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Modern scouting a For-profit business

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  • #16
    Poor examples. Every time scout exec salaries are discussed, somebody starts making comparisons with compensation packages offered in other private sector businesses and argues that BSA needs to be financially competitive in order to recruit and retain good people.

    But why only compare BSA salaries with other business models? Why not also compare them with our military and clergy?

    High ranking military officers and religious leaders are often highly educated, skilled, and experienced people who work for far less than our top scout execs. Yet these dedicated people don't seem to be leaving in droves for better paying jobs.

    It is clear that most of our military and clergy are motivated by higher ideals than personal gain and self-promotion. Why can't BSA be expected to do the same?



    .

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    • #17
      Neither the military nor the clergy provide a program sold to the public.

      It would seem as well that parochial school teachers and administrators are paid less than their public school counterparts.

      Our military is a volunteer military, not mercenary soldiers.

      Sometimes people aren't in it for the money. Idealistically maybe BSA should be, but it isn't and no amount of wishing is going to change that.

      Stosh

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      • #18
        I would disagree with those who say that BSA sells a program to the public, and should therefore follow the practices of business who actually do sell to the public.

        I would maintain that if BSA sells a program to anyone, it is to Chartered Organizations, not to the public.

        I would also point out that CO's are not supposed to be merely customers of BSA, they are voting members.

        Since BSA is comprised largely of altruistically minded CO's, it should follow their example and reflect their practices.

        BSA should not act as though it were a business.
        Last edited by David CO; 07-05-2014, 02:37 AM.

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        • #19
          Hmmm,

          1) BSA provides literature, material goods, training, sells memberships , provides publications, establishes exclusive franchises with it's member organizations and organizes activities. All at a minimal fee. Their annual and capital fund drives go a long way to pay for these programs, making sure the cost to the membership is subsidized. If they aren't selling a program, I'd be hard pressed to define it any other way.

          2) The Courtesy Corporation establishes contractual exclusive franchises that in fact do sell Big Macs and shakes to the public. BSA does that as well through it's exclusive franchises (CO's). CO's are not customers of BSA they are franchises. I have never heard of any CO's that ever voted on anything the BSA does.

          3) The BSA provides the franchises and no business is expected to follow the dictates of it's franchisees.

          4) There are those that think the BSA should not act as though it were a business, but with budgets, programming, selling of goods and services, I find it very difficult to define it's not a business. Next time one pay's their membership fees to the country club, try and think of it as these people are providing golfing facilities altruistically to all the golfers that come around to pay green fees and rent carts after having stopped by the pro shop dropped and dime and had a liquid beverage before heading out to the links should have a say-so in how much the professional people of the organization get paid. Like that is ever going to happen.

          5) BSA does not have a board of directors, thus it is a non-profit organization, just like a church, YMCA, Lions Club, VFW, or any other non-profit service organization. How it defines itself and runs it's operations is dependent only of what the membership is willing to pay for, not what it says on how it should run its operation.

          The military is funded through taxation, whole different ballgame. As a matter of fact, it is not a business entity at all even though it uses business model definitions like budgets, payroll, etc.

          Churches are funded through donations, not sales of goods and/or services, again, a whole different ballgame.

          Whereas BSA is a non-profit organization, one must realize there are different types of business models that fall under this definition.

          When was the last time anyone heard of the privates in the army being able to dictate the amount of money the generals get? And, by the way, the general can resign his commission at any time.

          Clergy is a grey area, some feel they are called to service, others simply hired and fired, so it's hard pressed to have a specific model. Church organizations use different models, i.e. the Call Model, the Placement Model, the Hiring Model. Also remember, clergy are considered by some government entities as self-employed and are exempt from some other taxations.

          Do the kids in the Boy & Girls Club get a say-so in how much the local or national directors get? Nope.

          So the students in a parochial school get a say-so in how much the teachers and staff get paid? Nope

          So I'm thinking we're talking apples and oranges in some of the business models being suggested here.

          Next time someone thinks the professional staff of BSA are getting too many perks, let's try and see what we can do about getting them free housing for them and their families over and above the normal employee benefits. Then let's work on getting their taxes reduced or removed, too. Or maybe put them in harms way 24/7/365 for a pittance. Oh, the brass get more than pittance? My mistake.

          Stosh

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          • #20
            Most non-profits have a board of directors. I believe BSA has the National Executive Board - comprised of about 72 members.

            Many franchisees sue their franchisor; some of these lawsuits are won by the franchisee. Anyone recall Chicken Delight?

            While business CEOs may make the bucks, CEOs of non-profits usually have little business experience. These people chose the feel-good majors in college, and run their enterprises on feelings rather than the bottom-line (usually). So, saying they could make more in the business world may not hold.

            Perhaps chief Scouters should be restricted to recently retired business execs. They are still young enough to be vital, don't need a paycheck because their investment income is more than most of out paychecks, and are probably more realistic in goal planning

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            • #21
              While it is highly unlikely beyond the local council level, COR's can vote for change within their council. Most COR's never participate, so the proxies are voted by the executive board as they see fit. On a rare occasion, the COR's have been known to mobilize against an exec board and change the direction of the council and the membership of the board. But few, if any councils "push" to have active COR's; likely because it could lead to turmoil at times.

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              • #22
                While both for-profit and non-profit corporations all have board of directors, it is the for-profit corporations that have shareholders for which they answer to and provide profitability accountability. That's pretty much the only difference. Of course the stockholders can over-ride the board of directors at any time during their required annual meeting and corporation officer elections. Notice the customers nor the employees vote, only the shareholders. One normally gets one vote for each share, so if one owns 51% of the shares they can dictate anything they want for the company, they have the majority vote.

                In a non-profit, the goal is to provide goods and services with a goal of income matching expense. A reserve may be held in a trust account for a specific goal of the corporation, but too much "profit", accrued income, or reserves will draw the attention of the IRS. Non-profits are generally controlled by the board of directors designated by the corporation by-laws, which can vary from one entity to another. A non-profit can have an endowment, but the income off that needs to go to the reason for the endowment, i.e. scholarships, camps, etc. Those endowments are closely restricted as to what they can be spent on.

                Stosh
                Last edited by jblake47; 07-05-2014, 12:11 PM.

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                • #23
                  It has often been observed that the actual, working purpose of an organization may be to maintain the officers in office.

                  As with for-profits, non-profits are typically controlled in reality by their officers, who manage information-flow to the board. Boards typically only become active when disaster looms. This activity often follows discussions with personal counsel, who mention fiducuiary duty and potential for personal liability.

                  Speaking only from experience.


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                  • #24
                    As with for-profits, non-profits are typically controlled in reality by their officers, who manage information-flow to the board. Boards typically only become active when disaster looms. This activity often follows discussions with personal counsel, who mention fiducuiary duty and potential for personal liability.

                    ??? According to the annual reports to the government, the officers are members of the board of director. If the board is divided as to who gets information and who doesn't, then of course the board is basically non-functioning and there will be problems.

                    Stosh

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                    • #25
                      Sloppy langauge on my part.

                      I was atttempting to distinguish between the paid people and the volunteers. Unless it's changed since I last looked, the CSE is not a voting member of the National Executive Board. But he is the Secretray to the Board, and his office responds to questions from voting Board members, prepares the briefing papers for the Board, and prepares the agendas for Board meetings. So yes, he controls the flow of information to the Board.

                      Can Board members try on their own to gather facts? I guess so. Do they? If so, it would be a surprise.

                      Even Presidents of the United States have been kept in the dark about critical facts by bureaucrats, as JFK found out - as other President(s) have repeatedly claimed. ("I didn't know about that.")

                      To ask us to think that paid employees act with disregard to the significance of actions to their continued employment and pay is asking a lot. Maybe in the Salvation Army. Actually, likely in the Salvation Army.

                      So perhaps not a business model. A typical non-profit model.





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                      • #26
                        Salvation Army is a religious organization just like the Baptists, Presbyterian, Lutherans and Catholics. It's just they put their money into charity/social ministry instead of buildings and programs. They like to fly under the radar so that most people don't realize they work very closely with government when it comes to helping the poor. They don't want the Church/State issue to get in the way of their ministry. They still follow all the principles and legal requirements of a non-profit organization.

                        There is no legal or business model out there that can define BSA as anything other than a non-profit organization. The only support for a for-profit business is subjective personal opinion. Some of those opinions get rather altruistic/Pollyanna in their emphasis, but they still all remain just personal opinions.

                        All organizations whether they be for-profit or non-profit have to pay their bills to survive. Payroll is one of those expenses and how that gets divided up has no bearing on their for-profit/non-profit status.

                        And for all those that think BSA is a rip-off, consider ANY telephone fundraising solicitation effort: 90%+ of the money goes to the company making the phone calls, not the charity you think gets it. Of course that also includes such organizations as the United Way which fundraises for other non-profits. They have executives they pay as well. Think of it as the BSA taking a dip out of the contribution, but with the United Way, it's a double dip

                        I just cut to the chase and donate directly to the units I like. I can't take a tax deduction for it, but then I don't give to get something out of it either.

                        Stosh

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                        • #27
                          I love reading your posts Stosh, as many are informative, and a few entertaining, so this isn't personal. Once again I disagree with you.

                          Cream can rise to the top, but so can turds. The assumption that the most talented and/or deserving are promoted in the BSA or anywhere else is naïve. Promotions are often a product of who likes a person, who their friends are, who the person is related to, who's child they are, what school they attended, who they sleep with, or just dumb luck (right place at the right time).

                          Many fantastic people are never given a chance due to one of more of the factors above, and the mentality you put forward. In nearly every company I've had any association with I've encountered many talented, committed, employees who have the potential to run the companies at least as well as the current top execs, and they are often more loyal, and would to the job for much less.

                          The cream rises to the top mentality is why American business is the mess it is today, in major decline.

                          As fat as BSA, yes the whole pay structure is borked, and needs a complete revamp.

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                          • #28
                            How is American business in a "mess"?

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Old_OX_Eagle83 View Post
                              I love reading your posts Stosh, as many are informative, and a few entertaining, so this isn't personal. Once again I disagree with you.

                              Cream can rise to the top, but so can turds. The assumption that the most talented and/or deserving are promoted in the BSA or anywhere else is naïve. Promotions are often a product of who likes a person, who their friends are, who the person is related to, who's child they are, what school they attended, who they sleep with, or just dumb luck (right place at the right time).

                              Many fantastic people are never given a chance due to one of more of the factors above, and the mentality you put forward. In nearly every company I've had any association with I've encountered many talented, committed, employees who have the potential to run the companies at least as well as the current top execs, and they are often more loyal, and would to the job for much less.

                              The cream rises to the top mentality is why American business is the mess it is today, in major decline.

                              As fat as BSA, yes the whole pay structure is borked, and needs a complete revamp.
                              Old Ox: You're not disagreeing with me, just read "THE PETER PRINCIPLE". It explains just what you are saying.

                              And the dialogue concerning labor cost in a business whether it be a non-profit or a for-profit, the quality of that leadership is all over the board. Those that end up with the better half of the talent pool spend big bucks to get it and even bigger bucks to keep it. Now that is a business fact from day one. It has nothing to do with the business situation we are now in. Why did GM crash and Chrysler falter while Ford and all the foreign car companies just keep on plugging away? It the market was truly a business mess, ALL would have had problems, but they didn't.

                              Not all for-profit or non-profit rise and fall at the same time. GSUSA has tasted the Koolaid and is struggling, BSA is still hanging in there in spite of the bad press, but it has nothing to do with how much impact anyone makes on the payroll expense ledger.

                              Like churches BSA income is dependent on donations. Churches cut back on staff and programs all the time when the money doesn't come in. Why would BSA be any different unless they were finding other way to maintain programs by charging more in fees and not relying so much on donations. But everyone cries foul and accuses them of profiteering when they do so. The donations one gives to the BSA SUBSIDIES program for the boys. If the donations don't come in, this ability to subsidize is reduced and the boys need to pay more, it is not an issue of profiteering. The money has to come from somewhere, if not subsidizing donations, then the users of the program will need to pay more or BSA will not be able to cover expenses and simply shut their doors just like business all around the country do every day when they can't pay the bills anymore. BSA is not exempt from that business reality.

                              Stosh

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by TAHAWK View Post
                                And what is your prospective? Twenty years? Thirty years? Forty Years? More? Less? At least in the three councils where I Scout, no unit is required to buy uniforms, badges, etc, or to use council camp grounds - not even pressured. Encouraged? Sure. B.S.A. specifically orders that a unifform is not a requirement for boards of review, including for Eagle.
                                try showing up at a BOR or COH in civvies, also, whats this uniform inspection BS then?? and nylt mandates it.

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