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  • Fundraising and financial hardships

    Our pack has never had a fundraising requirement or dues. Obviously this has created problems over time.

    This year we are requiring either fundraising or a fee, so you can fundraise to cover your fee, or pay the fee, or some combination.

    The question is coming up from the committee in advance of implementing this, "what about hardships?" In other words, in the past without a requirement, it didn't matter if a family didn't fundraise, some other kid who worked his butt off ended up covering them.

    My answer is that if you can't afford the fee, fundraise. The counterargument of course is that fundraising is hard, gee we don't want to lose a poor scout if they can't fundraise or pay the money.

    So that's the backdrop. I am not asking for an opinion on how to deal with that argument. I am looking for input on how packs with a REQUIREMENT for either a fee or fundraising deal with families who don't fulfill the requirement and ask for a waiver.

  • #2
    A little clarification: are we talking about the annual membership fee or are we talking about activity fees, uniforms, or what?

    In our pack we charge a $15 registration fee to cover Boys Life, recharter, advancement and pack expenses for PWD and some of the smaller events. Any other activities we share the cost in advance and the Scouts register and pay for those events either through monies rased through fundraisng or Mom & Dad write a check. The rergistration fee may be waived in some cases if we have a true financial hardship but most people (in our area) can come up with the $15.

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    • #3
      Our Pack was completely broke and I purchased the belt loops out of my own pocket the last two den meetings.

      I will tell you that if the scout and parents do not have some sort of buy into the program they are not interested enough to attend. Pure scholarship boys never make it a year. Been there done that.

      Our Pack and Troop requirement for assistance is you must make an effort and that assistance will never exceed 50% of fee or cost.

      the year we instituted our Pack Program fee, I arranged 15 days worth of store front sales. We had a couple of scouts who didn't do it and mom and dad wrote a check for the fee. Who cares it is their choice. But they paid their portion of the cost to operate the Pack.

      Get over the guilt of requiring the fee, how fair is it for a couple of boys to sell their hearts out and pay for the entire Pack program for the entire year.

      Our Pack finances are as follows. 100% of the fundraising goes into an Individual Scout account for each scout.....from that account the scout can pay his recharter fee, program fee and any other scout related activity, including the Pack Program fee.

      The Pack created a budget and figured out the cost to put on our program from the financial records for the last three years. The Pack committee needs to figure out what will be included in the program fee. We include a pack t shirt, pinewood derby car and trophies, recharter fee, den dues, Blue and gold banquet and advancement, amazingly our boys each recieve $30 worth of belt loops and patches every year. Our program fee is $107 with recharter.

      So what do you need to do?

      Create scout accounts and associated policy
      Figure out what the pack will provide
      figure out what it will cost.
      Create the hand outs and have a Parents meeting regarding the changes.
      Stick to your guns and be prepared to issue bills asking for payment for those who do not.

      Comment


      • #4
        For our Pack (the hated)Popcorn was a great fundraiser and financed almost all fees. We asked that all kids try to sell at least a couple boxes. 1'd say 10% of the kids sold 80% of the popcorn. I was one of the families that was financially strapped at times so I volunteered alot. In general we asked everyone to DO SOMETHING at least once during the year. In general once we hit a critical mass there was a culture of everyone pitching in.

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        • #5
          Our pack charges annual fees to cover the costs of running the pack. It's fairly high, although competitive with what other packs charge in our area. Scholarships are given on a VERY limited basis. Although I am not involved with that process, it is my understanding that when requested (which is rare) they are usually given with no strings attached, which I have a SERIOUS problem with. It's fine if you cannot afford the fee, but there should be some sweat equity attached to it. In other words, if you kid is attending the pack for free, I fully expect some volunteer time from you in return. But that never happens. As someone else said, if you don't have some skin in the game, nothing will get done.

          We also have the dreaded popcorn fundraiser. Some percentage of sales go to the pack, and 10% of sales the boy keeps in his "account" and can be used to cover additional costs such as camping, field trips, overnighters, etc.

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          • #6
            Our Pack charges $40 Pack Dues annually to cover the cost of Pack operations. We collect $20 in September and the remaining $20 in January. We have a $200 popcorn raising goal per Scout. If a scout meets the $200 goal, then his $40 dues are paid for. If a scout sells less than $200, then a portion of his dues will be reduced.

            We don't require anyone to sell popcorn, but we do require they help fund Pack operations either from Dues, Popcorn, or a combination of both. Scouts that can't pay dues, need to fundraise. We don't hold back awards from scouts who are behind (delinquent) but politely remind their families to pay up.

            The Scout Troop by son belongs to withholds merit badges and awards to any Scout that owes money to the Troop. They have a written policy on this and it's enforced.

            Comment


            • #7
              First off, I have no experience with Cubs. Anyway, you did have a parents meeting explaining the upcoming year's program, its costs, and why fundraising is now necessary?
              You need to have a variety of fundraisers. Many can't/won't sell stuff. Of the four yearly fundraisers, one or two could be the sales type, but the other two should be some other kind.
              Everyone should pay something, either in time or money. If selling is too hard, and they're cash poor, then they can sit and monitor the Scouts at the annual yard-sale.
              Zero buy-in means you're just being used as a babysitting facility

              Comment


              • #8
                Boomer,

                You are right. Everyone should have do something. I am a process person, my wife is a project person. I will go to the meetings and debate policy, she hates those but will work all day on a tree planting. A third might contribute cash for an outing. A fourth might have a valuable talent like sewing and whip up some patch vests for the new Tiger den. Everyone should find a way to contribute.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow... looking at the other replies, you're going to get sticker shock to read my post. Our pack charges $95 for the first year and $80/year to renew. For that fee, the boys receive

                  $15 Annual BSA registration
                  $12 boys life (we are a 100% Boy's Life Unit)
                  $45 dues (5/month dues for 9 months)
                  $10 pack t-shirt (given first year only)
                  $8 book (for their current rank, and then they get a second when they promote up at the end of the school year)
                  $5 neckerchief/neckslide presented at end of year pack meeting when boy promotes to next level

                  With this, we tell families that everything the boy needs to advance is paid for along with pack activities (pinewood derby, blue & gold, field trips to ball games like Harlem Globetrotters, etc.). We hold at lest one extra pack event every month and often two.

                  To give some final preparatory background:
                  We maintain a policy of giving as much fundraising profit as possible to the boys. The boys keep half of the popcorn profit, the pack takes half. For scout cards, the boys keep all of the profit and the pack keeps nothing. We are in our 4th year since inception. The first year, we tried to split money with the boys, but our popcorn colonel became disgruntled and left town, literally, and took the $600 of pack profit with them. That was a HARD year financially and we almost folded. The second year, we kept everything the boys made through fundraising and told them everything was paid for. Well, we had some parents that figured they didn't have to do ANYTHING and they could get EVERYTHING. :-( This small handful of parents drained our account severely limiting what we could do. Year number three, we came back to the splitting profits idea, but this time with the knowledge of lessons learned from year one. We are currently in the best financial position we have ever been in as a pack.

                  Families now have 3 choices:
                  1) Mom and Dad can simply reach in their pocket and pay. We live in a part of the country that there are many families that choose this course because money is easier to come by than time to take their kid fundraising. Not my preference, but it accommodates the families.
                  2) Families that want to make scouting affordable but not pay the $80 renewal fee (and simultaneously teach their sons that things in life won't always come as handouts) are given ample opportunity to raise funds.
                  3) Families that want initial financial assistance are able to receive it (due to the success of our other policies) with strings attached. Basically, if a family gets financial assistance, I expect a model scout family. We expect the boy to earn rank. We expect the boy at pack and den events- skipping is no longer an option. We expect the parents involved and participating- even if not as den leaders, maybe as pack photographers, scribes, etc. After all, they should be there with their son anyway. We expect the boy actively participating in fund raising- not that he should raise the most in the pack, but a demonstrated effort that he supports the pack. (e.g. The cub scout helps the pack go, the pack helps the cub scout grow.) We have discovered that in setting this level of expectations, most families only need financial assistance one year, and they are successful enough they are able to be self-sustaining through option 2 by their second year.

                  Obviously there are exceptions (single parents, health issues, etc.) and those are taken into account. At the end of the day, we say that we will never loose a boy due to finances. While finances might appear to be a part of the reason, it is because the family chose not to invest themselves in the scouting program, not because of money.

                  (p.s. - the secret to making the individual accounting work for the boys was in one of my woodbadge ticket items. We keep track of everyone's balances at http://www.scoutaccounts.com The site lets the treasurer, cubmaster, and selected committee members see all balances, and it lets parents see their individual balances as well. There is no money in the system, it is just an online ledger but has served our needs well.)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Basically, in our troop, if scouts don't pay the fees or fund raise we will give them additional TIME to pay the fees, but after that the scouts are no longer allowed to participate. There have been special circumstances when fees/fundraising obligations have been forgiven, but it is rare and generally only when the family has had a catastrophic experience.

                    In the pack, we do not have specific rules around fundraising participation, 2/3s of the yearly cost is covered by dues and we have extended deadlines or forgiven late dues. If a parent is flaky, well, there is only so much a Tiger or Wolf Cub can do about that, so we tend to carry the boy if we can. They usually drop out before it is a problem.

                    83Eagle, I'm glad that you are at least giving the families a choice. Our troop is all about mandatory fundraising along with the fees and it gets old to have to comply with poorly organized fundraising dates.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I can understand perfectly families who can not afford to pay unit dues. Times are tough, and they are definitely tougher on some than others.

                      However I can NOT understand families who can not afford to pay the fees, but do not want to work them off either.

                      If they would prefer to sit on their backside, do nothing, and have the other Scouts do their work, and pay their fees for them, they do not belong in Scouts. At least not in my unit.

                      As someone else said, they are not interested in Scouting, they are interested in free babysitting.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Folks keep mixing Pack and Troop issues. I think while both often sell popcorn I think there are differing levels of commitment. Generally one is easier with the cubs and parents as they are newer to scouting and expect more of Boy Scouts and parents as they have self selected themselves to some degree.

                        With our Pack we did not distribute popcorn revenues though we did do prizes, drawings, etc. Our sales funded 3 campouts, awards and beltloops, and subsidized 1/2 the membership/boyslife fees as well as books and neckers.

                        In our Troop boys get the "Troop share" of popcorn sales for scout accounts. We have several other fund raisers we expect all boys to either sell or put in sweat equity. Those funds subsidize some trips, troop equipment, etc.

                        In both cases we will help a family out but most will not ask. When I was unemployed I did arrange to swap my membership fees for becoming the den leader -- a move that probably cost me more in the long run!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          >>We keep track of everyone's balances at http://www.scoutaccounts.com

                          I looked at this site and it is not good. Not intuitive and lacking any sort of online instruction, etc. Plus with an inability to export or import anything this is basically double work for the treasurer, who's going to want to keep a backup of any ledger information somewhere (local drive or paper) in case the site goes down and all the scout info is lost.

                          We'd be much better off setting up a simple Excel spreadsheet that can be emailed to individual scouts, or using some of the "trax" software.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            "Feedback is a gift"

                            Seriously, your comments are well received. Send my a private post with more details and I'll work to improve it. Since I developed it, I understand it without documentation and I know what I meant to do. However, if something is not intuitive, I want to fix that. The goal of the site was not to create double work, but to create less work. I don't want my treasurer to create reports and mail them out to families. I want her to just track the records and tell families to check it themselves.

                            The ability to export records is duly noted and I will work to add that.

                            Thanks again for the feedback!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We use google docs to track our ISA accounts,

                              pretty simple, it is a shared document for the entire pack leadership, is accessible to anyone with a blackberry, iphone or android based phone in a mobile environment.

                              google allows you to share with read only or edit writes.....I am not sure about an audit trail.

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