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  • Scout Accounts for Individual Scouts

    We have what I think us a pretty normal system for keeping track of fundraising done by the boys. When we do fundraising, the money goes into their account, with a small amount going to the Troop for general expenses. I just found out we have $700 in the Troop checking account, but collectively the boys should have $3000 in their accounts (this is pre popcorn numbers). I have a couple of couple of questions:

    Is this deficit normal?
    How much does your Troop keep when the boys do fundraising?

    FYI - I don't think the money has been taken. I just think we have been running at a deficit and not dealing with the fact that we need more Troop level funding.

  • #2
    We are rapidly moving away from scout accounts, due to what we have recently learned about how they put your CO's tax exemption at risk.

    Our previous treasurer kept a ledger of each scouts' amount, and how and when it was distributed.

    Do you use an envelope system for your scout accounts? You don't have a separate bank account for each scout, do you? I'd expect that all funds were co mingled, and a ledger which accounts for all of it, and to whom it is credited.

    Deficit spending is not normal. It's like a bad case of musical chairs. I wouldn't want to be there when that $1,500 recharter check has to go out, and you're $800 short.

    When the boys fundraise, they are working to pay their dues. They are incentivized to sell more than the minimum by council rewards, and at the $1,000 level, the troop kicks in half of summer camp.

    A good year selling makes for a good next year for the troop families.

    Work a budget, and shoot high, and figure out your minimum fixed costs, and your variable costs with added new scouts. Use this to determine how much money is needed, and you can figure out how to get there.

    Good luck.
    (This message has been edited by Second class)(This message has been edited by Second class)

    Comment


    • #3
      Leaving aside the perennial issue of whether "Scout accounts" (by whatever name) are a good idea or not, and just sticking to SM Travis's questions:

      Is this deficit ($2,300 in the red) normal? I only have one troop's worth of experience in this, so I do not know what is "normal", but I will tell you that it sounds like a very bad situation. It would not be permitted to happen in our troop (and for how we avoid that, see my answer to your second question.) In my 10 years in my troop, there was one year when we ended the school year about $400 or $500 "in the red" after "Scout accounts" (that's not what we call it) were taken into consideration. We did not panic because we knew that (since summer camp had already been paid for) there were going to be no significant expenses until after the fall dues had been collected, and that would bring in about three times the "deficit." If that were the situation you were facing -- in other words, if the "deficit" only occurred in the past few months and money was coming in that would erase the "deficit" within a short time -- I would not be so concerned. However, based on the amount, I am guessing that this "deficit" has existed for some time and there is probably no immediate prospect for correcting it. If that is the case, you need to do something (keep reading.)

      Before I get to that though, I keep putting "deficit" in quotes, because what you really have here is a debt, owed by the troop to the boys. It may not be a legally enforceable debt, which gets back into the question of whether these "accounts" are a good idea or not, which I don't wish to get into. Let's call it a "moral debt", because the boys have been told that that $3,000 is "their money", and the money isn't there. So if you look at it that way, the troop (which is not a legally recognized entity) has a debt that far exceeds the funds available to repay it. What do you think your CO (which IS presumably a legally recognized entity, which owns all the funds in your account) would say if they learned that what they actually owned was a debt?

      How much does our troop "keep" from fundraising? A lot more than yours, and I think that is the root of your problem. We have one major "sale" fundraiser a year. I'll keep this simple and just talk about gross profit (what the troop gets from the customers minus what we pay to the supplier of the items), and all of these numbers are estimates based on my understanding of the cost of the items. The profit on the first x number of items sold by each Scout goes to the troop, 100%. This works out to the first $80 or so, per Scout (and that amount is considered the "quota" that each Scout is expected to sell, at a minimum, though there is no penalty for failing to do so.) After that, the Scout gets credited for what amounts to about 25 percent of the profit. (It is actually based on a fixed amount per item, but I don't wish to be that specific here.) So if I am doing my math correctly, if the Scout sells an amount that would produce $240 in profit, he is credited nothing for the first $80 and $40 for the next $160, so in that example his "share" actually amounts to about 16.6 percent of the total. I guess that is why we don't run a "debt" very often.

      We do have other fundraisers, such as chili dinners, pancake breakfasts, etc., usually two per year. For these, we have decided that the easiest way to do the "accounts" is to credit each Scout who actively participates in cooking, serving, waiting tables, cleaning up, etc. etc. an equal amount. I would just be guessing as to what share of the profits this amounts to, but once again I am going to guess that the total "Scout share" amounts to 15 to 25 percent of the total profits. (The profit varies widely from event to event because sometimes we can get the food suppliers to donate all or part of what we need, and sometimes we can't.)

      Another way to look at this is, the "philosophy" of our fundraisers is that they are TROOP fundraisers, and the "accounts" are mostly an incentive to sell as much as possible, or in the case of the meal fundraisers, a token of appreciation for helping out. In your case, the tail seems to be wagging the dog, since the troop seems to be getting only a small fraction of the profits. And that is why your troop owes a "debt" to its own youth members, which it cannot pay.(This message has been edited by njcubscouter)

      Comment


      • #4
        Think about it this way, the troop committee took it upon itself to spend $ that it had originally allocated to the stewardship of individual boys.

        So instead of spending it on dues, camp fees, boots, books, whatever ... you adults spent it on stuff y'all thought was more important. Meanwhile, you pretended to the boys that what they would spend to make their troop work was important.

        The sad part: if you had just asked the boys to pitch in a little each, they'd probably let you have the $2300.

        Now, if I were you, I'd ask the committee how much of those popcorn $ are going to guarantee the existing scout accounts how much to the troop general fund and how much to add to scout accounts.

        The other possibility is that that you all buy popcorn up front and collect money later. Still, it would be a good idea to make clear to the boys that their scout account $ are in play until the popcorn $ comes back in.

        Comment


        • #5
          our fundraisers boys get 60% troop gets 40%

          key to staying in the black is having treasurerer that keeps good records. when balances given it's $x in boys accounts and $x in troop account... troop only spends what is troop money.

          if something important is needing bought and there is not enough money in troop account then boys will do a special fundraiser where all the money goes toward that purchase.

          Comment


          • #6
            What a coincidence - I just finished our troop's treasurer report.

            No, you should not be running a deficit. Are you factoring in other assets that will be coming in, such as payments that haven't been made yet for campouts, etc.? I tally assets (checking account, council account balance, payments yet to be made, etc.) and tally encumbrances (scout account totals, outgoing payments in the near future, etc.). Your assets should be more than your encumbrances.

            Comment


            • #7
              Our troop never runs a deficit. Unlike the federal government we can't print more money. If we don't have it we can't spend it. Instead we work for the money we need by holding fundraisers, and we only do as much fundraising as needed.

              Your unit is $2,300 short, where did it go?

              A Scout is Thrifty, time to tighten the belt.
              (This message has been edited by Eagle732)

              Comment


              • #8
                Bring it up in a committee meeting to see if they were "borrowing" against this year's troop allotment of popcorn money. If they were, address that issue and suggest a plan to avoid that in the future.

                If there is no good explanation, suggest a third party (not a signor on the account, not the treasurer, or anyone who takes part in reporting cash balances) reconcile the accounts.

                It could be that someone has been lax in accounting for scout purchases. Maybe the formula in splitting up the funds needs to be tweaked.

                Comment


                • #9
                  We use scout accounts......

                  We also charge the scouts a program/equipment/advancement fee. We don't collect dues too much of a hassle and a waste of meeting time.

                  100% of the moneys we fund raise goes into the individual scout accounts. November 1 we charge the program fee and recharter fee.

                  The program fee is based on equipment needs and prior year advancement expenditures...So it is a real number and not one the Treasurer or committee pulled out of their hat.

                  We report the Savings, checking and Isa account obligations at every committee meeting. Everyone signs the bank statement every committee meeting.


                  The bank accounts balances should never every be lower than your ISA account obligations.

                  So what happens if everyone signs up for summer camp and wants to use their ISA accounts......The Troop is in trouble.


                  I think an internal audit of the troop finances is needed. You and a couple of interested parents should get the check book ledger and the committee meeting minutes and figure out what is going on.


                  Observations in helping troops with this sort of thing....

                  All Troops Outings need to Net Zero balance at the end.....If you spend more than budgeted you need to collect the over run from the participants or if an overage return it. Lots of troops just make it up out of the troops checking account.

                  Don't have a scoutmasters fund......Seen this, one fellow had nearly $1,000 in it and it is unaccounted for monies.

                  Some troops have $10,000's of dollars in their bank accounts.......some troops don't have a bank account.


                  A couple of solutions to get ya out of this pickle.

                  After the audit, figures out where the money went, charge the folks who attended events....this could be a simple paper only transaction out of the ISA account to make the numbers work.

                  If it was a big gear expense. Then hold a fundraiser or collect donations/charge a fee to the parents to cover it.

                  Blank the ISA accounts and start over. That will be popular with the parents.


                  But most importantly you need to figure out where it went and why????

                  (This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the replies. I have not inserted myself into the situation yet, so I can't say with 100% certainty, but my understanding based on talks with the new and outgoing treasurer is that we are in the red about $2300 if we were to need to pay out all the scout accounts.

                    We give the boys 90% of their popcorn money, and there are a few Troop level incentives on top of that, so the Troop ends up making not much off of that. We have a soup supper where the boys keep 75% of the ticket price, after we buy soup I don't know if the Troop has enough to break even. Other fundraisers the boys keep 80%.

                    We do charge the boys dues to their accounts. The troop pays the registration fee for the adults. The troop pays for patches, etc.

                    I would love to see more responses as to how fundraisers are split up, and as to what the troop pays for and what the boys pay for. Obviously what we have been doing isn't working.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That is the problem with percentages of fundraisers.......you never know what your going to get.


                      So Travis....My suggestion would be to come up with a troop budget and long term financial plan.

                      How much does your program cost per year per scout? pretty easy to figure out from the financial records.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Our troop has 2 fundraisers.
                        Xmas breakfast. After expenses the money is divied up in 'scout acct' according to time volunteered/worked supporting the breakfast, with parents/families time included.

                        Strawberry festival. Profits go to troop account for operational expenses, and usually a bus to summer camp. A nice bus.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My question would be WHY?

                          Obviously the Troop's "general expenses" are pretty expensive.

                          What, exactly, is the Troop paying for? Is the Troop paying for things that should be coming out of the Scout accounts?

                          Since most of the Troop's fundraising dollars goes to the Scouts, most of the Troops expenses should be paid for by the Scouts also. The Scouts should be paying their own way.

                          I suggest that you contact your Committee Chair and have a long talk about budgets, Troop finances, and who is paying for what.

                          Also, just to be clear, the money in the Scout accounts does not belong to the Scouts. They can not "cash out". Scouting is not a money making business for them. ALL money in the Troop accounts belongs to the Troop, and the Troop's Charter Organization, and is to be used for Scouting ONLY.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-wd/02-0041.pdf

                            Here's a good bit of information. It's out there if you choose to look for it.

                            We're moving away, rapidly, from scout accounts. Scouts are working to fund the troop, to pay their dues, and to help their family.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Clarification - I know the scouts can't "cash out", but they can draw down for summer camp, etc. Last year we spent over $5,000 on summer camps, so I can see us needing to fund some of the $2300 "moral debt" that exceeds our funds in the next several months.

                              Another question. I am Scoutmaster, as of a week ago. The old treasurer is now committee chair, and a new treasurer has just come on. How do I handle this without overstepping my bounds? The old SM pretty much left this to the committee, I'm not sure if he is even aware of the situation. I think it needs fixed, I just want to do it without causing extra drama with the adults. I'm going to get together with the new treasurer in the next few days and discuss with her. She is freaked out by the situation and wants it fixed.(This message has been edited by SM_Travis)

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