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Midwest Scouter

Massive Cuts Coming To Scouting?

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Recently, we were informed of massive cut's coming to scouting because United Way has decided to no longer donate funds to the scout program. 

 

So far in our area:

Districts are being merged to save costs.

District Executive Cuts or with those remaining, are now explected to do double duty jobs.

I've even heard of a few Councils now having to merge in some states.

On another note - No more salary positions for DE's, just hourly because of new labor laws in 2017.

 

We were also told as volunteers, that we will now have to do much more with less because of this...

Great just great...The same ten people that presently do all the work are going to be expected to do more? Sorry, but it ain't happening folks...

 

So, just one question - Will the executive staff at the BSA be taking major cut's to ease the loss of revenue from United Way or is the BSA going to turn into another type of top heavy Girl Scouts organization?

 

Anyone else heard about this yet???

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It could be specific to your area.  Our local United Way hasn't given funds to our Council for 15 years now.  It started because of the BSA's discrimination against homosexuals.  I wasn't active in Scouting during that time period, but from what I've heard it took a lot of work for the Council to line up alternative funding sources.  Some well off individuals who supported Scouting certainly helped, but even at a grassroots level many of us who believe in Scouting diverted our charitable giving from the United Way to the BSA.

 

Interestingly, now that the BSA has changed its policies, the United Way still isn't overly interested in supporting the Council.  Before this happened, the Council received approximately $200,000 from the local United Way.  When our Council approached them recently about the membership changes, from what I've heard we were told that the most we could expect would be somewhere around $10,000.  That's 5% of what we had been receiving 15 years ago, and our Council decided it wasn't worth the effort to let people think the United Way supports the Council when in reality they wouldn't be supporting the Council in any significant way.

 

So a Council can survive cuts from the United Way, but it takes work.  If I were you I'd be asking around locally why the local United Way is making this decision.  There must be some reason.  Here's the info from our Council from 15 years ago: 

http://journaltimes.com/news/state-and-regional/united-way-groups-debate-scout-funding/article_24547915-db12-51e8-a41f-60aabbb8e7ca.html

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BSA National is funded by corporate donations, product sales (publications, uniforms, etc) and registration fees from individual members.  Councils are independent non-profit corporations and are responsible for their own funding, i.e., if United Way contributions dry up, it has no effect on National.  Local SE/DE salaries are funded from Council FOS campaigns and popcorn sales and whatever local corporate donors the SE can schmooze.  I had assumed the United Way thing had become moot with the BSA change in policy.

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United Way cut back funding for our council several years ago, not because of membership policies but because of a philosophy change to target and support "advancing the common good by mobilizing our community around education, income, and health with the ultimate goal of graduating kids. Together we are ensuring kids enter and graduate from school prepared for work and life, families are increasing financial stability and independence, and people are increasing access to health care, nutrition, and healthy environments. United Way believes the success and sustainability of our community are dependent on these areas."

 

This was not great news for the Council, but I think it actually was the right decision for the community.  Today the Council receives United Way funds primarily to support Scoutreach and they have strong accountability standards that really make the program demonstrate is efficacy in exchange for funding.

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BSA National is funded by corporate donations, product sales (publications, uniforms, etc) and registration fees from individual members.  Councils are independent non-profit corporations and are responsible for their own funding, i.e., if United Way contributions dry up, it has no effect on National.  Local SE/DE salaries are funded from Council FOS campaigns and popcorn sales and whatever local corporate donors the SE can schmooze.  I had assumed the United Way thing had become moot with the BSA change in policy.

 

Those of us who were around during the Owasippe struggle might laugh at the suggestion that councils are independent.

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I think the real problem is going to be the new laws coming out of the Department of Labor effecting overtime pay for those making less than $913 per week or $47,476 annually.  That could most easily be our District Executives and below professional staffers.   And what about hiring staffers for summer camps?  They easily put in more than eight hours a day.

Edited by cchoat

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Our local United Way stopped funding our council shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on membership policy, so probably 2001-2002.  Right around that same time the council merged with another council, but I believe that was in the works (and maybe even completed) before the UW decision, so I do not think there was a direct cause-and-effect.  Since that time there have been several district mergers, and I suspect the loss of UW funding and other corporate-type funding did play a role in that.  A few years ago a neighboring council shut its doors, and although I am not familiar with that ex-council's finances, and I don't know whether the UW in that area cut off funding (if I had to guess it would be yes, but I don't know), it is logical to suspect that a loss of corporate-type funding in general, as well as declining membership, had a lot to do with it.

 

I do not know whether our local UW ever restored funding after the policy was changed.

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I think the real problem is going to be the new laws coming out of the Department of Labor effecting overtime pay for those making less than $913 per week or $47,476 annually.  That could most easily be our District Executives and below professional staffers.   And what about hiring staffers for summer camps?  They easily put in more than eight hours a day.

Summer camp staff workers were never classified as exempt employees. This change won't effect them.

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Those of us who were around during the Owasippe struggle might laugh at the suggestion that councils are independent.

 

Well, they are more independent in one direction than the other.  They are "independent" in the sense of being "on their own" financially, which is what scoutldr was talking about.  (In other words, National does not give councils any money.)  The councils are not so independent when National wants to exert control, which they can do by threatening to suspend/revoke a council's charter and possibly other ways that I am not aware of. 

 

It is not that dissimilar to any franchising situation.  The McDonald's down the street is probably owned by a corporation or other entity that is independent from the national McDonald's, but if they stop paying their franchising fee or otherwise violate their franchise agreement, they will lose the right to use the name or logo of McDonald's.  That does not end their independence as a corporation, but now it is a corporation that owns an empty restraurant.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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District and council mergers are more than inevitable.  It's a good idea.  Major changes have happened in the last 20 years.  Most of the key things councils and districts did before are much much much easier to do today.  

  • Roundtable mtgs are mostly now optional as technology solves most training, communication, calendaring and other details.
  • Most paperwork is now online and automatic.  Online advancement, rechartering, membership reports, event sign-up, merit badge counselor renewal.  

I think it's a good idea because there is a critical mass of staff, events and resources to make a great council.  I am so extremely impressed with my local council, but they need a full staff.  1 exec.  5 or more directors.  Many lower staffers.  I'd bet we have 1 to 1000 youth full-time staffer ratio.  A good set of camps.  I doubt we'd be as good a council if we were only 5000 youth. 

 

If councils don't want to merge, maybe they should merge resources or departments ?

  • IT departments ?
  • Registrars?
  • Advertising, communications, advancement, etc ?

IMHO, BSA has too many councils.  I'm not sure which should not be there or how to re-do it.  But there are 272 councils.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_local_councils_of_the_Boy_Scouts_of_America

 

Perhaps a general rule should be established.  

  • Councils should have more than 20,000 youth members ?  
  • Districts should have ??? units and/or ??? youth members ?
Edited by fred johnson

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District and council mergers are more than inevitable.  It's a good idea.  Major changes have happened in the last 20 years.  Most of the key things councils and districts did before are much much much easier to do today.  

  • Roundtable mtgs are mostly now optional as technology solves most training, communication, calendaring and other details.
  • Most paperwork is now online and automatic.  Online advancement, rechartering, membership reports, event reports, merit badge counselor renewal.  

If councils don't want to merge, maybe they should merge resources or departments ?

  • IT departments ?
  • Registrars?
  • Advertising, communications, advancement, etc ?

I am so extremely impressed with my local council, but they need a full staff.  1 exec.  5 or more directors.  Many lower staffers.  I'd bet we have 1 to 1000 youth full-time staffer ratio.  

 

IMHO, BSA has too many councils.  I'm not sure which should not be there or how to re-do it.  But there are 272 councils.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_local_councils_of_the_Boy_Scouts_of_America

 

Perhaps a general rule should be established.  

  • Councils should have more than 20,000 youth members ?  
  • Districts should have ??? units and/or ??? youth members ?

 

 

An inconvenient truth, merging councils does not grow total membership.Three years later, the membership sum of that geographic area will be less than the membership of its original parts.

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Hard times are ahead, the economy hasn't improved in the last nine years. Typically the first place that suffers when budgets tighten are donations to non-prophets.

 

Barry

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UW dropped our council I think a decade ago.  Apparently not the BSA membership policy but the fact UW's funding was down and they knew our council wasn't hurting for $s as much as other non-profits in our area.  It also wasn't big $s to begin with so the cut wasn't severe.  Council $s are actually up here; partially since some corp matching $s have been reestablished with the change in the membership policy.

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I'm all for a leaner council.

 

I still see the value of the council, but I do not approve of their expensive tastes (not all councils, but definitely some).  Salaries.  Bloated/inefficient staffs.  Edifices built for themselves, and then they ask the volunteers to pay the bill.   Without previous consulting the volunteers regarding their opinion on the matter.

 

Some council staffs are already cut to the bone and working day/night.   Bless them.   The others:   they know who they are :)

 

Exception:   I'm all for raising DE salaries, or at least paying them a decently hour wage that reflects how many hours they really are working.   True, not all DEs are stars, but the ones that are deserve every penny they earn.   I'm shocked at how poorly some DEs are treated by council staff.

 

Thankfully, real scouting happens at the local, volunteer level.   We'll be okay.

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