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Just now, TAHAWK said:

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[img]https://i.imgur.com/3up0W1K.png[/img]

Lol...at the unit level, concur...and IMHO, this should be the case for district and council level events for units.  This is a great role for the OA!

And as I shared in a previous post, our PLC had planned and geared up to staff/run several stations at two separate district events, and were waved off at last minute by district committee volunteers who said ,"We have enough adults to run things now."  Our PLC corporate memory still bears a bit of scar tissue from that.  I don't blame them...

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I struggle though with how to reconcile the gains and successes we've had as a country in the last 50 years.  Even in my lifetime, I see a noticeable difference in the amount of racism and increase in

We're talking different things here. I started my comments in this thread saying that national needs to reduce fees.  I believe that $15-$20 a month for dues is too much - but mostly because ther

A friend of mine is an accountant and did see the books. There is no accounting system set up for my council. There is only one account. Nobody could ask, for example, what is the net on a summer camp

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26 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Nor do they have to provide you copies.  This was a speed bump, but I understand they don't need to spend time making copies.  So, I asked if it would be scanned to a file.  No, definitely not, was the answer.  Now the speed bump is a road block.  So I just wait until items are available on Charity Navigator or GuideStar and then distribute for public information.  This is part of why I am blacklisted.  I see it as just facilitating transparency ;)

Depends on the state. Texas says yes copies, but you have to pay a "reasonable fee".

But again, the idea is that if you want to go to Council during regular business hours and ask for the "records, books, and reports" of the Council, you are entitled to do so in a majority of states. And while they don't have to provide copies (or in states like Texas must provide for a "Reasonable fee") go grab your cell phone camera and start taking pictures of the documents.

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In addition to annual filings required under the Internal Revenue Code, many states also require annual financial statements to be filed or made available to the public as well.66 As with for-profit entities, state laws typically require that a nonprofit’s leadership meet regularly and maintain minutes of actions taken.67

66.See, e.g.ARK.CODE ANN.§4 -28-403(2018);MASS.GEN.LAWS CH.12,§8F(2017);N.C.GEN.STAT.§55A-16-24(2018);OR.REV.STAT.§128.670(2017);TEX.BUS.ORG.CODE ANN.§22.353(2017).

67.See, e.g.ALA.CODE §§10A-2.13,2.32(2018);ALASKA STAT.§§10.20.116,131(2018);ARIZ.REV.STAT.ANN.§§10.3820,11601(2018);ARK.CODE ANN.§4-28 -218(2018);CAL.CORP.CODE §6320(WEST 2018);COLO.REV.STAT.§§7-128-201,136-101(2018);CONN.GEN.STAT.§§33-1095,1235(2018);DEL.CODE ANN. TIT.8,§224(2018);D.C.CODE §§29-406.20,413.01(2018);FLA.STAT.§§617.0820,1601(2018);GA.CODE ANN.§§14-3-820,1601(2018);HAW.REV.STAT.§§414D-143,301(2018);IDAHO CODE §§30-6-1101,30 -612(2018);ILL.COMP.STAT.805ILCS105/§§107.75,108.20(2018);IND.CODE §§23-17 -15-1,27-1(2018);IOWA CODE §§504.821,1601(2019);KY.REV.STAT.ANN.§§273.223,233(2018);KAN.STAT.ANN.§§17-6301,6514(2018);LA.STAT.ANN.§§12:223,224(2018);ME.REV.STAT.ANN. TIT.13-B,§§705,715(2018);MD.CODE ANN.,CORP.&ASSN.,§2-409(LEXISNEXIS 2018);MASS.GEN.LAWS CH.156B,§§32,56(2017);MICH.COMP.LAWS §§450.2485,2521(2017);MINN.STAT.§§317A.231,461(2018);MISS.CODE ANN.§§79-11 -255,283(2018);MO.REV.STAT.§§355.376,821(2018);MONT.CODE ANN.§§35-2-427,906(2017);NEB.REV.STAT.§§21-1980,19165(2018);NEV.REV.STAT.§§82.181,266(2018);N.J.STAT.ANN.§§15A:5-24,6- 10(2018);N.M.STAT.ANN.§§53-8-22,27(2018);N.Y.NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORP.LAW §§621,710(2018);N.C.GEN.STAT.§§55A-8-20,16 -01(2018);N.D.CENT.CODE §§10-33-39,80(2018);OHIO REV.CODE ANN.§§1702.15,31(2018);OKLA.STAT.TIT.18,§§1027,1069(2017);OR.REV.STAT.§§65.337,771(2017);15PA.CONS.STAT.§§1508,1703(2018);7R.I.GEN.LAWS §§7-6-27,30(2018);S.C.CODE ANN.§§33-31-820,1601(2018);S.D.CODIFIED LAWS §§47-23-21,24 -1(2018);TENN.CODE ANN.§§48-58-201,66-101(2018);TEX.BUS.ORG.CODE ANN.§§22.220,351(2017);UTAH CODE ANN.§§16-6A-812,1601(2018);VT.STAT.ANN. TIT.11B,§§8.20,16.01(2018);VA.CODE ANN.§§13.1-864,932(2018);WASH.REV.CODE §§24.03.120,135 (2018);W.VA.CODE §§31E-8-820,15-1501(2018);WIS.STAT.§§181.0820,1601(2019);WYO.STAT.ANN.§§17-19 -820,1601(2018)

Trautman, Lawrence J. and Ford, Janet (2019) "Nonprofit Governance: The Basics," Akron Law Review: Vol. 52 : Iss. 4 , Article 2. Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol52/iss4/2

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3 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

Again, have you asked your council? As I noted in at least 1/2 of states you are allowed to inspect their books and/or audited financial statement BY LAW. You want to get into budget line items? Go right ahead.

But the problem is we have people who say a) I don't want all the details but b) I want assurances that the money is not going somewhere I, personally, don't think it should be going to (camp wifi).

You can't have it both ways. You want the information, file a request under your state laws and show up at council (the laws say you can inspect, it does NOT say they have to mail it to you).

A friend of mine is an accountant and did see the books. There is no accounting system set up for my council. There is only one account. Nobody could ask, for example, what is the net on a summer camp? Is it making money or losing money? Each camp should have it's own account, I'd think. So yes, we have repeatedly asked and repeatedly gotten nowhere. One of the council staff is solely funded on volunteer run events bringing in enough extra money to cover this person's salary. So does this mean the "budget" covers salary for all staff? Who knows?

But this still evades the issue of value. What are we getting for $600/scout/year? Nobody can answer that question because there's just one giant pot of money.

5 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Beyond that, I wonder - what should a council do to help volunteers organize camporees?

When I was the district camping chair, one thing I asked for was the ability to have my own pot of money. If I bring in extra money on one event then the next I could charge less. The goal would have been for the district to spend all the money it brought in. Instead, we were forced to start over for every event and also pay a tax to the council to cover salaries of paid staff. Also, giving us some storage would be nice so we wouldn't have to borrow from troops. Collecting pioneering poles from thinning out the trees on camp property. Not having to pay for rope out of my own pocket would have been nice. Replacing the axle on the canoe trailer so we could use the canoes at a camporee would have been nice. A really nice one would be to encourage DEs to support district staffs for doing things like ordering patches, showing up and encouraging events. Maybe if the emphasis was on supporting units, and that's what camporees are intended for, the DE's might notice that a great way to help district camping chairs would be to get them together once in a while to share ideas. They could pass around entire camporee themes and really make it much easier on those district volunteers.

It all gets back to misplaced priorities. My council, because it's focus is on itself and not the units, got itself in a money bind that has since forced the entire staff to spend most of it's time begging for money rather than supporting volunteers. By support I mean asking them what they're struggling with and then helping them find solutions. The basic idea of the scout program is pick an outdoor skill, make a game of it, play the game, repeat. The hard part is keeping it fresh. The council should be helping with that.

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10 hours ago, MattR said:

A friend of mine is an accountant and did see the books. There is no accounting system set up for my council...So yes, we have repeatedly asked and repeatedly gotten nowhere.

No accounting system? At all? Then how do they report their IRS 990s?

If they have no accounting system at all, then your Council is in violation of at least half a dozen state and/or federal laws regarding charities/not-for-profits. Pick up the phone. Call the police. Call the state secretary of state and/or whoever has oversight over charities in your state.. Call the IRS.

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10 hours ago, MattR said:

When I was the district camping chair, one thing I asked for was the ability to have my own pot of money. If I bring in extra money on one event then the next I could charge less.

This is to my understanding not a Council issue but BSA. Districts are not allowed to have their own accounts/fund or to keep/retain money. ALL funds are directed or revert to Council.

To confirm yes, all funds raised in the name of Scouting are Council's (other than unit fundraising) or National's. You therefore are not permitted to maintain your own accounts/"pot of money."

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11 hours ago, MattR said:

When I was the district camping chair, one thing I asked for was the ability to have my own pot of money. If I bring in extra money on one event then the next I could charge less. The goal would have been for the district to spend all the money it brought in. Instead, we were forced to start over for every event and also pay a tax to the council to cover salaries of paid staff. Also, giving us some storage would be nice so we wouldn't have to borrow from troops. Collecting pioneering poles from thinning out the trees on camp property. Not having to pay for rope out of my own pocket would have been nice. Replacing the axle on the canoe trailer so we could use the canoes at a camporee would have been nice. A really nice one would be to encourage DEs to support district staffs for doing things like ordering patches, showing up and encouraging events. Maybe if the emphasis was on supporting units, and that's what camporees are intended for, the DE's might notice that a great way to help district camping chairs would be to get them together once in a while to share ideas. They could pass around entire camporee themes and really make it much easier on those district volunteers.

Thanks.  That's the kind of thing I was looking for.  

Districts really do need to be able to build up some funds and equipment to improve the programs.  Districts are where units and Scouts most interact with Scouting outside of their unit.  In my mind this isn't all that expensive to do either.  The only real expense to any of this is a little bit of staff time.

Allocating some percentage of program fees to districts to build up local equipment I suspect would go a long way too.  To your point - buying rope, fixing the axle - these are small things that a modest expenditure from program fees would allow for.

Perhaps if national required that when a program fee is collected, some % be allocated to districts for equipment and expenses to strengthen programming.

 

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24 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

This is to my understanding not a Council issue but BSA. Districts are not allowed to have their own accounts/fund or to keep/retain money. ALL funds are directed or revert to Council.

To confirm yes, all funds raised in the name of Scouting are Council's (other than unit fundraising) or National's. You therefore are not permitted to maintain your own accounts/"pot of money."

Sort of.

Districts are not separate from councils.  In the BSA structure, a district is just a subdivision of a council.  The council can maintain a fund which has money left over from last year, but different parts of a council don't immediately just have an account with left over money.  i.e., the council camporee doesn't have left over funds it can spend next time.  Districts are no different than any other part of the council.

The challenge for districts is that they don't tend to advocate for funds from the council budgeting process that really could improve their programming.  Assuming most councils are like mine, districts maintain very meager budget items because they simply don't have a seat at the table and request those funds.  It's a sort of institutional neglect that goes on.  Council budget committees are not accustomed to asking districts for this info.  Districts are not used to advocating for it.  I see it in our council clearly - both volunteer teams (district programming & council budget) are doing what they think is expected and don't realize that there are questions not being asked.  The DEs facilitate this process because they know to simply play the game as defined.  

This is an area where the BSA could do a better job.  Instead of setting up a system where districts need to go fight the council budgeting process, they could setup a system where the expectation is that council budget committees are actively trying to determine what funds districts need.  This would require a mind shift, but it is one that I suspect long term would be well worthwhile.

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13 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Districts really do need to be able to build up some funds and equipment to improve the programs. 

Districts don't exist. They are appendages of the Councils for legal and financial purposes.

To allow districts to function this way you'd have to amend at least 4 provisions of the BSA Charter that specify that the authority to raise and posses funds in the name of Scouting is extended to districts (right now it is limited to National and Councils). They would also be required to become their own independent charities and register as such under IRS requirements.

In other words, it is never going to happen.

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4 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

This is an area where the BSA could do a better job.  Instead of setting up a system where districts need to go fight the council budgeting process, they could setup a system where the expectation is that council budget committees are actively trying to determine what funds districts need

BSA already has this in place if Councils and Districts would use it.

https://www.scouting.org/council-support/finance-impact/financial-planning/budget-building-materials/

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11 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

BSA already has this in place if Councils and Districts would use it.

https://www.scouting.org/council-support/finance-impact/financial-planning/budget-building-materials/

Right.

I've been through the budgeting process from a district perspective a few times.  What I noticed in that was that the council team is well established.  The district team doesn't even know how to navigate this process.  When I last did it, the council budget committee turned to the accountant in the office for info, the accountant turned to the DE.  The DE turned to the district chair and said "here's what I'm submitting - what do you think?". The district chair is new enough that they don't know that they should even be advocating for something more.

What is really needed is either:

  • a council budget committee that wants to build a strong district funding approach
  • a district committee who knows the process and can effectively advocate for their needs

I do believe the current system can function to allow for districts to get better funding.  However, it is not setup to encourage stronger funding of districts.  This is where I think national can really help.  They could create a small series of info sessions/trainings that highlight how a district should get funded.  They could create information on what a good district budget looks like.  In short, I think National could show some leadership on the topic - help all the volunteers who make this work to better understand how to create effective funding mechanisms that show value to scouts.

Edited by ParkMan
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On 1/12/2021 at 4:28 PM, CynicalScouter said:

Depends on the council. For councils that do not have facilities and camps (mine doesn't) FOS is for basic council operations.

Regarding youth supporting basic council operations: my crew had lots of interactions with professional staff at council HQ and at VOA activities. We considered those interactions as part of their leadership training. The pros were mostly positive role models for my crew. One DE even had a spare sleeping bag for a venturer who had forgot hers. (He explained that he had just come from a cub event, and having such stuff was par for the course.)  So, if put upon, I think my youth at the time would have been open to fundraising to support what you all consider "basic operations." The the boys in troops, however, have less interaction with pro's so they can't put a name or face to who they'd be supporting.

When I was a scout, the DE was father of kids in my youth group. So, I could see us also fundraising to support him if folks told us he needed it. But, back the deep pockets proudly giving to BSA were ubiquitous.

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When I gave my FOS pitches, I always took our DE with me.  Most of the parents only saw a pleasant - appearing young man but aso saw the Commissioned Scouters present  smiling at him (reflecting their positive experiences).   That gave maning to my report on the hours he put in, units he helped form, and units he had helped survivie times of crisis.  We led the council all three yeasr in FOS donations, exceeding our "goal" each year.

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20 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

When I gave my FOS pitches, I always took our DE with me.  Most of the parents only saw a pleasant - appearing young man but aso saw the Commissioned Scouters present  smiling at him (reflecting their positive experiences).   That gave maning to my report on the hours he put in, units he helped form, and units he had helped survivie times of crisis.  We led the council all three yeasr in FOS donations, exceeding our "goal" each year.

Just thinking about this...and please help me flesh out these thoughts...

The IRS allows individuals to receive monetary gifts, up to a certain amount, tax free.  I have often thought units might give (even anonymously) gifts to value-added council employees to support them directly.  2020 & 2021 exclusion is $15K.

Give privately, so council doesn't reduce their salaries.

Having done Lone Scouting in various locations around the world (registration and support processes through electronic means), and with Scoutbook and Scoutshop on line, I can see a future for unit-level Scouting without the need for a district/council structure.

We ran our own Summer Camp.  Kids loved it.  Agree that many units would not be able to mount that sort of effort.

Maybe "Council" should just be centered around the Summer Camp (or a long-term camping experience).  Now that I think of it, that is where most of our council's expenditures are (outside of salaries) anyway.  (So, if we have a full-time paid Camp Director on staff, why should the SE be making a salary that puts them in the top 7% economic bracket, nation-wide??  The SE isn't the one managing the top expenditure in the council, the Camp Director is.  Hmmmm)

Training done regionally...maybe with smaller regional area divisions, supported by National???

What to do about insurance, though...we do need that support...

Again, musings...have a great weekend.   Going camping now ;)

 

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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Our Area does training annually (probably not this Spring), including all "basic" and a wide range of "other" training.  Any Scouter is free to attend, but publicity could be better.

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