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SemperParatus

The High Cost of Scout Executives

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"Since a unit is owned by its chartering organization, each unit takes its tax status from that organization. Units are NOT subordinate organizations of the Boy Scouts of America.

 

So it seems to me that although the policies of BSA prohibit unit leaders from soliciting donations, the statement above means that if a person approaches a unit and wants to donate to the unit, that the proper thing to do would be to explain that the unit is part of the CO. This may seem like sophistry, but a person who is offering to donate to the unit is really offering to donate to the CO--wouldn't it be wrong to try to divert that donation to a different organization? On a more practical basis, there may be one person who is willing to donate to "scouting," and another guy who'd like to give money to Troop XXX to buy new canoes.

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I took the time to go out to the United Way's website and was going to do a bunch of cutting and pasting, but why should I do everyon's heavy lifting for them. Besides the post would have been a mile long and no one would read it. You can Google it yourself if you are so inclined and disprove what I'll paraphrase here. I looked up approved agencies, allocations and designated gifts. In a nutshell, each local UW has a board of volunteers who approve the agencies who are elligible to receive funds. If you are going to designate a gift, it has to be to an approved agency (BSA Council) and not a subset (BSA unit). The UW sends volunteers to audit each agency on an annual basis to determine need, how the dollars are being spent and future allocations. A troop would never fit into this picture. Like scouting, UW is mainly operated by volunteers. The people who come to your business to do presentations are volunteers. Just like scouting volunteers who sometimes get it wrong or listen to the myths, they evidently let this one SM convince them and his coworkers that it was legit to designate funds to a troop. That is why the council was unhappy. The allocation for the council would be reduced by the amount the SM's troop was going to get since "Boy Scouts" was allocated X number of dollars thru UW giving. The UW and the council figured it out and it was unfortunately the SE and DE who got the task of correcting the issue and ruffling feathers and hurting the relationship. They were fixing a problem that the SM created and they catch the grief instead. Wouldn't the better lesson for the SM to model to his boys be to go out and work to raise the funds instead of solicit direct donations? Especially donations that normally go thru a charitable organization who allocates money to a variety of charities in the community. He was looking for bigger bucks with a minimum of effort. Not very scoutlike.

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A troop would never fit into this picture.

 

Yah, sure it could. I know any number of troops that would qualify, particularly any of the separately incorporated 501© units. Almost all CO's would qualify. This troop could easily turn this around with a wee bit of professional advice and become a UW-qualified agency by next year. That's the risk of playin' hardball.

 

Yeh have to remember that UW was formed to support small NFPs that don't have the staff to do their own solicitation. In that way, BSA Councils really are takin' advantage of the system, because they're big enough and actually do fund raising on their own.

 

The allocation for the council would be reduced by the amount the SM's troop was going to get since "Boy Scouts" was allocated X number of dollars thru UW giving.

 

Yah, this is true, but not every UW chapter works this way, and I don't think any should, really. Designated donations should be excess above Community Fund allocations.

 

The SE and DE were fixing a problem that the SM created and they catch the grief instead.

 

Yah, for the way they went about "fixing" the problem, because it most likely had the net result of harmin' the Scouting community. Seems like a reasonable thing to give someone who should be "professional" grief for, eh? Or at least a poor evaluation.;)

 

Wouldn't the better lesson for the SM to model to his boys be to go out and work to raise the funds instead of solicit direct donations?

 

This is a philosophy that's unit/CO dependent. If it really was an absolute, it would be an argument against anybody, including the council, soliciting money for Scouting. If boys should go out and work to raise funds to "pay their own way", then the council has no business doin' FOS.

 

Reality is that most of us believe boys should do some work to learn, but also that we as parents and community members should support the youth of tomorrow in their growth, eh? :)

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I suppose you could get a good lawyer to game the system for your troop, but that would probably be sending the wrong signal to the boys.

 

Lets review de4bsa's research:

 

Quoted from the National office of the Boy Scouts of America:

 

It has been the long-standing position of the IRS and the BSA that units such as packs, troops, teams, posts, and crews are NOT covered by the BSAs group exemption, and that the BSAs tax exempt status under IRC Sec. 501(3) does NOT extend to units. Units are not, in themselves, legal entities. They are chartered to partner organizations of the BSA such as churches, PTAs and civic groups. Since a unit is owned by its chartering organization, each unit takes its tax status from that organization. Units are NOT subordinate organizations of the Boy Scouts of America.

 

Even if a unit is considered tax exempt, it is still prohibited from soliciting gifts or grants for unit support. As stated in the BSA Charter and Bylaws Article XI, Sec. 1, Clause 2:

 

Contributions shall be solicited in the name of the Boy Scouts of America only through or by the authority of the Corporation, and shall be limited to the National Council or chartered local councils Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for chartered organization units, for the local council, or in support of other organizations. Adult members 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..

 

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Now, let's review the Admission Guidelines for my local agency. And yes, I know that each United Way is local and selects their own partner agencies. I would however believe that they all follow a fairly standard procedure for who can be an agency.....and individual units do not fit the picture. Their CO MIGHT, but not the unit.

 

Policy

 

The purpose of the Agency Admissions Guidelines policy is to establish guidelines and criteria by which agencies can apply to become a partner agency with United Way of Central Oklahoma (United Way). Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Those submitted prior to February 1, will be reviewed for possible inclusion in the spring allocation process, for funding to begin July 1 of that same year. Award notifications are made in late June of the application year.

 

Agency admissions decisions are made at the sole discretion of the United Way Board of Directors. The Board of Directors receives recommendations for new agency membership from the New Agencies and New/Expanded Programs Subcommittee. Agencies are considered partner agencies with United Way immediately upon Board approval in June of the application year and are required to sign and adhere to the Relationship Agreement between the agency and United Way (copy attached).

 

Criteria

 

Any organization wanting to become a partner agency with United Way should meet the following minimum criteria:

Render valid human service programs which meet a genuine community need.

Be a non-profit tax-exempt corporation as defined under Section 501 © (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Be established and functional for a preferred minimum of two years.

Meet the ongoing criteria for membership in the United Way of Central Oklahoma as set forth in the Policy and Procedures Manual.

Have an annual audit performed by a qualified and independent auditor.

Meet the criteria, as defined therein, for admission into the Combined Federal Campaign and the Oklahoma State Employee Campaign.

 

Procedures

 

Any organization wanting to become a partner agency of United Way should first contact the United Way office and speak to the Vice-President of Community Investment, Ed Pulido.

 

Upon approval of the Vice-President of Community Investment the agency must submit a letter of application for membership to the New Agencies and New/Expanded Programs Subcommittee. The letter of application should state that the agency has reviewed the Relationship Agreement between the agency and United Way and would, as a partner agency, agree with the conditions set forth in that Agreement.

Along with this letter, the application package must contain the following information:

 

The completed application form.

 

The completed outcome measurment forms demonstrating current methods of collection and evaluation. Click here for instructions on completing the forms.

 

A copy of the IRS Determination Letter certifying the agency as a non-profit corporation, tax-exempt under Section 501 © (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

A copy of the organizations By-Laws.

 

A list of local Officers and Directors. This list should include length of service, board attendance record, address, telephone number and the place of employment.

 

The agencys current fiscal year budget.

 

A copy of the most recent annual audit by a qualified and independent auditor.

 

A copy of the most recent Annual Report to the agencys Board of Directors.

 

A copy of the current IRS Form 990.

 

A copy of the agencys nondiscrimination policy.

 

A copy of the agencys proof of insurance.

Do not staple any materials in the application. All submissions must be loose leaf and free of staples or binding. This includes audits. Paper clips are acceptable. All applications and supporting documents must be submitted on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. Annual reports may be submitted in their original printed format.

 

Two complete copies of the entire application package and supporting documentation must be submitted.

 

Complete packages will be forwarded to the New Agencies and New/Expanded Programs Committee which will then meet with selected agencies for further review and consideration. The New Agencies and New/Expanded Programs Subcommittee formulates its recommendation considering the agencys demonstrated ability to receive and provide benefit through a partnership agreement with United Way.

 

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The bottom line is this. I doubt that the SM did anything like what is listed above to get his troop listed as a partner agency in the United Way. What he did instead was have his co-workers "write in" his troop when the volunteer rep was there doing a presentation. His troop was not qualified to recieve a dime from UW and the UW should have told him so. Instead, the SE and DE got to do the dirty work and be made out to be the bad guys and now have a bunch of misinformed scouters, boys and parents thinking the mean old council folks hate scouting units and took the baby's milk away.

 

The troop was not an agency of the UW and the SM had no right asking people to designate their gifts thru UW to his unit. He could have asked them directly. Like I said before, it appears he saw an easy way to make a quick buck without lifting a finger and took it. That isn't really the definition of "thrifty".

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FOS is a dictate from National. It is National's idea, that's why it's Nationally implimented by all Councils . If my Council is bound by National's policies for funding Council salaries then saying that National is not soliciting my troop parents for "their" salaries is splitting hairs. If that's the best you can do I've made my point. I'd be VERY surprised if you didn't know exactly what I meant before you posted your remark.

LongHaul

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LH,

Your pronoun didn't match the antecedent, so don't go blaming me for splittin' hairs.

 

Curious - if not by FOS, how else do you propose that councils fund their salaries?

 

Curious - do you still "believe?"

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"if not by FOS, how else do you propose that councils fund their salaries?"

 

How about THEY sell popcorn door-to-door.

 

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Too much to really respond to since I last read this thread, but I'll address a couple of things. No, designating your UW gift to your favorite charity doesn't mean that charity gets "extra." Again, the only way a UW charity gets extra is if the donor designations exceed the original allocation. Yes, each local UW has a board that basically decides which NFP's will receive UW money and how much that money will be. This is why UW doesn't like donor designations. In essence, it can mess up their decisions on how money is allocated.

 

nldscout, I don't dislike volunteers. Well, I take that back. I honestly do dislike a select few volunteers and I know I have volunteers who dislike me. Actually, the volunteers from this troop I like on a personal level, but their insistence on soliciting has caused me professional headaches on more than one occasion. I wish the structure of the program was setup differently so units could solicit more because I know that fundraising endeavors can be a hassle for the unit leaders. In the 6 years I've been a professional I've learned to put aside a lot of personal opinions and spout the "company line" on a variety of topics (For example, I hate Family FOS but that's for another time). That said, I couldn't let the UW situation go like nothing had happened. First and foremost, even if I had wanted to my SE wouldn't have let me. Secondly, I really do feel that could've opened up a can of worms for the UW and the Council that I rely on for a living.

 

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First of all if the poop hits the fan in a council for illegal activities the buck stops at National, NOT THE COUNCIL or its exec committee. No matter what prose you want to write Beavah National does have the final say on all BSA policies and standards done on the council level, as well as the ultimate responsibility when things goes awry, so you can bet they maintain the reins of control in the final phase. By the way the SE DOES have the right to remove a member of the board if he feels that member does not have the best interests of the council in mind, it happens all the time, especially when a new SE comes to a council. The bottom line is volunteers have no where near the authority they think they do, the BSA has seen to that. It would be career suicide for scout execs if volunteers had the authority to fire them. If an exec goes bad the council board can request a new exec but it is up to National to supply a list of candidate replacements, so who do you think is in control? The old exec is then recycled to another council, so its a never ending cycle. I have personally seen this occur with three scout execs in a three year period, all of them were transferred to bigger councils. The sad part was that the volunteers who had uncovered the problems were dismissed from their council positions and their BSA council memberships were not renewed by the new SE because he stated, " the council was in desperate need of some new blood who were more progressive with their ideas." The resulting protests fell on deaf ears as the rest of the board supported the SE. Like it or not my fellow scouters the professional side of scouting needs some deep cutting reforms and soon.

 

 

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Yah, RangerT, I sympathize with some of your statements, and I do know about the bizarre circumstances around some of the numbers fraud cases at a few councils and the absurdity in Chicago. There are risks to a whistle-blower gettin' too far ahead of the rest of the board (in any corporation), and risks to waitin' too long before you deal with a lack of service commitment & oversight on a board.

 

But I stand by the rest of my "prose", eh? :) Yeh can decide you don't want to believe me if you like. My feelings won't be hurt. Havin' served an executive committee that did fire its SE, I can assure you it's no different than terminatin' any CEO. Nuthin' says you can't set up your own evaluation mechanism based strongly on quality of service. It's just that your poor SE is torn in his loyalties, so yeh have to find a good one in the hiring process. ;) And as yeh say, the hirin' process is an odd duck that should also be chucked. Still haven't convinced a council board to do its own thing, though a few GSUSA councils have hired CEO's from "outside" with excellent results.

 

Yeh do what you can, eh, with the cards you're dealt.

 

 

*****

 

As far as UW goes, we must remember that there are a lot of UW's out there now that refuse to give to the BSA, except by designated donations, so we shouldn't knock that system too much ;). And in such areas, it's possible to get Community Fund donations to unit CO's. So there's places where the exact opposite of this case may be true!

 

Yah, SR540, as I said I disagreed with the way the SM involved UW, given the apparent setup in de4's area. I think it was an honest, if creative, mistake. I just think one of the best measures of our character is whether we treat those who make mistakes with gentility and compassion, and then help them achieve their just ends with better means. As EagleDad commented, though, I'm harder on adults than on kids, harder on parents receivin' a service than on a SM given his time as a service, and harder on paid professionals than the lot of 'em, eh? :p

 

If I heard about de4's action in our area, I'd be perfectly willin' to help the SM get his troop/CO listed, or to set up a NFP community fund to support designated donations to local youth outdoor and character-building programs. Pro bono, even ;) It's really not that difficult a process. My gift to helpin' my neighbors donate to programs I believe in.

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Limbaugh, "It's all about money."

Yes, pay for performance, merit increases...good ideas. If this doesn't happen, no biggie from my perspective. For years I was PI for projects totalling much more than the councils I see mentioned here and I was paid a small fraction of SE salary. And now, in academia, I'm paid even less. I'm OK with that because I agreed to the pay I got (and get) and I enjoyed what I did (and what I do). These kinds of comparisons are really counter-productive. They get in the way of life and enjoyment of it.

 

Every unit can opt out of the FOS thing if they want. Just politely participate and let people make their own decisions. In our area, most people have figured this out and donations mostly come straight to the CO, earmarked for various things including the unit. FOS never sees a cent of it. I think we could do just fine if the only remnant left of the council was the camp. But I don't worry over this stuff. I try to focus on the boys and the unit.

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If not FOS how should Councils raise funds?

How about soliciting the businesses and high income philanthropist element in the council like they did in the 50s 60s and 70s? When I was a scout we went door to door in uniform asking everyone for a dime. Our slogan was 10 cents from every house will build our future. Today solicitation of funds by youth is forbidden, solicitation of funds by adults is forbidden if the money is intended for the unit. Units and individual scouts are required to earn their way. Council on the other hand isnt bothered by the a Scout is Thrifty concept and adults are not only allowed they are encouraged and in the case of District Committees required to solicit funds for council from the parents of the scouts in the units. I cant ask the parents of my scouts to give money to the troop but I am supposed to ask them to give money to the council. Now dont start with troop fees and all the ways to get around the no solicitation policy, Im talking about what the policy is.

Repeatedly I hear that BSA is a business. Name me one other business where the primary function of the paid staff is to solicit their salaries. One other business where the personnel that are directly responsible for producing the product, maintaining the product, delivering the product and maintaining and ensuring a positive customer base is not only not paid but are asked to personally contribute to the salaries of those that are paid. These non paid individuals being a primary source if revenue for the Corporation both Nationally and locally.

Do I still believe, Yes otherwise I would stop putting on this uniform. Do I put my stock in blind obedience NO. I believe in Scouting as a concept and the program as a tool. I believe in democracy and our republic form of government. I believe in the need for and the support of a well trained and equipped STANDING armed forces. I just dont have much respect for or confidence in the current administrative bodies of any of these groups.

LongHaul

 

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"How about soliciting the businesses and high income philanthropist element in the council like they did in the 50s 60s and 70s?"

 

You mean your district and council aren't doing this now? Our FOS campaign has 2 sides - Family and Community. For our district, the Family goal is $75,000 and the Community goal is $95,000. As I mentioned in another thread, our district Golden Eagle breakfast, featuring Jeff Foxworthy, brought in over $200,000, so we have more than doubled our Community goal. I'm not sure where we stand on Family. So yes, we are asking the businesses in the area to support Scouting.

 

I ask all of the families in my unit (Pack) to participate. I remind them that we don't get charged to go camping at our council reservations for Pack campouts. If they can't sponsor a child ($150) then try to give what it would cost to go camping one weekend at a State Park. I ask them take some ownership in the program, and (borrowing from someone who posted this in another thread) not to give til it hurts, but to give until it feels good. So far, we have received contributions from 38 families totaling just over $12,000.

I guess you either trust your council leadership, or you don't. I guess I'm just lucky to be in a council where I do trust them. I know members of the executive board. I know the SE. I may not agree with every decision they make, but I trust them. I know the council has spent $1 million recently on new bath houses, plumbing and water lines at Bert Adams. What was the biggest complaint about the camp? The old restrooms with open-air shower rooms. Now, the 50 year old dining hall needs to be replaced. Is that going to be cheap? Not a chance. You either poney up the money, or complain about run down camps. Life being short, I prefer to give and solicit, and end up with fond memories from Summer Camps.

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"Yeh do what you can, eh, with the cards you are dealt."

 

Beavah, Amen to that brother, I couldn't agree with you more. I guess we have seen the system from two different vantage points, in your case the system worked and in mine it didn't. On your replacement SE I bet you had a narrow list supplied by National to choose from, eh. Anyhow I love scouting, especially if I stay away all the politics I can on the council and National levels all it does is raise my blood pressure, and who needs that.

 

Beav I do agree with you more than I disagree, and I think we both agree some changes need to be made.

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BrentAllen,

When CAC had 26 Districts, 26 District Executives and 26 District Directors along with all the other paid staff they didn;t need to solicit the parents why now with only 7 Districts are the Families such a big part of the fund raising picture?

LongHaul

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