I made a presentation to a Roundtable the other night to discuss how we “fund” Scouting and how districts and units are critical to that process.
With the recent departure of the LDS church as a chartered partner, the significance of unit and district support is even more important to our future.
I have often said that non-profit is a tax status, not a business model. We must profit or at minimum, break-even to run the operations of the Council.
Rest assured that I am the last person on earth who would believe in passing on costs to our youth in uniforms to balance the books. (While some may regard popcorn sales as doing just that, it is – at least in our council – one of the best ways for youth to pay their way to camp, buy gear, provide uniforms and books, and helps keep the overall program and activity costs down.)
After painting our financial picture for those in attendance, a Scout leader asked, “What can we do to help?”
I was a bit caught off guard. In all my years of fundraising for Scouting, I am not sure I have had anyone ask that question.
My response was simple. “You need to provide the best program you possibly can and appreciate each Scout and their parents!”
As I crunch the annual budget numbers, it always breaks my heart to see that 3 or 4 out of every 10 youth that joins Scouting do not stay in the program for a year. Our field staff and volunteers must make up that percentage before “growth” is even on the board.
As an example, if a district has 200 kids in 2019, loses 70 of them over the year, they must recruit 74 youth to have 2% growth. That is a difficult challenge.
When asking departed youth why they left scouting, the number one reason is lack of organization and not enough fun activities.
So you see, we are all in this together. Our volunteers must have a dynamic program and help drive the ship, while our staff works to support you and raise the necessary funding and resources to make sure all have a great experience.
So get out and give us your best, in return, I promise to return the favor. Together we will continue to move the bar for Scouting in Montana.
All the best in 2020,
Deputy Scout Executive