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  • #76
    Down in my Council, at least in the few districts I know people in, EVERY pack has a trailer (we were one of the last to get ours), some have 2 (one that's storage), a pack kitchen, Webelos Tents, etc.

    But here, because the weather is good, all the non-LDS Packs camp 3+ times/year… one camps 6 times/year.

    But we have good camping weather from October to April.

    But very common for a pack to have 1-3 Stoves, 1-2 grills, a few other packs have ovens. We all have fire pits for camp fires. Our Webelos tent in Pack supplied tents, etc.

    HOWEVER, this may be selection bias, I know the leaders from the other super-active packs, and I see the camping gear of the packs that camp at camporees. It's very possible that I only see 50% of the Packs and there are a bunch that don't own anything, I'd have to ask my DE.

    Comment


    • #77
      I agree with BD though. When someone buys our fundraiser, they are supporting Scouting in general, and POSSIBLY our pack in particular (when we fundraise in our neighborhood). So the money for Council is fine, the money that goes to our Unit is NOT intended to go to my son, we're not panhandling, it's to run the neighborhood/community scouting program.

      Now, if you WANT Scouters to go to Woodbadge, than the Unit should pay between 10% and 100% of the cost to encourage them to go. If you want boys to go to Philmont, than the Unit should pay some of the costs to go. I don't overly object to letting a boy "earn his way" via fundraising, but certainly not a 1:1 relationship.

      I see units putting 80% in the ISA, 20% in the Pack/Troop Budget, that in my mind is NOT what people think they are doing when they buy a Camp Card off the kid in front of the Super Market. Most of the money should be going to durable "stuff." The boys/families should be paying their own way… perhaps a general subsidy of certain events if you want more participation...

      We're thinking of having the Pack pay registration fees for everyone attending the District/Council Camporees to bring the costs down and increase participation… but to make that work, your eligibility for that will be some level of fundraising as a family. That certainly runs into individual benefits, but we need some way to make it more viable to get families camping, and we need some way of encouraging the Scout Parents to take their boys fundraising so we have the funds to make that happen.

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by Pack18Alex View Post
        If you want boys to go to Philmont, than the Unit should pay some of the costs to go. I don't overly object to letting a boy "earn his way" via fundraising, but certainly not a 1:1 relationship.
        I don't think the unit should pay a darn thing for a Scout to go to Philmont. That's a personal achievement in my book. Why should the unit pay for a scout, scouter or adult to go to Philmont? The only time I might accept that is if we needed a WFA-trained adult to fill out the unit crew or the unit leader taking his vacation time to go cover the adult leadership requirement. But the Scout? Nope. They earn the money or have mom and dad cut the check.

        Originally posted by Pack18Alex View Post
        I see units putting 80% in the ISA, 20% in the Pack/Troop Budget, that in my mind is NOT what people think they are doing when they buy a Camp Card off the kid in front of the Super Market. Most of the money should be going to durable "stuff." The boys/families should be paying their own way… perhaps a general subsidy of certain events if you want more participation...
        But you will pay 100% for an adult to go to WB? I don't think that's what folks had in mind when they gave money either. I agree, donars think they are helping the unit, perhaps even the individual.


        Originally posted by Pack18Alex View Post
        .... but we need some way to make it more viable to get families camping, and we need some way of encouraging the Scout Parents to take their boys fundraising so we have the funds to make that happen.
        That's the Holy Grail. Few Scouts these days are going to fund-raise if there is no benefit to them directly. Just look at band or sports fund-raisers. It is usually only a few people who sell all the stuff. My daugther got ticked off last fall when she sold the most candy bars for her school but all the kids in the band got the benefit of a movie even though 3/4 of them sold nothing. Sure the band got 100% of the money...no problem there...but the reward for selling was given to all the kids.


        As far as this issue goes I ahve asked District and Council weigh in and I have gotten so very different answers from what I am seeing here. Essentially they are telling us to keep doing what we are doing (groups sales of a product with x amount going to the Scout). Both claim we are okay doing this...even gave it in writing.

        Comment


        • #79
          If the unit leadership WANTS to get boys to philmint, you subsidize it out of troop funds. If the boys want to go, they figure out how to fundrAise to go. Philmont patrol car wash, etc. If a scouter wants to go to wood badge, sign his form. If the committee wants to send a scouter to wood badge, offer of troop funds and find a volunteer to go. Either way, troop funds should go to further troop goals. Our pack committee set a goal of more people camping, because scouts that camp retain, scouts that don't camp are hit or miss. As a result, we budget to spend pack funds on campouts, which lowers te per person cost. That's not an individual benefit, it's a decision to try to get more scouts camping. I think you can do things carefully to get scouts in and actively working. Focus on unit goals and how to get there.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by Pack18Alex View Post
            If the unit leadership WANTS to get boys to philmint, you subsidize it out of troop funds.
            Not very boy-led.

            Comment


            • #81
              Originally posted by mozartbrau View Post
              As far as this issue goes I ahve asked District and Council weigh in and I have gotten so very different answers from what I am seeing here. Essentially they are telling us to keep doing what we are doing (groups sales of a product with x amount going to the Scout). Both claim we are okay doing this...even gave it in writing.
              It's like my RT commish has an evil twin. Starting to think that the national policy is an attempt to shield the organization from liability on the slim chance that someone would want to use the IRS as a bludgeon -- not out of any real sense of ethics or impending investigation of every charter org across the nation.

              Comment


              • #82
                Originally posted by qwazse View Post
                It's like my RT commish has an evil twin. Starting to think that the national policy is an attempt to shield the organization from liability on the slim chance that someone would want to use the IRS as a bludgeon -- not out of any real sense of ethics or impending investigation of every charter org across the nation.
                Little Johnny wants to go to Philmont, Mom and Dad toss $1000 into the troop funds designated for Little Johnny's ISA. They take a nice tax deduction on the transaction. Now if they can get hundreds of popcorn buyers to do the same thing, that's even better!

                There are so many questionable ethics issues here it's ridiculous.




                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by qwazse View Post
                  It's like my RT commish has an evil twin. Starting to think that the national policy is an attempt to shield the organization from liability on the slim chance that someone would want to use the IRS as a bludgeon -- not out of any real sense of ethics or impending investigation of every charter org across the nation.
                  Love the evil twin comment. We kicked the issue up the chain to have them on record. We are a small troop and cannot afford a tax lawyer to give us advice. If council and district tell us to keep doing what we are doing after having asked for official clarification from them. If the IRS want to come after our measly budget and Tommy's $34 dollars they are welcome to it. One would think they could go after the many IRS employees who owe taxes but are getting raises despite having violated tax law.

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    The issue isn't "getting away with it" because the amount is so small, it's the message we are sending to the boys.

                    My troop, with parent and committee agreement is no ISA's unless it's a holding account of the scout's own money he puts into it. Just like is done by the council office for troops.

                    Stosh

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
                      The issue isn't "getting away with it" because the amount is so small, it's the message we are sending to the boys.

                      My troop, with parent and committee agreement is no ISA's unless it's a holding account of the scout's own money he puts into it. Just like is done by the council office for troops.
                      I get you. But if Council and District both say our fund-raising does not meet the personal benefit litmus test, who am I to argue? We asked for an official position and got one. We even requested they contact National to confirm. It is not like we are talking thousands of dollars here. The response was "you're good, keep doing it".

                      What would be really worthwhile is if National stood up and took a position on this and gave guidance. They seem to be able to do that on other controversial issues, why can't they simply hire a tax lawyer to develop a position paper to aid their volunteers?

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
                        ... $1000 into the troop funds designated for Little Johnny's ISA. They take a nice tax deduction on the transaction. ...
                        If anybody out there in internet land is doing such a thing, I'm with Stosh on this one. Johnny might be doing the troop a world of good going to Jambo or Philmont, but Mom and Dad don't get a deduction on it. Gimme back my tax $$ with interest!

                        Folks who would like to pull those kind of stunts are a good reason to steer your unit clear of ISAs; however, I'm not gonna wag a finger at folks who aren't trying to use this as a tax shelter ...

                        The folks who spoke at RT said scale is the issue. The organizations flagged by the IRS were fundraising to such a degree and in such large amounts -- the entire portion of which being an individual benefit and employing parents more than youth to garner it -- that it was deemed taxable income of the parents.

                        A boy who earns a grand a year for camp, gear, and to eventually go on an HA in a few years isn't going to be taxed anyway (his work, his income, not his parents) -- probably not even required to file. So socking it in an ISA is not drawing the ethical dilemma that folks say it would be.

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by mozartbrau View Post

                          Not very boy-led.
                          Funds are not inherently boy led. Funds are the property of the Charter Organization entrusted to the Scout Unit. The Funds are supposed to be allocated based upon the designees of the Charter Org, which is the Unit Committee. The Scouts set the program up, but the Unit Committee is ultimately responsible for the funds, making sure to fulfill the values and expectations of the Charter Org.

                          Now, if the CO is a "Friends of" organization, and the "Friends of" CO wants the boys to have control over the funds, that's a different matter. But for the 70% that are operating under a religious institution, fulfilling the goals of the CO via the Unit Committee is paramount.

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            We are putting $XX.XX amount of money in YOUR ISA because you sold X amount of popcorn. The verbiage implies that money is the scouts', when in fact it belongs to the CO. Right there I see a problem with "A Scout is Trustworthy" on the part of the adults.

                            On the other hand, if HE put some money in his "account" with the troop. It is and always will be his money. If a troop puts money in the account at the council office so that people can purchase awards, etc. when that troop folds, the money is returned to the CO, it is and always was their money.

                            Ever see a council giving money directly to any unit? No, but ALL units receive benefit from any council program.

                            Stosh

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by mozartbrau View Post
                              I get you. But if Council and District both say our fund-raising does not meet the personal benefit litmus test, who am I to argue? We asked for an official position and got one.

                              What would be really worthwhile is if National stood up and took a position on this and gave guidance.
                              Problem here is that Council is not legally responsible for you, your chartering organization is. They are the ones you should have asked if they don't mind you skirting the law
                              National has taken a position. It is in their "Product Sales Guide" (which is different from their "Product sales Manual).

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Also, if you are doing a fundraiser where the scouts are using their labor and the tax free nature of the CO, but it's more clear the benefits, you're probably going to be clearer. I mean, if the "Philmont Patrol" of 6 boys run a Car Wash every other month, and raise $500 to cover their trip to Philmont, and it goes into the Troop Account and 100% goes to the Philmont trip, there is ZERO problem, right?

                                They are raising money, as a Scout group (even if it's an ad hoc patrol for this trip), for a Scouting trip?

                                As pointed out by qwazse, if the Scout is getting a really private benefit (scouts split the money after each carwash), at most you have to 1099 them if it's more than $600, and they aren't going to owe any taxes on it anyway.

                                Just think more in terms of Units and Unit goals, and sub-Units and sub-Unit goals, and less in terms of ISAs, and you'll be fine.

                                I have to remind my parents on the committee that our goal isn't "fairness" our goal is to advance the pack. We want incentives to encourage the behavior we want, but if the goal is getting Scouts camping, then our budget priorities need to be oriented on getting Scouts camping, not on allocating costs fairly.

                                Same thing with ISAs. You can't use the BSA product sales for primarily private benefits, which ISAs are. But you CAN use BSA product sales to fund the Scout Unit, and as long as the primary benefit is NOT the individual, you can use incentives to align them, and people can work to earn their own way.

                                Taking the fundraiser money, dumping it in an ISA, and charging dues/event fees out of the ISA is simply the lazy way to do it. You've made the fundraiser simply an individual scout money making opportunity, and that's not what the IRS permits us to all do as 501c3 organizations. Service for money is always permitted. Incentives based upon the interests of scouting are permitted.

                                This means some of the benefits are privatized (incentives), some are socialized (Unit/Council Cut), and some are in the middle (Patrol Accounts).

                                I find for both my scouts and my parents: Sell 150 and Event X is free is way more motivating than X% goes into a Scout Account and you save $12 off something or other.

                                Letting the Scout keep 80%-100% certainly gives them the most incentive, but if the Scout is out selling popcorn professionally for a sales commission, that's NOT a non-profit fundraiser, that's a sales job. Just align your incentives and rewards and everything works out.

                                I mean, there is NOTHING wrong with a Scout buying Popcorn for $7 and selling it for $10 to pay for his Scouting operation. However, that's no more Tax-exempt an activity than Walmart buying Popcorn and selling it with a mark-up. He can source his own supply (or you can arrange it), and he can pay the taxes on the profits. If you want to be tax exempt, the benefit has to be for the tax exempt organization.
                                Last edited by Pack18Alex; 04-24-2014, 02:22 PM. Reason: Final paragraph, hit wrong enter button.

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