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What percentage of fundraising do you give back to the Friends of Scouting program?


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Hello Scouters,

I am new to this forum so please excuse the question if it has already been asked and answered.  Recently our Troop had a mulch sale.  After the mulch sale and after we paid off all of our expenses the troop raised close to $5000 in profits.  This was our first real fundraiser in two years, due to COVID restrictions, and our troop desperately needed the money for equipment and summer camp stipends.  I wanted to donate some of profit back to our Chartered Organization, the facility that let us use their parking lot for the day, and to the "Friends of Scouting" program.  My intention was to give each entity 5% of the profits (around $250 to the CO, the warehouse and to the Friends of Scouting). 

I recently received a message from a district representative running the Friends of Scouting program to let me know that he was very disappointed in our contribution based off of the profit we obtained.  He told me that typically all fundraisers give back to the District around 40% of the profits.  I was shocked by this.  I based our donation off of the previous donations given by our former Committee Chair who ran the same fundraiser two years ago.  At that time the FoS program gladly accepted the donation.  Although I am new to the troop, I am hard pressed to believe that with no involvement in our troop fundraiser whatsoever, a district rep would expect 40% of the profits.  But I will admit, I am too new to Scouting and to the fundraising norms of this organization.  So I have come here to this community to ask, what % of your fundraising profits do you typically give back to the FoS or to the districts?  By the way, I am not talking about pop-corm sales or camp card sales because we do plan on doing that as a fundraiser in the fall.  This is a fundraiser that was Troop and Scout led.

Kind regards

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9 minutes ago, MattySchnides said:

He told me that typically all fundraisers give back to the District around 40% of the profits. 

Welcome @MattySchnides!

Zero percent!!!!!!!!

And the DE response is laughable.🤣

Units do not exist to provide a cash cow for the council.

Give them zero and ignore any other correspondence on the matter.

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This makes me so mad. A simple "thank you for thinking of us" would've been nice. We never give our council a cent. Whatever fundraisers we hold outside of popcorn/camp cards, our committee decides what we should do and how much we should give. He can take his disappointment and shove it. 

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We live near a big pharma corporation.  Several parents work for them.  When the parents donate volunteer time to our Troop, the company will also make a $500 donation to the non-profit who sponsors you. 

We asked our chartering organization if they were fine with us using their EIN for IRS reporting purposes.  They gave us enthusiastic approval.

The first year we did this, the corporation sent the check, payable to our unit, to our local council.  Fortunately, someone in accounting caught it, instead of trying to deposit it for the council.

The council Director of Development was livid, and tried to pressure us into giving them the money.

Not only NO, but "H" "E" double-toothpicks NO.

I picked up the check from the council office with a big smile.

Scout on!

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Posted (edited)

I can see how they had a major cow over that , they feel any thing done in the name of scouting belongs to them. I have seen  this before when troops would get donations form  bigger chains then the  chains would  tells friend of scouting campaigns that they have already given there allotment to scouts (troops). 

I would be interested to see how this plays off next year.as the Troop did not solicit solute the company ,but only benefited from a company worker policy.

PS about how much are we talking here?

 

john

Edited by jcousino
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8 minutes ago, jcousino said:

I can see how they had a major cow over that , they feel any thing done in the name of scouting belongs to them. I have seen  this before when troops would get donations form  bigger chains then the  chains would  tells friend of scouting campaigns that they have already given there allotment to scouts (troops). 

I would be interested to see how this plays off next year.as the Troop did not solicit solute the company ,but only benefited from a company worker policy.

PS about how much are we talking here?

 

john

Exactly, we did not solicit the donation.  Units may accept any and all unsolicited donations. 

Make sure you never give the council's or national's EIN when doing this, otherwise, the money is technically theirs!!  And use your CO's EIN only with permission!!  It's an IRS reporting thing ;)

We are talking several thousand dollars.  $500 per employee per year...  YMMV

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As has been noted, the challenge is the Council / District feels the units are there to support them, not the way it should be; the Council and District supporting the units.  In our unit we have asked the question, what value does the council actually bring to our unit on a regular basis.  There are the normal answers DE support (we never see the DE), ability to bring Scouting to the under served (that seems like a good cause until you really dive in and see what that actually is)

In recent years there was the pandemic and the Council offered little to no input or advice, during the bankruptcy there has been zero communications on what is going on, with the issue with Methodist Churches as continuing chartered partners no guidance or support, when the registration basically doubled there was not real input or details on why.  We are a large council, staff of close to 70, and the marketing and support is non-existent.  An impossible task would be to find out how many ACTUAL youth are in the Cubs / Scouts / Explorers.  That data is nowhere.

I was at a celebration of a troop's long tenure a couple of weeks back.  They had a Field Director there, and he spoke and was talking about how he knew Scouting was strong.  I expected some details on new units, youth involvement growth, nights camping....nope...indicator was about how much money was raised in X hours at a big council dinner.  That's your metric, money being raised.  

You owe them nothing and you were generous to make a donation.  

DE deserves no further thoughts on your part.

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When we stopped doing popcorn as unit fundraisers simply because sales were declining, we pursued other fundraisers and then still gave council/FOS a modest lump sum from each unit. It was generally around $250 per. We heard similar noises because our new fundraising options were more successful,  but it was about the same as what they had been getting with popcorn and we had asked them come up with some other fundraiser options, which they had refused to do. A thank you would have been much nicer. 

This is an inherent problem in the BSA structure which manifests itself when it comes to fundraising and local support. BSA, Councils, and units should be on the same page, not separate pages, when it comes to fundraising. Units are preventing from picking low hanging fruit in their own communities because Councils don't want them asking anyone for support. However, my local pizzeria will not give $ to Council. Never will. It's not their target market. But they will give $, or at least $ in the form of pizzas, to the local scouts they know come through their doors the same as they will do for the local PTA or soccer team. 

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Rather than give any money to the council I'd suggest going to one of the camps, ask them what they need that's worth about $250 and go buy it for them. They will be thankful. Do not give them the money and do not give it to the council saying it's for the camp as the camp will never see it. This is my experience.

In the meantime, tell the guy that told you the 40% fable that the deal is off the table because they lied to you. Nobody pays 40%, not even for popcorn - that has a built in 33% that goes to the council.

<end of rant>

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, MattySchnides said:

what % of your fundraising profits do you typically give back to the FoS or to the districts?  By the way, I am not talking about pop-corm sales or camp card sales because we do plan on doing that as a fundraiser in the fall.  This is a fundraiser that was Troop and Scout led.

Zero is the answer from my unit, and I've never heard of a unit giving any.  I've been doing this for a long time, and have had several council board members who are also adult leaders in our unit.  We do allow/invite a council rep to do an FOS ask at our spring COH, and our troop families give.  We support popcorn sales, but we don't push hard for it as it's not a primary fundraiser for us.  Broadly we're very supportive of our council and have good relations with them, so I'm not saying this as someone with an antagonistic relationship with council.

A couple additional thoughts and questions.  It is always important to remember that when you are fundraising you are technically fundraising for your Chartered Organization which owns your unit and its funds.  The money doesn't belong to the troop it belongs to the CO who is allowing the troop to use its funds.  Before you give any significant amount of money to anyone, especially council, you should make sure that's what they want done with their money.  If council wants your CO to give them $2000 then they should ask the CO directly.  This is the first thing I would respond to any council type making this kind of ask.

The next thought I have is how did anyone even know how much you made.  Again, this is your CO's money and your CO's business.  I know the Unit Earning Application asks some questions about this, but you can be very vague in answering.  Me, I just don't answer, but if pressed I would be mostly vague and direct them to my CO; again it's their money and it's not really for me to be disclosing their finances. 

The final thought I have is wondering who actually had this conversation with you.  By your description I'm guessing it was the volunteer in charge of FOS and not necessarily a paid council professional.  It's worth remembering that means he is someone not necessarily completely versed in how councils should interact with units and isn't necessarily following direct guidance from the Council Scout Exec.

Edited by T2Eagle
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2 hours ago, MattR said:

Rather than give any money to the council I'd suggest going to one of the camps, ask them what they need that's worth about $250 and go buy it for them. They will be thankful. Do not give them the money and do not give it to the council saying it's for the camp as the camp will never see it. This is my experience.

Unless they go to that camp, and take all the equipment that has been donated to maintain it. Yes that happened. They even took some personal gear that volunteers left because they were doing multi-weekend projects.

 

2 hours ago, MattR said:

In the meantime, tell the guy that told you the 40% fable that the deal is off the table because they lied to you. Nobody pays 40%, not even for popcorn - that has a built in 33% that goes to the council.

<end of rant>

Agree. 33% of COUNCIL Fundraisers is the norm. Unit fundraisers are for the unit.

 

2 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

 I know the Unit Earning Application ...

What's a Unit Earning Application? :) Seriously, I have turned in some, and never got them back. Quit filling it out.

 

2 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

The final thought I have is wondering who actually had this conversation with you.  By your description I'm guessing it was the volunteer in charge of FOS and not necessarily a paid council professional.  It's worth remembering that means he is someone not necessarily completely versed in how councils should interact with units and isn't necessarily following direct guidance from the Council Scout Exec.

Sometimes  the volunteer IS following the directions of the professional. Some Pros are jerks.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

What's a Unit Earning Application? :)Seriously, I have turned in some, and never got them back. Quit filling it out.

For years I pretended I didn't know they existed, two years ago I was getting frantic calls from my DE begging me to finally fill one out.  We have two troop fundraisers a year, I fill out an application for one of them. :)

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, MattR said:

Rather than give any money to the council I'd suggest going to one of the camps, ask them what they need that's worth about $250 and go buy it for them. They will be thankful. Do not give them the money and do not give it to the council saying it's for the camp as the camp will never see it. This is my experience.

In the meantime, tell the guy that told you the 40% fable that the deal is off the table because they lied to you. Nobody pays 40%, not even for popcorn - that has a built in 33% that goes to the council.

<end of rant>

I agree gave over $5000 dollars in in kind gift to my camp over the last year or so i will never give cash to the council no control on how it is spend?

Edited by jcousino
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We never sent any Troop fundraising money to council. We do camp cards & popcorn & they get their share of that. We also allow a FOS rep to come & give his presentation to the parents at COH or Blue & Gold. Whether they give is up to them. I do let the parents know ahead of time that a FOS rep will be there on that night and they can give, or not, as they feel led.

If I had offered the council FOS a gift from our Troop fundraiser and got that kind of response, I would have rescinded the gift if possible. If I couldn't rescind it, I would make sure they knew that we wouldn't be doing that again, in any dollar amount.

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