was told the reason is that the council wants to go for the LARGE donations, and when units nickle and dime their prospectives, it hurts their chances of the larger donations. So we are not suppose to solicit so that they can.


      • #4
        poo poo the rules all you want. We have a Neighboring Pack that solicits food donations for their blue and gold, very successfully. They get a number of prime ribs and turkeys from the local butcher, a national grocery chain donates the sides or at least the ingredients for the sides. They get a local party house to donate the hall.

        National can make all the rules they want, enforcement is impossible. What are the penalties gonna be????

        I am growing in the opinion of putting on the best program you can for the boys. I will not violate the safety rules, but fund raising and such.......It is on.


        • #5
          Yeah thats what I found, like I said it is frowned upon to solicite items. It is usually done by most units from my belief, including ours. It is so much so done, they really can't keep that enforced.

          But, at least with our council if they get word of you holding a raffle, or soliciting for money yeah they will come after you both guns ablazing. Can not gamble, or ask out right for money. That one they do try to enforce, and do pretty good at it too, though not 100% I am sure.


          • #6
            In answer to #1, of course yeh can accept a donation that someone offers. Who wouldn't?

            In answer to #2, it's frowned upon and technically contrary to da charter agreement. The primary reason is its potential for interferin' with FOS solicitation. If you go to a local business and get a $50 donation to a silent auction, what you may have just done is cost the council a $1000 donation from that business. They can easily say "we already gave to Scouting, and we like to spread our donation dollars around." So yeh really just shot your DE and local scouting programs in the foot, because you nickeled and dimed a potentially more substantial donor.

            If yeh avoid doin' something like that, or are just taking advantage of an existing program (like lots of supermarkets have some sort of low-level donation program that is available to scout units), then your council isn't really goin' to mind.

            Most councils will also be supportive of Eagle Projects asking for donations, or even instruct lads to shops and lumber yards that are known to be helpful. Remember, a donation to an Eagle Project is really a donation to the project beneficiary and not to Scouting, and therefore is not covered by the Rules & Regs.



            • #7
              So, how about this: A lady from the local Salvation Army Boys and Girls club called me and asked me if I would call out the troop to ring bells in front of a department store one day during Christmas season. She said that lots of troops do it, and she has only two days still open. Of course, ringing the bell for them is a solicitation to put money into their Christmas Kettle, a big Salvation Army fundraiser.

              I asked my District Director, and he has to get back to me. I bet he will not want us to do it in uniform. So what do you think?


              • #8
                Well again you are not soliciting for Boy Scouts, but for the Salvation Army, similar to why Beavah states soliciting for Eagle Projects is ok, because it is for the group you are doing the project for.

                So I do not know about the uniform. I would think that would be ok, because it is for a good cause. But, the solicitation for money in that instance would be fine.


                • #9
                  Scouts soliciting money for other organizations is specifically prohibited. In fact, the example used to back this up is Scouts participating in the SA bell ringing program.

                  Get a copy of the unit money-earning application


                  The answer to a lot of this is on the second page.


                  • #10
                    The unit fundraiser application referenced is a good start, but it only speaks to solicitation of monetary donations.

                    I agree if someone wants to cater for us either at cost or free - then great.

                    What I'm still unsure of is if we can go to the local Sports Chalet Manager and ask if he wants to donate a sleeping bag or camping stove to a silent auction we plan on having as part of the B&G this year. Again, its not a direct donation of $ and its not a raffle and thus "gambling". However, through the silent auction, any goods / services would be converted into funds for the unit's use.

                    Still waiting for the callback from my DE...


                    • #11
                      Most companies that will give a product to be used for an auction, or raffle, require a written request on letterhead of the organization, and/or, the organization's Federal Tax ID number. These things are used by the company to get deductions when filing their taxes.

                      Unless your BSA unit is it's own charitable organization (501-c-3), donations to it are NOT tax deductible, and might cause the company tax problems if they use them as such.

                      If your CO is a 501(c)(3), you can use letterhead that puts your CO's name predominately on top (St Pine Tree Church's Cub Scout Pack), along with their address and Federal Tax ID #, and you should have no problem.


                      • #12
                        So I do not know about the uniform. I would think that would be ok, because it is for a good cause.

                        Nah, remember that da BSA doesn't want to be in the position of endorsing another group, eh? If yeh go off in uniform to ring bells for the Salvation Army, it gives the appearance that the BSA is endorsing the Salvation Army. Maybe. Or it could be just the shirt that yeh grabbed out of the closet that day. Gets a bit trickier, too, if da Salvation Army is the Chartered Organization. Up here we don't run into that much, because it's way too cold just to be in a uniform shirt. But yeh don't want to give the impression that da BSA is endorsing the group, and the BSA does have an interest in that.

                        The BSA's interest is limited to protection of its reputation and trademark.


                        • #13
                          Yeah, when I said "I wasn't sure" I was thinking about the fact they don't want you in uniform for a political rally, or using it for a costume. So that makes sense.

                          But then if you are out of uniform, and therefore not making a statement that you are in the Boy Scouts, I don't know why the BSA would still be against your unit doing something for the Salvation Army. At that point you look like the average joe on the street ringing bells.


                          • #14
                            Only marginally on topic, I am reminded of a fond memory: The days when we went door-to-door soliciting for Scouting for Food. There was one really mean lady who yelled at the boys and chased them with a broom. The boys would actually compete to see who got to do that street. I discovered this quite by accident: the two boys I was driving around returned to the car absolutely gleeful, laughing. They told me a lady had chased them with a broom and yelled profanity when they tried to leave one of the empty bags on her door knob. They thought it was the most exciting, fun thing that had happened to them in weeks. Here's the good part:
                            So when all the parents were collecting their boys, the boys were talking about this and before I could think, I asked one of them what it was she said to them. Wow, he repeated it verbatim, loudly, and it WAS profanity. Holy smokes, that lady had taught him some new stuff! All the parents were slightly shocked that 1) the lady had done this and 2) the scout had repeated it with such perfection.
                            (Now if he could just remember how to tie a bowline.)

                            Anyway, for years this was a legend. We didn't actually SEE the lady again. But just the possibility of it was enough to keep them interested in that street. And then we stopped going door-to-door. Oh well, fun never lasts it seems.


                            • #15
                              "National can make all the rules they want, enforcement is impossible. What are the penalties gonna be????"

                              At the extreme: Informing the Chartered Partner the relationship with Scouting won't be renewed? Informing the unit there won't be a new charter for it?

                              Someone else hit it: If your $50 solicitation means the $1000 solicitation the Community FOS campaign planned falls on its face, it's not at all improbable the Key 3 will be having a business meeting (not a friendly cup of coffee) with the IH, COR, and CC.

                              It's happened in my neck of the woods. The SE/DFS/DD decision was "With friends like that, we don't need enemies." Fortunately, the Chartered Partner and the units got the point!

                              The key point of this: Play nice, especially when talking about money.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)