Unit Finance

A Scout is Thrifty

It’s good practice for Scout units, too. Business-like finance management not only assures that your unit will remain solvent and have what it needs when it needs it, it also provides a fine example for your youth members. A good unit should neither spend more than it earns nor earn more that it spends. As much harm can be done with one extreme as with the other.

How do we know how much money we need?

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 district).
  • 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 Product sale 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 its 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 and local council charges each youth and adult to join the organization)
  • Unit liability insurance fee (a required fee included with your annual BSA charter application)
  • Advancement and recognition items
  • Activities/Trips/Camps
  • Program materials (everything from camping equipment to ceremonial props)
  • Contingency/scholarship fund

How are we going to pay for everything?

Popcorn Sale

Our council’s annual Fall Product Sale provides a great opportunity to raise all of the money your unit needs for its annual program with the sale of Trail’s End Popcorn and Burger’s Products. You can’t make more money per each hour of time spent selling like you can with the product sale.

The sale is approved by our council’s Executive Board, meaning that your Scouts can wear their Scout uniform while selling (this is not true for any other fundraiser). You do not need to fill out a unit money-earning application to participate in the popcorn sale. Just let your District Popcorn “Kernel” (a volunteer who runs the popcorn sale in your district) or your District Executive (the BSA professional employee responsible for serving units in your district) that you want to participate in the popcorn sale, and they’ll tell you when training will take place and give you everything you need to take part.

Unit Money Earning Guidelines

If your unit chooses to raise money in a way other than selling popcorn, you must submit a Unit Money Earning Application to your district’s Fundraising Chairman (this is a volunteer like you) or District Executive (this is the BSA professional employee who serves units in your district).

Who Pays for Scouting?

Assisted by their parents or guardians, scouts in Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, and Venturing pay their share from personal savings and through participation in money-earning projects. Members buy their own uniforms, handbooks, and personal equipment, and they pay their own camp fees.

Weekly or monthly dues and funds from approved money-earning projects meet expenses for supplies and activities in the Cub Scout pack, Scouts BSA troop, and Venturing crew. These monies help pay for camping equipment, registration fees, Boys’ Life magazine, uniform insignia, special activities, and program materials. Units are strongly encouraged to create individual youth accounts that allow members to save for events and programs.insignia, special activities, and program materials.

Chartered Organizations
Each chartered organization using the Scouting program provides a meeting place and adult volunteer leadership for its BSA unit(s). The chartered organization and local council must approve unit money-earning projects before the launch of the project.

The Council
Financial resources for the local council (the local nonprofit corporation chartered by the National Council) come from an annual Friends of Scouting campaign, local United Ways, foundation grants, special events, project sales, investment income, trust funds, bequests, and gifts of real and personal property.

These funds provide for professional staff supervision, organization of new Scouting units, service for existing units, training of volunteer leaders, and maintenance of council camps. They also finance the operation of the local council service center, where volunteer leaders can obtain literature, insignia, advancement badges, and other items vital to the program. In addition, the service center maintains advancement and membership records.

National Council
Funds to support the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America come from registration fees, local council service fees, investment income, Scouting and Boys’ Life magazines, sale of uniforms and equipment, and contributions from individuals. These monies help to deliver the program of the BSA to chartered organizations that use the Scouting program to meet the needs of their youth.

The National Boy Scouts of America Foundation also provides funding for both local council needs and national organization initiatives. Most of this funding comes from specifically designated gifts made to the foundation by individuals, corporations, and other foundations.