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DIstrct Event Profit Demands?

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Not long ago, around here the cost of a district event just covered event expenses, usage fee, food if any, event patch in the range of $5-15. In recent years, we are seeing district events charging $20-30/scout or more, but attendance is down (too $$) such that two or more districts commonly merge events to raise attendance in order to see a "profit", i.e., fund council.


Council says that they need the money and that this has been done for years with other "events" - summer camp and high adventure treks.


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It's not really profit in the private corporation sense of the word.


District events take time away from pro's doing other things (like promotions to potential chartered organizations and fundraising), so staff time has to be paid for. If the event is at a council camp, more demands are put on the facilities and the ranger. Those costs have to be justified.


This is also how districts evaluate the quality of an event ... #s willing to pay to participate. Two many years of a low-revenue event, and it's time to free up that calendar slot for something different.


Now, my crew has hosted events (Memorial Day flag placement) and the district volunteers have used resources to circulate flyers at round-table and forward E-mails, etc ... They haven't charged us for any hard-copies they made, secretary time, etc ... although by rights they could. So, somebody else's FOS or camporee payments went into helping my venturers with their service project.


The specifications for how much to charge for what is not an exact science. There's just an overall budget that has to balance at the end of the fiscal year.

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Depends upon the event.


When I did training, we had to stay out of the red. They didn't want us to make a "surplus," but if it happened, great. IF we did go in the red, district was responsible for making up the difference somehow, i.e. having a surplus at another event. We had very small surpluses (under $25)


Now when I did CSDC, the council wanted us to budget a surplus of at least 10% over the actual costs. Part of that was to help out with any unexpected costs. But the surplus from one day camp would help cover those day camps actually lost money.


First year as CSDC PD, I found out that my day camp had run into the red for a number of years. I got the deficit down to $15 the first year, and we would have had a surplus if the CD would have listened to me and not buy supplies that I had stated I would get and did get. The second year, we did have a surplus, but that was because I got put in charge of the financial matters of the day camp and not the CD by the DE. Have had surpluses every year since.


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Not necessarily make a profit but stay within your budget. And our council figures a 10% contingency fee in the budget for every event to cover some of councils costs.


Here is how I look at it.


My training team is made up of volunteers from 3 districts and 1 "professional scouter" (Program Director) to support us. Part of his salary covers the time he spends supporting us.

My council does not charge us to hold training events at our council camps. So while I am getting to use a building and/or some camp sites for free, there are costs associated with that like electricity, part of the Rangers salary, maintenance, etc.

Our Program Director makes copies of handouts and other materials for us to use in our training events. Costs here include paper and toner/ink. He also helps us with food purchases by taking the QM food shopping prior to a training event (IOLS). So there is the cost of the food plus another part of his salary for taking the time to do this.

We use a lot of things from camp to do training. Everything from coffee to dining flies. All of those things have to be replaced sooner or later.

If we need any other materials for training all we have to do is ask. Any reasonable requests have always been granted.

Our Program Director and the camp Ranger are always "available" during our training events. Sometimes they are helping with the training, sometimes they are just in camp, and sometimes they are available by phone but they are always there when we need them.


We typically "make" about $600 for an IOLS/BALOO weekend. We typically spend about $300 - $400 on food and materials for that weekend. I suppose some people would say that gives council a $200-$300 profit. But with all the support we get from our Program Director and Ranger I think at best we are just breaking even.


I know a lot of people who feel that you should not be "making money" for council. But I don't feel we should cost council any extra money either.

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Not necessarily make a profit but stay within your budget. And our council figures a 10% contingency fee in the budget for every event to cover some of councils costs.


Similar but different in our case. Our council has a % markup (forget the exact percent), but it's to cover those events that don't break even.


As for camps, we pay the camp fee just like anyone else. It's built into our event cost. So if the camp charges $5 per day per person, we pay it. If the shelter is $100 per weekend, we pay it. It's then built into the budget and the amount we charge each person.


The district exec is free. He doesn't staff events as part of his salary. He's paid to do other things, not to run district events.


But there is a markup to cover events that don't break eve.

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Qwazse -- you disappoint me. Just when I thought you had kicked the Flavorade. :rolleyes:


When I ran CSDC, we were required to build-in a 10% contingency. Makes sense. Breaking even is a myth, you're either making money or losing it. This isn't the federal government. We can't print money or quantitatively ease our budget, so we must stay in the black. No problem. At the end of camp we almost always had more than 10% left and would invest in equipment for next year and return the rest to the council.


And I'm all for accurate cost accounting. The camps which are held on council property need to be paying their share of the power and water bill, camp maintenance, staff, etc. But our camp was held at church which provided the facilities at no cost. We ran the camp for years and never saw a pro, so there were no staff salaries. Because the camp rangers wouldn't let go of "their" equipment, over the years we bought all our own gear -- coolers, BB guns, canopies, sports equipment, everything. In other words, our cost to the council: Zero, Zilch, Nada.


One year we had a spike in attendance. Revenues go up, fixed cost stay the same. Wound up with something over 20% left on the table. So I started spending money like a bootleggers wife. Upgraded snacks for the campers. Better crafts, invested in new canopies, compound bows. I had a blast. Of course, our DE had a duck. YOU CAN'T DO THAT! The heck I can't, I just did. When I threatened to stand at the car line Friday afternoon and hand $20 bills to every parent, he backed off.


Now, the council mandates a 20% "contingency" for day camps. That's bull. That is turning a program in to a profit center. As long as the "profit" is made on the backs of volunteer labor, that isn't right. Pay the staff, then we'll start talking about profits. The council exists to support the program. It takes in donations, raises money and enjoys it's tax-exempt status in order to subsidize the program. But to then charge the Scouts program fees which cover 100% of the cost of the program AND throws off money to the general fund is wrong.

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"Bootlegger's wife"???? What a delightful euphemism! H'mmmm....are you from North Wilkesboro?

Seriously, I would argue that the entire BSA movement is mostly carried by volunteers. It's a beautifully-crafted business model.


Edit: I also want to thank you so much for getting that Flavoraid thing right. Bravo!

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Qwazse -- you disappoint me. Just when I thought you had kicked the Flavorade. :rolleyes:...


Koolaid ... it's still a thing. Oh yeah!!!


Like Pack, said, it's a clever business model. As such, it can be manipulated to protect unneeded positions in the face of shrinking membership. Or, it can be used to multiply the efforts of diverse volunteers in a variety of situations.


The real issue is figuring out what is being supported by the revenue to council. If they only exacted 1%, but was for programs that merely made more adults look like third-world dictators, I'd spit nails. Actually, I'd ask my COR to attend council coordinated meetings and spit nails on our behalf.


On the other hand, if one CSDC in a needy area is being fully underwritten by five other CSDC's, I might sit on my hands.


It's just like I teach my Sunday School kids: when you go to pick a church to join, ignore the order of service, the music, the "quality youth program", the statements of faith, etc ... and ask to see the annual financial statements. If what's going out is going where you think it should, then that congregation is worth your time and $$.

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Thank you Q. You define religion well, to my mind.

CSDC is the prime example of the Council trying to make sure that there is no "loss" involved. Our CSDC has a tradition/reputation of doing a lot with a little. Mentioning Cub Scouts leads to all sorts of free or discounted things. When SWMBO was CD and I was the "First Assistant Everything Else", our camp would charge what the Council suggested, and use the overage for Staff lunches (among other things). Our Service Region includes three Districts, three CSDCs, so the CDs developed a habit of working together and sharing resources. Stuff used by the first camp would be passed down to the second to the third. Didn't know hay bales could last so long! Took awhile for Council to catch on, and they revamped the fee structure. The C PD issued a fatwa that ALL CSDC must REQUIRE staff to provide their own lunches. "Thus saving money for other purposes". All three CDs essentially said, well, we never saw any memo, did you see any memo? And pizza still showed up at camp around noon. And they STILL had a "profit".

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