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  • Eagle Project Funding Theory

    The new Eagle project procedures make it clear that any money raised for an Eagle project belongs to the beneficiary, even to the point that any surplus money must be given to the beneficiary at the completion of the project. There is a new Eagle Project Fundraising Application, different from the Unit Money-Earning Application, which must be approved by the beneficiary, unit and council. As with unit fundraisers, products sold must be of a quality people will want the product, not just because of its association with Scouting. (Makes you wonder if Boy Scout popcorn meets that criteria, but I digress....) The idea being that the Scout EARNS the money by providing valuable goods and services, not just standing on the corner and asking for donations.

    So my questions is this: if they Scout is earning the money without trading on the name of Scouting (or presumably the beneficiary organization) then why does it automatically belong the the beneficiary?

    Think through these fundraisers:

    --- A "free" carwash in which a bunch of boys do a half-way job of bucket washing cars in return for a "donation." Big banner out front says "FREE CAR WASH -- Donations accepted benefitting Billy's Eagle Project and ABC Beneficiary." Average donation is $25 per car. One man give $100 but doesn't want his car washed.

    --- Billy buys a shop vac, rents a pressure washer, and arranges to pay a business owner to use his parking lot and water. He and his buddies spend two weekends washing cars, charging $15 per car, the same as the car wash across town. Sign out front only says "CAR WASH" but when asked Billy tells folks he's raising money for his Eagle Project.

    --- Billy works at his troop's annual carwash. A portion of the money raised goes into his Scout account which he designates to be spent his Eagle project.

    --- Billy knocks on doors in his neighborhood and asks if he can earn money by washing cars. He washes a few cars, does some windows, pulls weeds from flower beds and gets hired to paint a garage. The money he earns goes toward his project.

    --- Billy has had his own "mobile detailing" business and spends his weekends running around town doing quality wash jobs for paying clients. He pays for his Eagle project out of the money he makes.

    --- Billy gets a job at the local commercial carwash. He makes minimum wage, plus tips and saves his money to fund his Eagle project.


    If I had the time, maybe I could come up with a couple "fuzzier" examples the blurr the line further, but you get my drift. But my question is, which ones of these are fundraisers? Which ones require Eagle Project Fundraising apps? At what point does the money belong to the beneficiary? (And let's set aside any issues of municipal permits and license.)

    And further, if his approved budget is $500, all of which he is donating out of his own pocket, but the final cost of his project is only $450, does he have to give the $50 surplus to the beneficiary, or can he reduce his "donation" to the actual cost of the project?

    I understand the idea here is BSA wants to make sure any financial issues (short falls, tax issues, etc.) fall to the beneficiary (which make since, as the are the one benefitting from the project), but that seems to create some grey areas for the individual Scout and leaders advising him.

    I have an idea of how I would advise the boys in my unit, but I'm interested in what you folks see as the guiding principles in all this.

  • #2
    Initial thought: paying for the project yourself or getting mom and dad to stroke a check is not "Leadership". The funding is part of the project and should be part of the plan that he will lead others in executing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Papadaddy, can you show us any documentation that states a boy must raise funds for his Eagle project? I'm unaware of any unless it just happened. An Eagle project is a service project, not a fundraising and service project. That being said, if a boy needs to raise funds, there are rules that apply, but it is not a required part of the Eagle project.

      Comment


      • #4
        Didn't mean to imply that.

        Comment


        • #5
          In my opinion, if Billy is working at a personal job, then the money earned is his to do with as he wishes. If he wishes to donate all/part of it to his (or someone else's) Eagle project, that is his personal call. Any money he donates to an Eagle project becomes the property of the organization benefiting from the Eagle project.

          Any time Billy does a fundraising project, that is expressly for funding his Eagle project (noted on a sign or by word of mouth), that money then belongs to the ESLP benefiting organization, and not to Billy.

          Scout account money is a lot fuzzier. The Troop carwash was advertised to benefit the Troop. That money is not Billy's. It belongs to the Troop, and the Troop's Charter Organization. If the Troop decides to allow some of the Troop money to be used for Billy's Eagle project, fine. However it is the Troop's decision, not Billy's.

          Edited to add that if Billy is funding all of the cost himself, and has a cost of $500 in his budget, then he is donating $500 to the benefiting organization. If he stipulates in his paperwork that he is donating only the ACTUAL cost, and the $500 is only an estimate, than I would have no problem if he donated only the actual cost of $450.(This message has been edited by Scoutnut)

          Comment


          • #6
            Twocubdad wrote "The idea being that the Scout EARNS the money by providing valuable goods and services, not just standing on the corner and asking for donations."

            From what I read asking for donations is perfectly acceptable as long as it is approved by the council. Nothing I see says a scout must earn any money.

            Comment


            • #7
              The fundraising application is not required if the funds come from the beneficiary, the scout, the scout's parents, the scout's relatives, the unit or the chartering organization, or the parents and members of the scout's unit.

              Here's how I think the answers would shake out based on my reading of the workbook.

              --- A "free" carwash in which a bunch of boys do a half-way job of bucket washing cars in return for a "donation." Big banner out front says "FREE CAR WASH -- Donations accepted benefitting Billy's Eagle Project and ABC Beneficiary." Average donation is $25 per car. One man give $100 but doesn't want his car washed.

              Fundraising Application is required as money is coming from the general public and the car wash is being used to raise funds for the project. Any excess funds raised above project cost goes to the beneficiary.

              --- Billy buys a shop vac, rents a pressure washer, and arranges to pay a business owner to use his parking lot and water. He and his buddies spend two weekends washing cars, charging $15 per car, the same as the car wash across town. Sign out front only says "CAR WASH" but when asked Billy tells folks he's raising money for his Eagle Project.

              Fundraising Application is required as money is coming from the general public and the car wash is being used to raise funds for the project. Any excess funds raised above project cost goes to the beneficiary.

              --- Billy works at his troop's annual carwash. A portion of the money raised goes into his Scout account which he designates to be spent his Eagle project.

              No fundraising application neccessary as it is the Troop that is providing the funds. The Troop needs to approve the use of the funds. There should be no excess funds as the Scout should only need to spend what is needed on the project and is not raising funds separately for the project.

              --- Billy knocks on doors in his neighborhood and asks if he can earn money by washing cars. He washes a few cars, does some windows, pulls weeds from flower beds and gets hired to paint a garage. The money he earns goes toward his project.

              Sounds tricky but... If this is something Billy is doing as a fundraiser specifically for his project and is not something he normally does, then the fundraising application is required if the money is coming from the general public (and he's not just knocking on Aunt Sue's, Uncle Bob's and Scout Johnny's Mom's doors). Any excess funds raised above project cost goes to the beneficiary. UNLESS - if this is a regular activity of Billy and is something he often does to make money for himself, then no fundraising application is required and the Scout only spends what is needed on the project - there is no surplus. For instance, if Billy regularly mows lawns for neighbors for extra cash, or shovels driveways, he is not fundraising - he can choose to do whatever he wishes with his money.


              --- Billy has had his own "mobile detailing" business and spends his weekends running around town doing quality wash jobs for paying clients. He pays for his Eagle project out of the money he makes.

              No fundraising application needed - this is a regular business of the Scout and he is spending his money on the project. He is not raising funds specifically for the project. There is no surplus because the Scout will spend only what is needed on the project.

              --- Billy gets a job at the local commercial carwash. He makes minimum wage, plus tips and saves his money to fund his Eagle project.

              No fundraising application needed - this is a regular job of the Scout and he is spending his money on the project. He is not raising funds specifically for the project, even if that is his stated intent on getting a job. These are wages being earned by Billy and he can do whatever he wishes with his money. There is no surplus because the Scout will spend only what is needed on the project.

              -- And further, if his approved budget is $500, all of which he is donating out of his own pocket, but the final cost of his project is only $450, does he have to give the $50 surplus to the beneficiary, or can he reduce his "donation" to the actual cost of the project?

              The Scout reduces the amount of the "donation" to the actual cost of the project. A Budget is not a document that locks one into a set amount of spending (no matter how much some people would like it to be). It is a document that estimates the costs to complete a project, run a property or household for a year, etc. If you estimate that a project takes $500 worth of lumber and you end up needing only $400 worth of lumber, you may have a budget surplus but not neccessarily a revenue surplus. It simply means you need to raise $100 less than you thought you needed. Alternatively, if you budget $500 and end up spending $550, you have a budget deficit but not necessarily a revenue deficit. The Scout can contribute an extra $50 or can try to raise the extra $50 from somewhere.

              I think the simple way to look at it is if you are raising money specifically for the project and you end up with a revenue surplus (whether through a budget surplus or because you simply raised more money that you budgeted) then the excess belongs to the beneficiary. If you are not raising money specifically for a project but are spending your own (or others within the parameters of gaining funds without requiring a fundraising application), then you should end up with a revenue = expense situation, whether running a budget surplus or a budget deficit, in which case there is no surplus.


              Just one more item that perhaps should be discussed. In one of the exapmples, Billy buys a shop vac. No mention is made on whether this is a personal purchase or a project expenses. If it's a personal purchase by Billy, then Billy is donating the use of his shop vac at the fundraising event. Billy can not be reimbursed for the cost of the shop vac through the project. If Billy purchases the shop vac as a project expense, whether directly by the project or through reimbursement from the project, the shop vac should become the property of the beneficiary at the end of the project. That should be true of any tool purchased with fundraised project funds. If you raise the funds and have to buy 3 hammers, at the end of the project, the hammers get turned over to the beneficiary, as should any excess materials.

              Comment


              • #8


                I had a conversation with the SM from the troop chartered about 10 miles away. We compete for the same Webelos from about 3 packs. They have been kicking our butts.

                Anyway!
                The SM said that they allow the parents to fund the entire Eagle project from their checkbook. No Fundraising required by the scout. He said they checked with council and council had no problem with it.

                I tell him that our guideline is that mom and dad can make only a nominal contribution (which we have never had to define) but that the scouts have to raise the money themselves. He said that method takes too long.

                It's easier to get to eagle in that troop because fundraising can add two - three months to a $500+ eagle project. Lately a Saturday car wash lasting about 6 hours only yields about $400.

                Comment


                • #9
                  In my mind, the difference is only in how the project is presented. You could do the exact same fundraiser as a job or as an organizational fundraiser. What is key is what you tell the people who are paying for your services or giving you money. If you say that the money is going to be used to benefit X organization, then the money has to go to that organization. People may pay you extra or just donate money because they believe in that organization.

                  If you just do the work for hire, then the money is yours to do with as you see fit.

                  If we were to take the guidelines literally, and suggest that people should only pay for a fundraiser exactly what they'd pay even if it weren't a fundraiser, then I'd think there would be no reason to do fundraiser and people could just work at their jobs. However, as we all know, fundraisers typically raise more money than they would if people were just to buy the items or services on the free market. People are willing to pay these prices, sometimes even happy to do so, because they realize that the extra money is going to a good cause. I don't think Boy Scout popcorn would sell very well on grocery shelves if it was just "Trails End" popcorn with no association with BSA. Who would pay those prices?

                  So, if you want to say you're raising money for a charity, you have to follow the rules, file the permits, and give the money to the organization. If you don't want to have the benefit of using the charity's name, then just earn the money yourself. It might be easier and faster - either way.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thomas,

                    What do you do when a parent decides to fund a project fully against your "guideline"? You're adding a requirement that is not part of the Eagle rank.

                    I'm not saying that I don't want to see a boy find funding for his project. While we could have funded our son's $600 project, we had him fundraise, put some of his own money in from his job and then we topped it off. I just don't know how you can enforce telling a parent how much they can give towards their son's project.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I just don't know how you can enforce telling a parent how much they can give towards their son's project.

                      I don't think "enforcement" is the issue, eh? We're about growing kids, not about "enforcing" this, that, and the other thing. Most folks will follow the guidance given 'em, because they're part of a community where that guidance is the norm.

                      Interestin' thoughts, Twocubdad, which is why "policy" and "enforcement" just gets silly when dealin' with this stuff.

                      I think the basic rule is "be honest and honorable." People giving money to most Eagle projects are really giving money to help Scouting, rather than the beneficiary. So at the point when the project is done, yeh honor the intent of the donor. If you're not sure what that is, yeh ask. If yeh can't ask, then yeh do your good-faith best based on what you told them the money was being used for.

                      If it's your own money then you are the donor, and yeh follow your own intent.

                      And if you're a NFP educational entity who is insisting that all the project funds and such are the beneficiary's, then yeh don't pretend to exercise review and approval as a third party, eh? Because it's none of your business.

                      Beavah

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Page 18 of the new Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook says "2. It must be clear to all donors or event participants that the money is being raised on behalf of the project beneficiary" With that in mind here's my opinion (for what it's worth)

                        --- A "free" carwash in which a bunch of boys do a half-way job of bucket washing cars in return for a "donation." Big banner out front says "FREE CAR WASH -- Donations accepted benefitting Billy's Eagle Project and ABC Beneficiary." Average donation is $25 per car. One man give $100 but doesn't want his car washed.
                        This seems to meet the requirement above although a Scout should be trustworthy in doing a good job. Sounds like a typical Eagle project fundraiser!

                        --- Billy buys a shop vac, rents a pressure washer, and arranges to pay a business owner to use his parking lot and water. He and his buddies spend two weekends washing cars, charging $15 per car, the same as the car wash across town. Sign out front only says "CAR WASH" but when asked Billy tells folks he's raising money for his Eagle Project.
                        Nope since not everyone knows Billy is raising money for ABC beneficiary.
                        Does Billy buy the vac and rent the washer with his own money or does he take it from the car wash money?

                        --- Billy works at his troop's annual carwash. A portion of the money raised goes into his Scout account which he designates to be spent his Eagle project.
                        Well since Billy can't go back to the original donors I would allow it. I would encourage Billy to use the money he earned here for outings if that was the original intent.
                        If the original intent was to fund a project then he should disclose.
                        Maybe Billy can use this money to buy food for his crew.

                        --- Billy knocks on doors in his neighborhood and asks if he can earn money by washing cars. He washes a few cars, does some windows, pulls weeds from flower beds and gets hired to paint a garage. The money he earns goes toward his project.
                        Does Billy ask to earn money for Scouts or just says he wants to earn money for himself and then pay for his project and maybe an XBox? If the intent is to pay for an Eagle Project then he should disclose.
                        Honestly I don't think Billy is this ambitious.

                        --- Billy has had his own "mobile detailing" business and spends his weekends running around town doing quality wash jobs for paying clients. He pays for his Eagle project out of the money he makes.
                        OK, he's using his own money, no different than if mom and dad paid for it.
                        Billy really is ambitious. He'll be great Eagle Scout. Be nice to him you might be working for him one day!

                        --- Billy gets a job at the local commercial carwash. He makes minimum wage, plus tips and saves his money to fund his Eagle project.
                        See above. That was fun! How many did I get right?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Beavah: "I don't think "enforcement" is the issue, eh? We're about growing kids, not about "enforcing" this, that, and the other thing. Most folks will follow the guidance given 'em, because they're part of a community where that guidance is the norm."

                          You are correct. People often take the guidance given without questioning whether it is correct or not. That of course is how the many great scouting rule myths we talk about on here get started. Go back and read Thomas' post. He said that the other troop had checked with the council on whether it was OK for a parent to fund the whole project and the council said they had no problem with it. The reason they don't have a problem with it is because there is nothing in the Eagle Project book that says a parent can only make a nominal contribution. What the book does do is lay out some rules for when you do raise funds, but it doesn't require you to raise funds. Would I prefer to see a boy raise the money for his project? Of course I would. There are many good lessons to learn from it......but he should have been learning those lessons as far back as Tiger when he was selling popcorn. All I'm saying is that it isn't a "rule" and while an SM might have his own personal ideas about it, that is all they are, personal ideas. How many discussions have we had here about what makes a REAL Eagle Scout? Matters of perception.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            People often take the guidance given without questioning whether it is correct or not.

                            Yah, but what is "correct" when we're talkin' about a kids' program?

                            Is it the booklet put together by a random committee and some office workers in Irving?
                            Is it the opinion of some council volunteers?
                            Is it the program vision of the Scoutmaster who knows the boys well, and knows what each needs for his own growth in character?
                            Is it the parent community that is lookin' for the fastest, easiest road to an award, or the parent community that might be looking for something with more substantial expectations than the bare minimum?
                            Is it the mission and values of the chartered organization?

                            Dependin' on what yeh see as being "correct", the answer differs. As we see time and again in da forums, eh? Quite vocally.

                            There's no enforcement here. Just people doin' their best to achieve sometimes different things. If yeh want da parent-buys-a-project approach because that's the best fit for your family and values, yeh go down the street. If yeh want the boy-builds-the-project-himself approach, yeh go to Thomas54's program. Each family and chartered organization will get what they paid for out of Scouting, so to speak. Different expectations will yield different growth in character.

                            Da national organization doesn't care about that stuff, eh? Their time is spent on measuring other outcomes like youth served and dollars raised, not on worryin' about the growth in kids. And the way yeh get more youth and more dollars is to make a generic, unspecified program where yeh can get away with the easy way, but where individuals and units can also expect more. Da BSA sells resources, not enforcement.

                            Beavah

                            (This message has been edited by Beavah)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              "If yeh want da parent-buys-a-project approach because that's the best fit for your family and values, yeh go down the street. If yeh want the boy-builds-the-project-himself approach, yeh go to Thomas54's program"

                              Yes but Thomas54 says he's getting his butt kicked by the "Buy an Eagle Project" troops across town.(This message has been edited by Eagle732)

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