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Fundraising question

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A scratch off card is a card with circles covering the amount from $.05 up to $2.00. The CM wants the boys to go door to door and sell mini candy bars for the price uncovered by the scratcher. You could get a mini candy bar for a nickle or for two bucks. This is supposed to be a "Great" fundraiser.

However, I am not sure I want to participate in this as the BSA says that the boys shouldn't solicit donations. I think that my CM is walking a fine line and I don't want my boy to be the one to step across. I am looking forward to being CM next year but don't want this to put me in an odd position in my pack as being the one who says "No, I am not supporting this fundraiser" when they dont' understand why I don't support it. The CM has made it clear that his fundraising app was approved and this is the pack fundraiser along with popcorn (which he says we shouldn't push selling popcorn because it is a big hassle for him).

I am afraid that since Tennessee just recently allowed a lottery ( it started this year) and we are all new to the scratch off lottery cards that someone is going to expect to win what they scratch off instead of donating it. I don't want my 7 yr old trying to explain this.

I have a lot of objections. I was just hoping to have some help finding a good argument with the CM.


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Cajuncody, If one attempts to see this from the boy's perspective, there is a question of the lesson he can learn from the exercise. These boys are very impressionable and this fundraising idea is different from selling hotdogs or cookies for a fair price. And they are smart enough to understand what is happening. If an adult asks the boys to present such scratch-off cards to other people in order to raise funds, the boys may surmise that:

1) they are promoting a game of chance and that this is OK.

2) they are somehow separating the person from their money and there is a chance it will be unfair, and that this is OK.

3) they are hoodwinking an unsuspecting mark, and that this is OK.

4) they are engaged in commerce the same way it works in the rest of our society, and that this is OK.


If anyone can think of a positive lesson from such promotions I would like to read it. But realistically, I think the greater risk is that the boy will learn something that is simply unscoutlike. To me that is the most compelling reason not to engage boys in such activities.

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I can see now that there are different scratch card programs. Let me explain again the one I am familiar with because it is different from what is explained above. This still may not make any difference in the end, but at least we will be working with a better understanding.


The Fun Money scratch card had a total of 15 scratch circles. Under each one is $1, $2, $3, $4 or $5. When all 15 scratches are made, the total donation amounts to $50.


The program calls for the organization to arrange for something of value to be given in exchange for the donation. In our case we went to a local restaurant and they arranged for us to print a limited number (540) of Buy-One-Get-One coupons for their restaurant. It was the purchase of one meal with a second of equal or less value free. This was good for up to an $8.00 value for the free meal. So, for each scratch, regardless of amount scratched, the donor received a coupon.


The charge for each scratch card was $5.00 so the net earned was $45.00.


In this case, the donor gets something of value in excess of the amount donated because of the restaurants coupon contribution. The restaurant got free advertising in a highly targeted way and the kids made big bucks.


It appears other scratch card programs may be presented differently.


Does the approach just explained give any more room for acceptability? I don't know for sure. There is still the idea that people are donating different amounts for the same product so perhaps the "game of chance" is still a feature even if the total donated is more than off-set by the restaurant coupon. Just because everyone is happy with the program doesn't mean it isn't building into the kids some questionable values.


Thank you for the input.

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A couple of things I'd like to point out: I'll make my points first and illuminate them a bit below that.


1) I would argue that you're CM's plan is still soliciting donations.


2) Fundraising is a function of the pack committee. It is not the job or pervue of the Cubmaster.


Illumination of point 1:


The card is presented as the pretty much, "Would you like to make a donation to pack Xyz? It will be between $1 and $5. If you do, we'll give you this buy-one-get-one coupon worth up to $8.00.


Sounds like a good deal, but it isn't of value unless used by the donor. So, from the donor's perspective -- which does matter -- If I make a donation of $5.00 because I'm unlucky enough to make the wrong scratch, let's see what happens . . .


A) Best case, I just paid $5.00 for a coupon I'll probably forget about making a donation that isn't tax deductible and not worth remembering.


b) worse case, I pay $5.00 for the coupon. I "treat" my kid to an $8.00 meal at the restaurant and get my $8.00 meal for free. Okay, so I just spent $13.00 to get an $8.00 value.


c) The coupon doesn't get used at all and I'm just flat out my $5.00.


d) Absolute worst case -- and I saw this happen in High School. The kid selling the donation idea decides 10 years down the road to make up his own organization, and sell scratch cards for the High School Boosters, and pockets the money. Where did he learn that neat little scheme? Actually, the real life example I refer to was selling candy bars, but the example holds.


Point 2 will probably result in a spin-off:


a) Fundraising is a function of the pack committee. The permit your CM claims was approved had to be signed by (I forget who,) but I know it wasn't the Cubmaster.


b) The Cubmaster may have this as a pet project and the reality may be that there is no committee, but there ought to be one.



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  • 1 month later...

I would bet that we wouldn't be having all this 'discussion' if scouting could only come up with something better than popcorn for a fundraiser. We are forced to look for other opportunities and we end up getting mixed up in all kinds of schemes.


I bet that the Girl Scouts don't spend much time complaining about cookie sales or looking for other fundraisers.


Girl Scouts have cookies and it is an institution, a tradition and it works. Boy Scouts tried to establish the same thing with popcorn and it doesn't work the same. There is a big difference between a $3.00 box of cookies and a $15-$18 dollar box of popcorn.


It is time to bag the popcorn and try something else!


PS we worry about what we are teaching kids when we do scratch off cards - what are we teaching kids when we ask them to sell a $5.00 box of popcorn for $15.00?

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