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Can a unit acccept / solicit donations for goods or services to fund a specific event?

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Lots of folks assume that if you are not "soliciting" for money you are OK. That's not what the rules state. You also may NOT solicit "gifts" or "contributions" for your units either. Bold in original. This can't be any clearer.

 

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7. Will the fund-raising project avoid soliciting money or gifts?

The BSA Rules and Regulations state, “Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for their chartered organizations, for the local council, or in support of other organizations. Adult and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money in support of personal or unit participation in local, national, or international events.”

For example: Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts and leaders should not identify themselves as Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts or as a troop/pack participate in The Salvation Army’s Christmas Bell Ringing program. This would be raising money for another organization. At no time are units permitted to solicit contributions for unit programs.

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21 minutes ago, FireStone said:

In the end we still got what we needed, technically without soliciting anything. It's just a silly game we have to play to get from point A to point B, even if the end result is the same as just asking for B from the start.

Maybe it's just me, but it sounds like you've got a strong, active pack.  I imagine that you also participate in popcorn sales.  I'd just have a chat with your DE about getting these things approved.  Yes, you can make it work "as is" and off the books, but I'm going to guess that other than a few tweaks, the council will generally go along with this.  In the process, you'll save yourself the discussions in the committee meeting about doing it "off the books"

Edited by ParkMan
typos
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On 10/28/2010 at 1:34 PM, Beavah said:

 

If you go to a local business and get a $50 donation to a silent auction, what you may have just done is cost the council a $1000 donation from that business.

 

Two excellent outcomes.  

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1 minute ago, David CO said:

Two excellent outcomes.  

I don't see how depriving councils of funding is "excellent" unless (as I believe is your position?) all councils and the entirety of Boy Scouts of America should be disbanded which I very much disagree with.

In the meantime, units that are within Boy Scouts of America and that wish to remain so should a) obey the rules while b) advocating for rules changes they want.

Openly and knowingly disregarding BSA rules is no way to demonstrate adult leadership.

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On 10/28/2010 at 11:34 AM, Beavah said:

In answer to #1, of course yeh can accept a donation that someone offers. Who wouldn't?

 

In answer to #2, it's frowned upon and technically contrary to da charter agreement. The primary reason is its potential for interferin' with FOS solicitation. If you go to a local business and get a $50 donation to a silent auction, what you may have just done is cost the council a $1000 donation from that business. They can easily say "we already gave to Scouting, and we like to spread our donation dollars around." So yeh really just shot your DE and local scouting programs in the foot, because you nickeled and dimed a potentially more substantial donor.

 

If yeh avoid doin' something like that, or are just taking advantage of an existing program (like lots of supermarkets have some sort of low-level donation program that is available to scout units), then your council isn't really goin' to mind.

 

Most councils will also be supportive of Eagle Projects asking for donations, or even instruct lads to shops and lumber yards that are known to be helpful. Remember, a donation to an Eagle Project is really a donation to the project beneficiary and not to Scouting, and therefore is not covered by the Rules & Regs.

 

Beavah

 

I simply want to know if this is the original Beavah posting?  If so, great to see you are still keeping the eye on things.  

 

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52 minutes ago, skeptic said:

I simply want to know if this is the original Beavah posting?  If so, great to see you are still keeping the eye on things.  

 

It's a quote of a comment from 2010. Where ever @Beavah is, I hope he's well. 

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11 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

I don't see how depriving councils of funding is "excellent" unless (as I believe is your position?) all councils and the entirety of Boy Scouts of America should be disbanded which I very much disagree with.

If there is a choice to be made that necessitates that I side with the councils/execs or the units/Chartered Organizations, I will choose the units and CO's every time.  

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11 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

In the meantime, units that are within Boy Scouts of America and that wish to remain so should a) obey the rules while b) advocating for rules changes they want.

Having been both a unit leader for a long time and a district/council scouter at times too, I've learned to appreciate that units often feel a whole lot more animosity and distrust of the council than is needed.  I've found that units that make a good faith effort to work with the council generally have no problem with stuff getting approved.

The council really isn't out there to make life difficult for the units.

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 I can see both sides on this.

Just one example: My troop's budget just came out and they will be charging each scout $420/year. That covers national fees, Boy's Life, insurance, council fees, camporee fees and the money the troop actually uses to operate (which is about $50). The council is getting about $250/scout. So, when my troop asks about fundraisers and the response is sell more popcorn, people are not happy. This is one of the reasons many council and district volunteers have left. They know exactly what is going on.

While I suppose the right thing to do would be to write letters to every unit CO in the council and try and bring that herd of cats together in order to replace the council board and SE, nobody is interested in that. They are interested in putting on a scout program for their kids so they just put on an auction and raise some money.

I'm sure there are a lot of better run councils than mine but my hunch is my council is closer to the mean than the well run councils. I mean, how do council's get the message that their expenses need to go down if they can just keep asking for more money? It's a whole lot easier for a parent to walk away then take this on. I'm not sure lots of people walking away is exactly what these councils want either.

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

 I can see both sides on this.

Just one example: My troop's budget just came out and they will be charging each scout $420/year. That covers national fees, Boy's Life, insurance, council fees, camporee fees and the money the troop actually uses to operate (which is about $50). The council is getting about $250/scout. So, when my troop asks about fundraisers and the response is sell more popcorn, people are not happy. This is one of the reasons many council and district volunteers have left. They know exactly what is going on.

While I suppose the right thing to do would be to write letters to every unit CO in the council and try and bring that herd of cats together in order to replace the council board and SE, nobody is interested in that. They are interested in putting on a scout program for their kids so they just put on an auction and raise some money.

I'm sure there are a lot of better run councils than mine but my hunch is my council is closer to the mean than the well run councils. I mean, how do council's get the message that their expenses need to go down if they can just keep asking for more money? It's a whole lot easier for a parent to walk away then take this on. I'm not sure lots of people walking away is exactly what these councils want either.

I don't understand how your council fees are so high. Councils aren't allowed to charge more than the national fees. Not everyone wants to attend Camporee. We almost never do. Maybe back out of Camporee as a cost saving measure this year. What is the real loss? 

Popcorn is not the answer. In our area, we can't even sell it. No one wants it. We've had to turn to other fundraising strategies. 

Precluding scouts from seeking donations or donations in kind from local businesses just means that scouting overall loses a lot of low hanging fruit. Businesses -- local restaurants, hardware stores, etc., -- who would never make a donation to a far off council are often happy to give $50 or some free pizzas or gift cards to local scouts and families that they know. Councils should feel free to target national and regional businesses and local concerns should be left to local units to solicit. While I prefer for scouts to do fundraising through service, these changed times are going to require changed views and more flexibility and innovation in order for units to survive and maintain members. The idea of asking scout families to pay $400 plus per scout is ... insane. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

The council is getting about $250/scout.

That's literally not possible outside of massive financial improprieties. $66 is the maximum Council Fee including insurance reclamation fees (councils are NOT allowed to charge more than this as "Council fees")
 

So,  $250-66 = $184 Council activities fees?

What council is charging that?

EDIT:

I am still trying to figure out this $420 budget

Quote

My troop's budget just came out and they will be charging each scout $420/year. That covers national fees, Boy's Life, insurance, council fees, camporee fees and the money the troop actually uses to operate (which is about $50). The council is getting about $250/scout.

$66 ("national fees")

$12 ("Boy's Life")

$66 ("council fees")(as noted, no council may charge more than $66)

$50 ("money the troop actually uses to operate")

$194

$420-$194 = $226 for "insurance" and "camporee fees"? Really?

And I still don't see how this adds up to $250 for council.

 

Edited by CynicalScouter

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12 minutes ago, yknot said:

I don't understand how your council fees are so high. Councils aren't allowed to charge more than the national fees.

 

1 minute ago, CynicalScouter said:

Technically, you're both right. Technically, we could ignore it. However, it is a "strongly encouraged donation" of $200/scout (plus camporee fees and, for the first time, the insurance fee has been pulled out ($75) as well, so I suppose it's more than $250). The troop, and many other units, could just say forget this nonsense but they feel obligated "to do the right thing" and help the council because times are tough. When asked what the repercussions of not paying the donation are the response was "you will make the donation."

Is that really a donation? BTW, this is not just from covid, this has been going on for about 3 or 4 years now.

Anyway, we were talking about following the rules. The council is following the rules. They just seem to be twisting them a lot. Unfortunately, this is not helping parents that find $420/year more than what the program provides. Scouts are certainly leaving. This is a no win situation. The council will eventually have to make some hard choices. In the meantime the units are figuring out how to keep kids in scouts.

This is why the troop also has auctions to raise some money.

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2 hours ago, MattR said:

Technically, you're both right. Technically, we could ignore it. However, it is a "strongly encouraged donation" of $200/scout (plus camporee fees and, for the first time, the insurance fee has been pulled out ($75) as well, so I suppose it's more than $250). The troop, and many other units, could just say forget this nonsense but they feel obligated "to do the right thing" and help the council because times are tough. When asked what the repercussions of not paying the donation are the response was "you will make the donation."

I'd tell them to pound sand myself.

I believe that quoting a cost of $250-$300 a year per scout to fund council operations is probably pretty typical.  If you look, a council of 10,000 scouts probably does have an annual budget in the $3 million dollar range.  The problem is that councils are expected to raise most of that through donations.  The council is capped at $66, meaning that if they want to get all their funding through fees then they are limited to an annual budget of $660,000 for 10,000 scouts.  They want to raise more, then they have to do it through real fundraising and appeals to families - not coercion through mandatory donations.  Frankly, I would tell the DE that they can feel free to come and solicit donations.  Tell him that you'll even encourage families to give.  But, he's got to knock off the coercion.

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What are the youth getting for all these fees?  They have to pay for their books, uniforms, patches, camping gear, camp fees, etc.  The unit adults are volunteers.  I assume the summer camps fees pay for the staff, food, and facility upkeep.  Is the program too bloated with paid employees?  I can see having to pay insurance, but how much of the rest of the program is subsidized from higher up?  I'd really hate for a kid to miss out simply because their parents can't afford the program.  

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