5 Rules of Scout FundraisersTim Ahern | February 26, 2015
Many Boy Scout troops rely on fundraisers to pay for trips and extra supplies. The fundraisers themselves can offer a learning opportunity to troop members, giving them the chance to learn responsibility and meet others in the community. However, most troop fundraisers are governed by the Boy Scouts of America’s rules on money-earning projects, which means they must fit within certain guidelines. Here are a few things you should know before you put together your next fundraiser.
Fundraising with Purpose
Basic scout needs are expected to be met through membership dues. Your fundraiser should fulfill an additional need, such as a trip that will provide badge-earning opportunities, instead of simply raising funds to cover the cost of meetings. Each dollar earned must benefit scouting as described in the Rules and Regulations for the Boy Scouts of America. This is to the discretion of the organization, which will approve or disapprove each fundraiser based on its perceived benefit to all members of that troop.
As a troop reaches out to community members for fundraising dollars, it’s important that any campaigning not be in competition with another troop. This means if you intend on venturing into a neighboring city, you need to check to ensure that another troop isn’t already conducting fundraising activities in that area. You could also work in cooperation with the other troop to make sure your efforts don’t conflict with each other. Your fundraiser may intend to sell Christmas wreaths, for instance, while a neighboring troop plans to host an Easter egg hunt. Since your fundraisers are at different times of the year, you could agree to allow each other to extend your fundraisers to reach a wider number of potential donors.
When planning a fundraiser, troops should recognize the rules regarding uniforms and fundraisers. Traditionally, uniforms are intended to be worn for Scout activities. However, troops can get permission from the council’s executive board for wearing uniforms for fundraising activity. Uniforms can prove useful when scouts are speaking to members of the community about their fundraising efforts.
Solicitation of Funds
One rule that can seem confusing initially is the one that states that units are not permitted to solicit contributions for unit programs. Units are allowed to offer a product or service, but there must be a flat fee charged for that product or service. Asking a community member to simply donate to the troop is prohibited.
Prior to any fundraiser, troops must complete a Unit Money-Earning Application, which ask for the unit’s money-earning plan. You’ll be asked to estimate how much you’ll earn from your fundraiser and how the money will be used. Each area of the application allows for only a small amount of text, so you won’t be required to put together a full business plan to get your fundraiser approved.
The Boy Scouts of America Rules and Regulations outline more fundraising rules that may apply to your troop. By completing the application and having it approved by your council service center at least two weeks prior to your fundraiser, you’ll ensure your fundraising efforts are fully in line with those regulations.