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BadenP

The New Scouting Collectors Coins

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All the income goes into the pot and all the expenses are paid out of the pot. If you take away all the income generated through merchandise sales, either by discontinuing certain products, or by reducing prices to match costs, thus generating no "profit", that lost income will will have to be replaced through something else, or the pot will slowly empty. This isn't rocket science.

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It very well could be the money doesn't go into the big pot, but rather a designated pot. For instance, the professional pension fund is rumored to be funded from National Supply profits.

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FScouter - But what's the expense of conceptualizing, creating, manufacturing and stocking all these gee-gaws and doo-dads? You've got to pay a designer, a craftsman, a machinist, an assembly-line worker and a stockroom and shipping clerk, in some form or another - either contracting or paying them directly. You're giving more work to attorneys who have to handle licensing and contract issues and accounting people who have to handle additional items and entries.

 

So for a $69.99 collectible coin, how much is National actually pocketing to go to the pension fund or reduce registration fees or whatnot? Is it worth it?

 

Or could Irving perhaps get more accomplished for America's youth by focusing its energies on tents and packs instead of cummerbunds and coins?

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The most expensive part of scouting is paying for the local program..........National registration is $10. For my $10 I see a nice website with on line training. definately useful.

 

 

I am going to bet that BSA has a number of companies under its umbrella......A publishing company.....A clothing manufacture......the actual BSA......Franchising.........Education......

 

Just guessing of course. I doubt that all of that money goes into one big pot to reduce the the cost of joining.

 

 

I am going to bet that BSA's finances are very complicated and how the money comes and goes would be a tangled trail.

 

 

 

 

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"But what's the expense of conceptualizing, creating, manufacturing and stocking all these gee-gaws and doo-dads?"

 

Everything sold has those expenses, not just coins or party favors or non-outdoor items. One sets a sell price to cover the direct costs, and the indirect costs, and generate a profit. Why would anyone think the coins or doodads or whatever are being sold at a loss?

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I took a gander through the reproduction 1911 Scout Handbook (an excellent Christmas gift), and there are companies still alive today who advertised in the handbook. Their products were offered at a reduced price for Scouts, and they helped pay for advertising.

 

I'd love to see corporate sponsorship again.

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FScouter,

 

I never suggested that the pieces of overpriced crap were being sold at a loss. The question I asked was what's the actual return on investment? In other words, does it make sense for National to spend all that time and energy on creating a bunch of new items every year that only a tiny handful of people will ever click the button or fill in the form to order - when it could be spending time and energy on outdoor equipment and program resources that its members will actually use?

 

It's especially head-shaking-worthy when you look at the fundraising strategies of other youth-oriented nonprofits. Do you see the YMCA or the Boys & Girls Clubs of America publishing a catalog offering logo-emblazoned cummerbunds, crystal and clocks?

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I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they are probably trying to figure out the best way to make money, just as any business would do. I don't see what the big deal is - if you don't like it, don't buy it.

 

I don't want the BSA trying to design outdoor equipment - and I think they are doing a much better job of offering actual name brand high quality camping items.

 

The YMCA does have at least some items....http://dallas.ymcastorefront.com/pc-531-32-blue-1gb-mp3-player.aspx

as do the Boys and Girls Clubs (specifically listed under 'fundraising')

http://www.bgccnp.com/fundraising-2011/merchandise

 

And I doubt I'm finding the really fancy stuff that they use to recognize their top volunteers.

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Sooner or later you have to figure the guys on the other side of the ball are getting paid too. The ONLY reason they're spending time, money and effort on this junk is for the profit potential.

 

One of the digs against Supply division is they've hired a bunch of retail merchandising folks who have no real understanding of the BSA program. Witness: all the uniform and program gaffs which show up in catalog photos. My underlying assumption is they're making a boat-load of money on this crap, otherwise they'd never touch it. I rather imagine folks in meetings at supply grumbling about how much money they loose having to devote retail space to all these low margin badges and books....

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I know our council has a varity of thank you gifts for large dollar FOS gifts --- I think I heard our DE say this included tokens of some kind.

 

I wonder if some councils might buy stuff like this for that kind of purpose?

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Oak Tree,

 

The B&G club stuff you linked to was produced by a local club, not the national organization, and consisted of small items - a t-shirt, mug, water bottle, daypack, etc. Ditto for the YMCA items.

 

An organization can commission high-falutin' stuff to give to its donors, sure. But to hawk it to its members - many of whom are having difficulty in their families paying bills or finding a job - creates a huge psychological disconnect between National and the grassroots.

 

In another year or so, all the 100th anniversary junk that was ordered but never purchased is going to go on sale when they realize that people aren't buying it. Maybe then I can pick up a pair of cufflinks for cheap, eh?

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Somehow a bunch of other companies sell stuff like this - take a look at any family magazine and check out the ads. I'm with Twocub - I'm pretty sure they're making money at this. The excess inventory is accounted for in their business plan. People complain that Supply sells too much overpriced stuff, and then they complain that Supply is going to have to sell it all at a loss. So are they making too much money, or too little? Do any of us actually know how it would compare to some similar retail operation?

 

This just seems like an odd thing to complain about, I guess. I'm trying to understand what the real concern is. I can understand if the complaint is that the uniform is too expensive, or low quality, because those are things you pretty much have to buy. But the people buying these presumably know what they are getting. The organization is presumably making money doing it (and supply division does show a profit that gets put into the BSA kitty). So some consumers are getting something that they want, and BSA is getting something that it wants.

 

I don't think BSA is entirely like the other organizations listed above (YMCA and BGCA). They do both put on programs for kids, but the YMCA has a lot of members who pay standard fees for membership (hundreds of dollars a year), and they have way more paid staff than Boy Scouts. BCGA is funded much more by donations - they look to funded by a lot of large corporate donations, and they also have a lot of paid staff - 51,000 (this program appears to be most similar to the BSA's Scoutreach program). In both of these cases the program is typically being delivered by paid staff. BSA, much more than those programs, depends on volunteers to deliver the program to the youth. I guess Girl Scouts would be the most similar program. I do see you can buy a Juliette Gordon Low cameo pin for $40. I can't imagine the materials for that are costing them virtually anything. You can buy a Precious Moments figurine for $50. You can also get a sterling silver pin for $85.00.

 

The BSA is very much a membership organization and it looks to build a lot of life-long loyalty among the adults associated with it. So I'm thinking there are other organizations that are similar in that regard. The National Rifle Association might be one. And yes, when I look at their site, they have a lot of ways to give them money. Collectible knives for $80, $200, $375. Charlton Heston coin for $50. Zippo lighter for $50. Belt buckle for $100.

 

The Republican Party has a $40 Christmas ornament, or a $400 Reagan inauguration photo. Campfire USA has a brooch for $57.00, a "CUSTOM FLAME SYMBOL CENTENNIAL NECKLACE" for $63.00, a lapel pin for $90. National Public Radio offers a Car Talk CD set for $105, a Limited Edition Peter Max songbook for $199.99, and if you want the iSongbook option, it's $400. The Smithsonian offers pendants for $85 and $195, an "amethyst jewelry set" for $350, and a Wright Flyer replica for $210. National Wildlife Federation offers a Pine Cone Oil Lamp for $80.

 

If you want to complain about people who are gouging their customers, let's talk about how HP sells ink for their printers, or how Apple sells $10 worth of components for $400. But I don't have to buy those either.

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In addition to the business angle of all these high priced doo dads, there is the appearance factor. What company starts a new product line of high end coins in this economy? The sheer quantity of other pricey stuff (cummerbunds!?), to me, shows a disconnect between National and the reality of typical unit level incomes.

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What the heck is a "disconnect"?

Every time one of the hated merchandise items sells, there is a distinct connection between the one that makes the purchase and the seller. Ever since the days of the caveman merchandisers have sought to have a variety of goods available for sale to satisfy and "connect" with all different kinds of people. It does seem to work. Why is that a bad thing for BSA?

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