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What Does Your Unit Do, How Much Do It Earn and What Do Scouts Pay?

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Our Troop only does popcorn sales.  Last year it was badly managed because the Popcorn Chair didn't return the show and sell popcorn and we ended up with a significant inventory that we are still trying to sell.  We typically make around $1,000 from popcorn.  

 

We charge $100 per Scout for annual registration with $25 going to Council and $75 to the Troop to cover merit badges, awards, rank patches, POR patches and the cost of food at three Courts of Honor and a holiday party.  

 

We have been running outings at pretty much break even by charging for food ($3 for breakfast, $3 for lunch, $5 dinner), camping ($2 to $4 per person determined by dividing cost by 25 scouts / adults which is our typical attendance) plus the cost of activities.

 

The Troop of the son of someone I work with told me that they fund their entire program through fundraising.  As I embark as a Venturing Advisor, I'd love any ideas of what people do for fundraising and how it goes.

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Troop: dues (about $100 per scout, can't remember adults) popcorn (if anyone wishes), car wash, and spaghetti dinner. I honestly don't memorize the treasurer's reports but our budget is a few thousand, and the dinner is our largest income, dues and car wash tied for second, popcorn a distant third.

 

Crew: occasional generous contribution. Otherwise everything is paid by the youth or their parents a la carte. So, we try to budget each event on a break-even basis (plus maybe a little to cover rechartering fees).

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We do poinsettias and it's unbelievable. Find a wholesale nursery in your area and work a deal with them. Tell the nursery you want to piggyback your troop's order on a truck delivery coming to your area. For example, we use a nursery that supplies a major grocery chain. They just throw our plants on the back and then deliver them to us. We then distribute to our customers. We raise about $4,000 or $5,000 a year and we really haven't pushed it. We start selling around Thanksgiving and usually deliver second week of December. 

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Oh.  Our dues are $100 for each Scout and $50 for a sibling. We charge adult leaders $25. We pay for COH stuff, plus trailer repairs and restocking the patrol boxes. 

 

All of our camps and expeditions must pay for themselves. Total cost is pro-rated out. 

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My son is so new to his Troop that I haven't figured out yet the complete picture on how they fund the program, so I'll answer in regards to the Pack I've worked with.

 

The Pack serves some of the poorest schools in town, so we only started charging dues last fall and only $12 for the year (on top of the $24 national recharter fee and optional $12 Boys Life).  This isn't a significant amount - not even enough to fully cover awards and rank badges, but we felt that people might value Scouting more if they had some money invested in the Pack.

 

Our primary fundraiser was popcorn.  As much as I've grumbled about selling it every year, compared to Girl Scout Cookies a lot of money came back to our Pack from the Council - close to 40%.  Our Council's vendor, Pecatonica River, does a great job of supplying Tasting Kits for our Popcorn kickoff, signs, etc.  There is no risk to our unit (as long as your popcorn kernel pays attention to the important dates!).

 

Plus, the best thing about the Popcorn sale is that a good chunk of the money is what funds our Council.  When your unit sells something other than popcorn, remember that you aren't doing your part to fund your Council and its camps.  I know some of you will say that you don't use your Council's camps, but remember that if you are using some BSA Council's camps that somebody has to pay to maintain those camps, and if all units had that attitude none of our Council's would have camps.  The summer camp fee you pay goes toward Program(staff, food, supplies), not Facilities.(Camp buildings, Ranger to guard and maintain it, camp improvements and maintenance, etc.).  Camps are our Council's single largest budget line item, and the popcorn sale is the biggest chunk of our Council's annual budget.

 

Now, with my plug for selling popcorn out of the way, the other Fundraiser our Pack does every year is selling popped popcorn at our Chartered Org's annual Car Show.  We sell popcorn for $1/bag and generally pull in a few hundred dollars.  It isn't a lot, but it isn't bad for one day's work.  We've also dabbled with a few others like selling candy bars, and thought about a brat fry or something similar, but haven't really had the need with a few years of good popcorn sales.

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We try for one service project, one outing and one fund raiser for every month.  The troop is in a depressed area so if one were to dump the fund raising, that would cripple the whole program.  We have boys that can't afford to pay the registration fees.  We work from there.

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We try for one service project, one outing and one fund raiser for every month.  The troop is in a depressed area so if one were to dump the fund raising, that would cripple the whole program.  We have boys that can't afford to pay the registration fees.  We work from there.

 

I like the simplicity of the approach. We used to have the "public school rule" for years; ie we only had meetings when public school was in session. (though we had some special high adventure trips over some breaks). You never really had to consult the Calendar much. Then we had a SM who started adding extra meetings to those "wasted" days and the whole system fell apart.

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We do poinsettias and it's unbelievable. Find a wholesale nursery in your area and work a deal with them. Tell the nursery you want to piggyback your troop's order on a truck delivery coming to your area. For example, we use a nursery that supplies a major grocery chain. They just throw our plants on the back and then deliver them to us. We then distribute to our customers. We raise about $4,000 or $5,000 a year and we really haven't pushed it. We start selling around Thanksgiving and usually deliver second week of December. 

So, what kind of profit do you make on each plant? Do you sell them door to door, in front of retail outlets?  Thanks in advance!

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We have an All-You-Can-eat Chili Supper every November. $6 for adults, $3 for kids, the whole family for $15. Scouts can keep 1/3 of their personal sales for their scout accounts. A lot of the supplies are donated and we use the CO's kitchen for cooking and serving. Net "profit" usually $1500+. Popcorn only if you want to sell. We tried selling first aid kits but that failed. Dues are $18 per year for scouts, no dues for adults. We also do service projects each month and we usually get pretty good donations from the VFW and American Legion and their Auxiliaries. That keeps our campouts to an average cost of $5 per person per day. We also maintain our trailer and equipment.

 

The last few years we have been the lucky recipient of a Comcast Cares Day. We find a local project and have Comcast supply the materials and lunch/tshirts. In return, Comcast donates about $40 per person to the troop (anyone, including non-scouts) who shows up for the work. Big turnout - big check.

 

Dean

 

Dean Roberts

Scoutmaster-Elect, Troop 315 Macomb
I used to be an Owl, C3-133-11
..and a Staffer too! C3-133-14 and C3-133-16

"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" - William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt

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Service project/yard sale.  We spend 4 or so meeting nights picking up yard sale items from donors in our town and store them in a donated storage trailer, or somebody's garage, or basement or wherever we can find room, then we hold our yard sale and at the end of the day when we are done selling, non-profits can come get the "left overs" or they are put into dumpsters provided by or town (we are cleaning out the houses to make it safer for the firefighters after all, the genesis of the yard sale).  We typically make 8 - 10k from the yard sale with all hands on deck, our 50ish Scouts and parents. Dues are $120 a year to cover all advancement and camping except summer camp, $60 if you participated in the yard sale.  We also sell popcorn and "camp cards" discount cards produced by the Council.

Big production, big results. big options for trips and adventures.

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We sell Camp Cards in the spring & mistletoe around Thanksgiving.  Camp cards brings in ~600 & Mistletoe brings in ~$200.

 

New Scouts pay $65 to the Troop & $24 to the BSA.  Returning Scouts pay $30 to the Troop & $24 to the BSA

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We have three fundraisers a year. Labor Day Brat Fry, Wreaths and Frozen Pizza.

 

Everyone likes the Brat Fry (bbq) the most. We get great support from our community. Its during the annual village rummage sale, right in town. We sell bratwurst, hamburgers, and have families make baked goods for a bake sale, which is pure profit. Last year each boy that worked the brat fry made over $100 for his account.

 

$100 per year covers all registration and dues for us. That pays for all awards, neckers at the end of the program year, food for B&G and most activities. 

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We sell popcorn through the council popcorn system.  Our troop has about 50 scouts who do some selling, but most of the sales come through ~10 single-day "show and sell" 6-hour events at convenience stores, etc.  About 30 scouts participate in that.  Our troop's net profit is around $8000 a year.  In addition to paying for troop equipment and events, we charge our scouts less for annual membership that we pay the council (i.e., the troop subsidizes registration fees).

 

We also sell poinsettia's and wreaths, but our profit is much lower.

 

Our scouts pay for their patrols' food at campouts, but the troop pays for camp reservation fees, reimburses drivers if necessary, etc.  

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I run a campfire group so no BSA restrictions here but what we do for our big fundraiser is a rifle giveaway. We pay for aHenry lever action and have it shipped to a local FFL that will do a transfer for us free of charge. We sell tickets for a few weeks and then draw a name. We restricted it to 10 tickets per kid last year but may raise that to 15 tickets each @$20. Last year we cleared right at $2000. But we are still a young group so our costs aren't very high yet. That will allow us to pay for every kids campout she this year (parents will still have to pay) and some much needed equipment. So we aren't using the Leaders personal gear.

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The pack where I was Cubmaster up until 2 years ago just sold Christmas wreaths.  The 50-60 cubs would sell about 1100 wreaths, and we would end up with about $6,500-$7,500 profit.

 

My current Troop used to just sell Popcorn, but of the 30% of the sales that the troop received, only 5% was kept in the troop coffers.  The remaining 25% was credited to the scouts.  They would also charge about $150 for annual registration.

 

Given the success of wreath sales at my former pack, I convinced the Committee to do a trial wreath sale this last year.  We only ended up with about 160 wreaths pre-ordered, but when I ended up being forced to accept 325 wreaths (it was my fault for being optimistic) the scouts ended up selling all but 11 of them.  Even after eating the 11 that didn't get sold, and donating 4 to the CO, we banked about $1,100 for the troop, and $1,250 was credited to individual scouts.

 

There was something of a motivation problem with the sale this year.  Out of our 50 active scouts, about 80% of the sales were done by less than 12 boys and half didn't sell more than 2.  I think the problem is that since most of the families are fairly wealthy, and simply pay for every camp-out for their son; the boys don't have much incentive to sell.

 

After discussing it with a few of the scouts that didn't bother to sell, I've decided that I will need to put together a prize list for next year.  I will basically offer a selection of good quality hunt/fish/camp gear as an alternative to just getting "credit" in the scout account ledger.

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