Units need to help their members raise funds for summer camp, activities, uniform, equipment, and much more. Fundraising is also called Money-Earning because it typically involves the sale of a product or service.
Here are some of the typical expenses for each Cub Scout or Boy Scout:
- Registration Fees are just over $10 a year and go to the National Council.
- Your Boys' Life magazine subscription is about $12 a year.
- Optional Unit Accident Insurance for just a few dollars per Scout and protects you from medical bills from an accident in Scouting.
- Advancement and Recognition includes the cost of awards, ranks, patches, and more.
- Activities for active Scouts:
- Summer Camp programs are also age-appropiate:
- Program Materials includes books and supplies supplies, flags, camping equipment, and more.
- Uniforms are an ongoing expense as Scouts grow through the ranks and sizes.
For all of these reason the Boy Scouts of American suggests that each Pack and Troop maintain "individual youth accounts" to allow Scouts to save for their individual goals.
Sources of Income
Many councils offer one large fundraiser each year allowing Scouts to earn enough for their individual accounts for the entire year. Ideally, all income would come from den dues and one fund-raising program at the beginning of the program year each fall. A spring fund-raiser could be included, but with the proceeds again dedicated to each youth member's individual youth account.
- Some Important Points
Paying your own way is a fundamental principle of the Boy Scouts of America. It is one of the reasons why no solicitations (requests for contributions from individuals or the community) are permitted by units. Young people in Scouting are taught early on that if they want something in life, they need to earn it. This principle is among the reasons that adults who were Scouts are found to have higher incomes. The finance plan of any unit should include participation by the Scouts.
An annual unit participation fee, too often completely contributed by parents, does little to teach a boy responsibility. The unit's entire budget must be provided for by the families, either through fund-raising or other means such as dues or fees.
Individual Youth Accounts
Packs and Troops using this method have traditionally had stronger programs with less turnover of youth (Scouts are retained). Individual youth accounts, whereby the unit keeps track of how much a Scout or his family has raised toward his goals, are critical to the success of this program. When individual Scouts are credited for their efforts, they develop a sense of personal responsibility and participation.
Except for council-sponsored product sales, all other money-earning projects require the submission of the Unit Money-Earning Application, No. 34427, to the local council. To ensure conformity with all Scouting standards on money earning, leaders should be familiar with the eight Guides to Money-Earning Projects listed on the back of the application, at the end of this planning guide, and in the financial record books.
Most councils conduct an annual sale of a product by youth members. Although this sale is typically popcorn or popcorn related products, councils are free to choose other product lines. The council shares the proceeds from this sale (in nearly equal shares) with the units (Cub packs and Scout troops) that participate in the sale. Units’ proceeds are used as described above to fund unit programs and individual youth member activities. The council's proceeds contribute to the council's operating funds as described above.
The national organization oversees the product sale and assures that vendors are qualified; however, the national organization does not receive any portion of the proceeds of the sale, nor does it receive any remuneration from the product vendors.
Guides to Unit Money-Earning Projects
A unit's money-earning methods should reflect Scouting's basic values. Whenever your unit is planning a money-earning project, this checklist can serve as your guide. If your answer is "Yes" to all the questions that follow, it is likely the project conforms to Scouting's standards and will be approved.
1. Do you really need a fund-raising project? There should be a real need for raising money based on your unit's program. Units should not engage in money-earning projects merely because someone has offered an attractive plan. Remember that individual youth members are expected to earn their own way. The need should be beyond normal budget items covered by dues.
2. If any contracts are to be signed, will they be signed by an individual, without reference to the Boy Scouts of America and without binding the local council, the Boy Scouts of America, or the chartered organization? Before any person in your unit signs a contract, s/he must make sure the venture is legitimate and worthy. If a contract is signed, s/he is personally responsible. S/he may not sign on behalf of the local council or the Boy Scouts of America, nor may he bind the chartered organization without its written authorization. If you are not sure, check with your district executive for help.
3. Will your fund-raiser prevent promoters from trading on the name and goodwill of the Boy Scouts of America? Because of Scouting's good reputation, customers rarely question the quality or price of a product. The nationwide network of Scouting units must not become a beehive of commercial interest.
4. Will the fund-raising activity uphold the good name of the BSA? Does it avoid games of chance, gambling, etc.? Selling raffle tickets or other games of chance is a direct violation of the BSA Rules and Regulations, which forbid gambling. The product must not detract from the ideals and principles of the BSA.
5. If a commercial product is to be sold, will it be sold on its own merits and without reference to the needs of Scouting? All commercial products must sell on their own merits, not the benefit received by the Boy Scouts. The principle of value received is critical in choosing what to sell.
6. If a commercial product is to be sold, will the fund-raising activity comply with BSA policy on wearing the uniform? The official uniform is intended to be worn primarily for use in connection with Scouting activities. However, council executive boards may approve use of the uniform for any fund-raising activity. Typically, council popcorn sales or Scout show ticket sales are approved uniform fund-raisers.
7. Will the fund-raising project avoid soliciting money or gifts? The BSA Rules and Regulations state, "Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for their chartered organizations, for the local council, or in support of other organizations. Adult and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money in support of personal or unit participation in local, national, or international events."For example: Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts and leaders should not identify themselves as Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts or as a troop/pack participate in The Salvation Army's Christmas Bell Ringing program. This would be raising money for another organization. At no time are units permitted to solicit contributions for unit programs.
8. Does the fund-raising activity avoid competition with other units, your chartered organization, your local council, and the United Way? Check with your chartered organization representative and your district executive to make certain that your chartered organization and the council agree on the dates and type of fund-raiser.
The local council is responsible for upholding the Charter and By-laws and the Rules and Regulations of the BSA. To ensure compliance, all unit fund-raisers MUST OBTAIN WRITTEN APPROVAL from the local council NO LESS THAN 14 DAYS before the fund-raising activity.