“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went”Dave Ramsey
In Scouting, we do not expect you to be a financial expert in everything related to your Unit’s finances. However, Scouting expects both its youth and adults to live the Scout Oath and Law and to do their best. To that end, this page is here as a guide to the world of finances from the Unit perspective. Thus this page is not meant to be all-encompassing but to serve as a resource for your Unit to be successful in this area. If you have questions about finances for your Unit, feel free to reach out to the Great Alaska Council for further guidance.
How to know how much money a Unit needs?
You need a budget: a plan for receiving and spending money. Your budget will show in dollars what your Unit has planned for the year to come. In developing the budget, you need to estimate expenses for the year and create a plan for paying those expenses.
Look at your Unit’s program for the upcoming year; where are you going to go and what are you going to do? And how do you plan to pay for it?
- If you have receipts from the previous year, great – you have a guide.
- If you’re a new Unit, you can use a BSA budget planning worksheet to give you a list of items you might include in your budget. You could also ask advice from your Unit Commissioner (that’s a volunteer in your area whose job is to help a few units in your district) or your District Executive (that’s the BSA professional employee who is responsible for serving Units in your Team).
- Whether you’re an existing Unit or a new one, the best, safest, and most time-effective way to pay for your program is by taking part in our Council’s annual Fall Popcorn fundraiser.
In keeping with the principles of Scouting, a Unit pays for its program by earning and saving the money it needs. Yes, a Unit may have families who can afford to just “write a check” at the beginning of the year… but then the Scouts miss a valuable lesson in self-reliance.
Here’s a look at some basic expenses every Scout Unit has:
- Registration fees (this is the amount the National Boy Scouts of America charges each youth and adult to join the organization)
- Unit liability insurance fee (a required fee included with your annual BSA charter application)
- Unit accident insurance
- Advancement and recognition items
- Program materials (everything from camping equipment to ceremonial props)
- Contingency/scholarship fund
Why do Units fundraise? Simple, to have money to operate an amazing program. Why not take all your youth to New York to see a live Broadway show? If Broadway is not your youth’s cub of tea. Feel in the blank; why not take all your youth to ______ to do ______?
Fundraising in Scouting is one of the many tools we use to prepare young people for adult life. They will not always have a parent or guardian who will pay for their needs and wants. So in essence, fundraising teaches the youth that they can accomplish anything they want in life through hard work, dedication, and a plan to get there. Help the youth set a goal and make plans to achieve that goal. Thus doing some amazing things and adventures in the process.
So now you have a why for fundraising. Let us address the how-to fundraise in Scouting.
- Two types of fundrisers allowed in Scouting
- Council Sponsered Fundraisers
- Non Council Sponsered Fundraisers
An example of a Council Sponsored Fundraiser is the Annual Popcorn Sale each fall. For a more detailed look at popcorn jump over to our popcorn page. Next Stop Popcorn Click here
Non-Council Sponsered Fundraisers must meet the guidelines set forth by the BSA and be Pre Authorized by the Local Council before any work starts on the fundraiser! If you are considering a Non-Council fundraiser, you should consider what your return on investment will be? There are many fundraisers out there and not all are created equal.
To get your fundraiser approved fill out the Unit Money Earning Application and submit it to the Council Office for review and approval.
Units should either use their chartering partner’s Tax ID (if given permission) or obtain their own Tax ID number. An EID number is necessary for banking. Instructions for how to obtain an Employer Identification Number can be downloaded below.
- Where to apply for a EIN Number (IRS Website)
Underlying Fiscal Policies of the BSA
Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America, Article XI, Section 1, Clause 2:
Contributions shall be solicited in the name of the Boy Scouts of America only through or by the authority
of the Corporation, and shall be limited to the National Council or chartered local councils, in accordance with these Bylaws and Rules and Regulations of the corporation. Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors for charter organizations, for the local council, for the National Council, for Corporate Sponsors, or in support of other organizations. Adult members and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors in support of personal or unit participation in local, national, or international events.
Article XI, section 1, clauses 3, 4, and 5 shall be renumbered as clauses 4, 5, and 6, respectively, and a new Clause 3 with the heading of Fundraising inserted that reads:
Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America Article XI, Section 1, Clause 3:
Youth members may sell products as part of an approved fundraising project if (i) the nature of the product is
consistent with the values and purpose of the Corporation; (ii) the value of the product is commensurate with the price at which it is offered; and (iii) it is in accordance with the
Bylaws and Rules and Regulations of the Corporation. Furthermore, any product that is sold or offered for sale as a part of an approved fundraising project and bears any emblems, logos, brands, or other designating marks associated with the Boy Scouts of America must
be manufactured by a BSA licensee authorized by the Corporation to use such designating marks in that manner on those specific products. No youth member shall engage in such sales of products for more than 12 total weeks during any one 12-month period. (Added