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  • Getting parents to pay

    Two months ago I became pack committee chair. The treasurer also is new and for various reasons, just received financial records, etc., related to the prior year. We both are now on the pack's bank account. We have just learned that several parents still owe dues for scouts that were re-chartered in January...various other monies are also owed by parents for supplies, popcorn, etc. as well. Most amounts are small(several owe $15 - $30 for T-shirts, for example) but one family owes nearly $200 for popcorn. I'm sure we'll never see the popcorn money, as the scout has stopped attending meetings and the parent was asked by our kernel to pay numerous times. The new treasurer and I think it's time to get tough - no scouts will be rechartered until all past dues (and the current year) have been paid, for example. Has anyone been successful in collecting these relatively "small" amounts from parents? Other than threatening to not re-charter the scouts, what can we do? (Of course, going forward, nothing will be given out unless it's paid for in advance.)

  • #2
    What is your attitude about keeping families in your troop if paying dues or activity fees is a burden to the family?

    To what extent do you think ability to pay is an issue?

    There are reasons why businesses send out monthly bills: they tend to get paid.

    I'd have a bias towards sending out monthly bills for 2-3 months, and see what happens.

    Incidentally, I've just been appointed our Pack Treasurer.

    As far as I know, we've collected money before providing services, so I'm not expecting this to be much of an issue.

    I could be surprised I suppose.

    (This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)


    • #3
      I think the pack leadership should attempt to help parents if paying for dues, etc., is a burden. But the parents need to say something in advance if there's a problem. I have not seen the "who owes for what" list yet, so have no idea at this point if ability to pay is an issue. I think the new treasurer will try sending friendly reminder letters/emails to the parents who have not paid and see what happens.


      • #4
        Been there did that....

        When you get the list start with highest amount due (probably popcorn, mail them a (registered??) letter with amount/due. If you get no response, CC it to the council for further directions/collections. No Scout is handed a late bill, and avoid: email or phone calls (too easy to ignore).

        For dues/T-Shirts/Campout late fees and the like, I would also send a letter a little less formal.

        Non-threatening of course, just a "Please catch up on XXX before the next recharter/Campout/etc", with some contact info if they want to discuss it. This is especially helpful for the non-involved parents.

        I know in the unit I serve, if a Scout is behind in fees, and $$ are held for the Scout (some call it "Scout account"), that can be used (keep the CC/SM in the loop). But that info needs follow thru with the Parent somehow.

        In the future, no payment=no t-shirt, no campout fee = can't go (use the "Grubmaster has to buy food" excuse).

        Last minute registration for Summer Camp after your unit cut-off date = have them do it at the council office - not your problem.


        • #5
          Packs just can not and should not ever have to support parents.
          Send the person who owes for the popcorn a registered letter saying that you demand payment within thirty days or you will turn this into a collection agency and or the local magistrate.
          If someone stole $200.00 off me I'd be upset - So why would a pack be any different?
          At the next Pack meeting make an announcement asking that all unpaid items be paid for ASAP, Follow up with phone calls and letters.

          Look for ways to ensure that this never happens again.
          Either by have fund raising events or having parents maintain a set amount in their "Scout Account" at all times.
          Of course you have to trust people when they are selling stuff like the popcorn, but be sure to tell everyone when the cash is due and if someone is late don't dally around the longer you wait the harder it becomes to get the money.
          I'm very much for supporting families that need a helping hand, but this is not what we talking about here.
          Stealing from a Pack is just plain wrong.


          • #6
            Don't get a response, take them to small claims court.


            • #7
              >>"mail them a (registered??) letter with amount/due. If you get no response, CC it to the council for further directions/collections."


              • #8
                Agree with Eamonn. No pay, no play. Not turning in popcorn money that they have collected, or not returning unsold product, is called theft. Of course, if you cut the kid off, you will never see them, or the money, again. Cut your losses and move on.


                • #9
                  Yeah, punish the kid because the parents don't have any money.
                  For the popcorn family, you'll both need to make a personal visit, work out a payment plan or something in lieu of cash. While there, tell the kid about the upcoming activity and that he should plan on making it, so everyone feels they are in good graces.
                  Recharter everyone on time, but withold tee-shirts, the actual advancement badges, and so on until dues and fees are current.
                  Summer camp needs to be promoted early on, and start the payment stream by asking for the down payment, the next payment,...,until all paid up. A bit more work, but we now have computers instead of quill pens.
                  Sounds like your unit could do a bit of fund raising. Cute Cubs should be able to sell candy bars like mad.


                  • #10
                    First off, my background. I grew up dirt poor - parents didn't have any money but I did live in suburbia so I was a rare case. Now, I'm flush so no monetary issues.

                    Second, folks don't pay for a multitude of reasons - not being able to afford is only one of those reasons.

                    If your unit sells popcorn - the way it should be handled is that it is an opportunity for the boy and his family to raise funds for the Scout to afford Scouting. If the primary purpose is to raise pack funds, give families who may be cash rich and time poor the opportunity to just write a check. Give families that may be cash poor and time rich a chance to sell product.

                    If the parents won't write a check or sell popcorn, work with the Scout (if Boy Scout age) or cut your losses as "cruel" as it seems.


                    • #11
                      This is exactly why no popcorn goes to the parents with out being paid in full first.


                      • #12
                        "Yeah, punish the kid because the parents don't have any money."
                        I don't think anyone is saying anything about punishing any child.
                        As I posted.
                        I'm not against helping a family that needs help.
                        However Packs have to pay their way.
                        If everyone refused to pay for services and goods that they have received, where would the money come from?
                        Somewhere there is either $200.00 or a lot of popcorn that needs to be paid for or returned.
                        If and when a parent cheats the Pack surely they are guilty of punishing not only their own child but all the children in the Pack.


                        • #13
                          Witholding a kid's name from the re-charter roster, or telling him he can't go camping just because his parents are a couple of screwups seems, to me, like punishing the child.
                          Now, if the child refused to do his share of the unit's fundraising, then that is totally different. Otherwise, what kind of character are we showing? Vindictiveness? Self-righteousness?

                          "If everyone refused to pay for services and goods that they have received, where would the money come from?"
                          FUNDRAISING (hooray!)


                          • #14
                            Paying your just debts is part of being a good citizen, and a responsible adult. And it starts at home. If some parents aren't paying what they owe, the other parents are subsidizing them. That's a foul.

                            The parents may not be scouts, or subscribe to scouting ideals, but they need to do their duty and pay up, or their kid stays home. Yes, it's tough to have a kid sitting on the sidelines because of the parents' sin. But if the parents sense that pack leadership is collectively a bunch of softies, they will take advantage of that and the problem will not end. This dynamic is not limited to scouting...other non-profits deal with it too.

                            That said, no need to embarrass anyone. A polite phone call and a deadline for payment will suffice for most. The tougher cases? Pay by this date or else. Most will pay.

                            If some families are in dire financial straits, a payment plan could be set up. Many ways to skin the cat, but letting deadbeat parents ride along for free is not one of them.(This message has been edited by desertrat77)


                            • #15
                              Not forwarding popcorn money that has been collected has nothing to do with being poor or "punishing" a child. THey had the money, they just chose to steal it and use it for something else. It never was "their" money. There is no excuse for that. As for rechartering, I don't know many people who can't afford the annual recharter fee...they just need to re-examine their priorities. I used to have a neighbor whose kid was on the free lunch program at school because they claimed they were low-income. BUt every day, I observed their $35,000 truck with custom paint job in the driveway of their house that was larger and more expensive than mine, and I observed how they all piled in the car and went out to eat every night (I know because we ate out too and would frequently run into them ... and it wasn't Mickey D's). Mom was a registered nurse, and dad drove a cab. So, no, in this neighborhood, I don't have much sympathy for people who claim they can't "afford" scouting. More than a few times, I personally paid for summer camp for one of my scouts (in addition to my own sons and myself), because I knew the family was going through a tough time. It was between me and the SM, and they never knew who the benefactor was, but I was not about to see a good SCout stay home because mom was dying of cancer or dad had lost his job. I do agree with the fundraising comment...give them an opportunity to earn their way, but if they don't want to participate, drop them. THat's not "punishment"...that's the predictable consequence of THEIR decision. Try going to Busch Gardens and explaining that if they don't let you in for free, it would unfairly punish your child. Good luck with that.