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Fat Old Guy

A big problem with fundraising -- motivation

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Beaver Guy, there's one big difference between sports and Scouting. A fundamental part of basketball is not "paying your own way" as it is in Scouting.

 

That said, I applaud your methods.

 

 

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Fat Old Guy...Do you communicate in anyway to the parents that are just writing the checks? If not does someone in your unit communicate to the parents that we need to discourage this practice?

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Unfortunately, one runs into a practical reality at some point. I'm a finance guy at work, and look at the operations of the Pack from that vantage. I worked up the budget last June, and if I could have done everything as planned, it would cost on the order of $300 per Scout. I couldn't ask for that from many of the families in the Pack.

So, revised budget. The trip to the Battleship Massachusetts, the minor league baseball game, the district Akela camping trip, etc. became additional, supplemental fees. A new Pinewood Derby track was put on hold.

 

There was one check due at registration, of $50. Scouts were asked to sell $300 worth of popcorn, netting the unit about $100, to cover the balance of the Pack budget. It wasn't a requirement.

 

One Scout sold $1,000, another $700, another $500, and another $400. About 64% of the total.About ten Scouts had sales between $100 and $200, totalling around $1,300. About 32%.The other dozen or so Scouts had sales totalling $200. I do not think I really had to motivate the top sellers too much. The Trails Eend prizes seeemed to be enough (along with internal competition - three of the top four were in the same den).

 

Some of the families that sold little or no popcorn couldn't afford to write a check for the "balance" - they are already on some kind of pack scholarship. Others could, but didn't really offer. And FOF's complaint, about the affluence of some of these patents, held true. The handful of "go-getters" carried the budget for the entire Pack. A good turn, that earned them a patch.

 

The distribution of motivated parents/Scouts and not-so-motivated parents/Scouts, and how to equitably deal with them, without sacrificing too much program, is the balancing act that we as leaders need to perfect.

 

I think it is more that the parents need to learn (or be reminded), that at the Cub level, it is a family affair, and the family needs to help to boy participate in the fundraising for the Pack.

 

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SM Ron asked, "Do you communicate in anyway to the parents that are just writing the checks?"

 

We try but all most of the time the response is, "Junior doesn't want to sell . . . "

 

Marty said, "Some of the families that sold little or no popcorn couldn't afford to write a check for the "balance" - they are already on some kind of pack scholarship."

 

They have no incentive to sell because someone else is paying for their Scouting experience.

 

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Fat old Guy...What else can you do but ask and stress the importance...heck even I go door to door to recycle Xmas Trees my son and I earned a combine total of over $700.00 this year. Can't wait to go shopping

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To motivate kids at the Cub Scout level, we offered prizes that any of them would want. For example, two years ago we offered a PlayStation 2 to the pack grand champion. (It came with a gift receipt if they wanted to exchange it for something else). Who did it motivate the most? The average kid - the one who wants a PS2, but mom & dad keep putting it off because it's a luxury. The rich, spoiled kids said "I already have one". It was our biggest sale ever, with average sales just over $200 per Cub.

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Kentucky Eagle (hmmmm . . . sounds like a Neil Diamond song :),

 

There's the problem, we don't have many kids whose parents don't buy them the luxury items. The kids want for nothing and the parents see no reason that the kids should work for anything.

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Sing along with me FOG -

Kentucky Woman

If she get to know you

She goin' to own you

 

I better cut it out. If SWMBO sees this, I'm in trouble. ;-)

 

 

I've had motivation challenges at the troop level. We use the Scout Accounts as the primary motivator, and that just doesn't work for those who have mom & dad write the checks. I've spoken to the parents and tried to encourage them to put some responsibility on the boys. My suggestion to them was to require their sons to come up with 1/2 of their Summer Camp fee (about $70). Tell them that any fund raising proceeds goes toward their half. If they don't earn it, they'll have to come up with it from their allowance, savings, etc.

 

Some parents liked the idea, but others just looked at me like I was from another planet. Boys taking financial responsibility??? You must be joking.

 

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"Some parents liked the idea, but others just looked at me like I was from another planet. Boys taking financial responsibility??? You must be joking."

 

Those are the same kids who get deep into debt after college and expect dad to bail them out so they can buy a new BMW.

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Funny thing -- down here it's the well-off scouts that DO fundraise. The less fortunate keep relying on troop "camperships", which come with strings attached. Go figure.

 

As for motivating the boys, make sure they know what the fundraiser is for specifically. I'm sure you do this. I found it useful to itemize what the fundraisers are for: airfare, camp fees, troop activity at camp, etc. Try to establish a sense of teamwork - that all must pull their weight for everyone's benefit. Trying to curb parental check-writing by talking to the parents and the scouts may help, starting when the boys first join and continuing every year at least once. Explain why the boys' earning their own way will benefit each scout's character, not just their personal account. Build in some rewards occasionally, such as buying lunch out of the profits at a carwash for anyone who works the full time, or a recognition of participants during circle time, etc. "Attaboys" are super motivators, especially if conducted at COHs. Parents eat up recognition even more than kids do.

 

Realize that change takes time, but can be effected. When my son started scouts in 2000, I was a check-writer. Thus began our education. This year, my son has earned his way to summer camp, airfare and all, as well as spending money plus some left over to pay his dues. I may still write the checks for monthly camping trips which average $10, but I work the fees out of him at home. He has learned the benefit of earning his own way, and he's proud of doing so. I am also proud of him. He is one of the most self-sufficient kids I know.

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Just a note to my cantankerous over-weight friend.

Yes Sir, when I was a Lad in London there were buses and most of the activities were within walking distance. Sad to say that the last bus went through our little town in 1955. Which means everyone drives. We are out in the sticks. no sidewalks which makes hoofing it very hazardous.

Eamonn

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We have same problems noted - no great solutions, but an idea and an insight to offer.

 

For big-ticket high adventure trips, we have separate fundraisers where scout gets to keep 100% of profits for his account. It may be the parents pushing, but we have a lot more interest in supporting these.

 

A couple of years ago, we took our Venture Patrols on Spring Break Ski Trip. Since this wasn't exactly my idea of the ideal scouting high-adventure trip, I insisted my son pay half the cost. He was up early and out the door heading for the lift, barely breaking for lunch - taking advantage of every minute. At the same time, he was frustrated with some of the other guys who wanted to hang out around the cabin, wander around the shops, etc. One of them asked him why he was so intense about skiing so much. His reply, "I helped pay for this and I want to get my money's worth," left them flabbergasted. Seems he was the only scout who had been required to help pay his own way. It had taken him a couple of years to save the money, but he enjoyed it to the max.

 

I'll confess that for Boundary Waters last year and Philmont this year, I expect him to participate in the fund raisers, but I'll pick up the balance without blinking an eye because I know how hard those things are and I know how much he'll grow from the experience. I don't want him to use lack of money as an excuse to back out. For Life Lessons in teamwork and perseverance, there's no money better spent.

 

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I have some contrarian ideas about this. First of all, it seems to me that a deeper question is whether the boys are willing to work. If they will come out to perform labor on a troop member's Eagle project and do other work (like Scouting for Food, etc.), then I'm not sure lack of interest in fundraising is such a great character flaw. Second, I hate fundraising that requires kids to sell stuff to relatives, friends, and neighbors. Most of them don't really want the stuff, and are just being nice. It's not much different from begging, really. My son's troop does a couple of fundraisers that require concentrated effort on a couple of days--mulch delivery and fairgrounds cleanup. In general, the boys (and parents) support this activity.

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One of the fundraisers that my troop has done was a car bash at the city fair. We asked a local salvage yard to donate a car (and they did)and we set up a little booth and charged people a buck a hit or five bucks for like 10 hits. If the person hitting knocked a hole in the car or knocked a piece of the car off, they got a free hit and they got to keep the piece if the wanted. Of course, we got an old school American car, so it was kinda hard to put a hole in it, even harder to knock a piece off.

 

And of course saftey would be an issue, so we had to knock out all the glass before anybody could hit it, rope off the area, use saftey goggles and only allow one person at a time to hit the car. But we did get pretty nice amount of money. (for anybody planning on using this idea, bring more than 1 sledge hammer, for they will get broken)

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