By Darryl Alder
Oct 10, 2019

Scout Ambassador Toolchest: Troop operations—The Troop Budget and Fundraising

Tools to help organize and support new packs, troops and teams
Click here for the whole Scout Ambassador’s Tool Chest

Scouting Ambassadors have a huge task helping folks understand who have been in troops chartered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the true cost of Scouting. The church has paid the registration fee which is $33 annually; they also often pay for camping and activity fees. Then there are individual uniform costs and other fees that may be charged by the troop.

But no need to worry. For most troops, this will all be all covered by a good fundraiser or two.

Planning Your Troop’s Annual Program Budget

To develop a troop budget, at the troop’s annual program planning conference (PPTX) complete the Troop Operating Budget Worksheet ( PDF|Excel ). Working together, the Scoutmaster, assistants and the troop committee study the calendar the youth leaders make and determine costs to support their program interests.

Once a budget is completed to support the troop’s program calendar both need to be shared with the parents. Be sure to keep parents involved and informed. Both budget and calendar would be ready at the beginning of the program year in September, but in our case, Scout Ambassadors need to help troops with this process early on.

One reason for this is sharing the troop’s program plans and budgetary needs, helps newly recruited youth and their parents understand the adventure ahead and just what fun is waiting for them in your troop this year.

Troop Budget Plan

The suggestions listed here implement the elements of delivering the best program for your Scouts. Committing as a team to incorporate these elements insures your troop fun and adventure with adequate funding all year long.

And unless you like to raise money every month and work out your program as you go, this plan will make your whole program more easy to run. Following this process will result in a well-managed and financed troop.

Here are the time tested steps:

  1. Plan your troop’s complete annual program.
  2. Develop a budget that includes enough income to achieve the program.
  3. Identify the amount of product (popcorn, for example) that will need to be sold per youth member to reach the income goal.
  4. Identify service projects that the troop can participate in to bring income to the troop.
  5. Get commitments from parents and youth.

Basic Expenses

Note that fees are figured on a monthly basis: 1 month, $2.75; 2 months, $5.50; 3 months, $8.25; 4 months, $11.00; 5 months, $13.75; 6 months, $16.50; 7 months, $19.25; 8 months, $22.00; 9 months, $24.75; 10 months, $27.5; 11 months, $30.25; 12 months, $33.00.
*The same rate applies for registered adult Scouters.

1 Registration Fees
When youth join, the troop normally asks them to pay the full $33 national registration fee*, regardless of the number of months remaining in the troop’s charter year. The troop sends the council the prorated amount for those remaining months but keep the balance of the Scout’s fee in the troop treasury to supplement dues in paying the next full year’s fee. This procedure ensures prompt registration at charter renewal.

2 Troop Liability Insurance Fee
Troops are required to pay an annual troop liability insurance fee of $40. This fee is submitted with the troop’s annual charter application and helps to defray the expenses for their general liability insurance.

3 Boys’ Life
This magazine is the Boy Scouts of America the official publication for youth members. It cost $12 (half the newsstand rate and is prorated for those joining during the year.

Youth who subscribe to Boys’ Life get quality reading content that support’s your troop’s monthly program. It is part of a young person’s growth in Scouting, and research proves Scouts who read it will stay in longer and advance further.

4 Troop Accident and Liability Insurance
Protecting the leadership and parents from financial hardship due to high medical bills from an unfortunate accident is a must for all involved in Scouting. Specific details on insurance programs are available from the local council.

5 Advancement and Recognition
Youth members should earn a rank or more each year. The Scouts BSA advancement program has options including achievements, rank advancement, and merit badges.

6 Activities
Well-conceived and planned activities are important to a successful Scouting program plan. These include hikes, camps or high-adventure trips that might be financed by the youth and their families over and above the dues programs, especially if fundraisers are not adequate. You should build the complete cost of these outings into the troop’s budget.

7 Summer Camp
Summer camp is central to Scouting to a complete Scouting experience. Camps and High-adventure bases abound nationwide for Scouts to have exciting, program-rich outdoor experiences.

8 Program Materials
Each troop provides certain program materials depending on their plans. These might include craft tools and supplies, camping equipment, videos, Merit Badge books, or ceremonial props.

(Note: Troops may not hold title to property; only chartered organizations or the local council legally can own property.)

9 Training Expenses
Trained leaders are the key to delivering quality, safe programs. Both adult and youth leader training should be part of your annual expenses.

Full Uniforms
Traditionally, the Scouts pay for their uniforms. We suggest that these expenses become part of the total cost of Scouting. The full Scouting program includes the full uniform and with a few good fundraisers, you can get every Scout in one.

Reserve Fund
The reserve fund might be established by a gift or loan from the chartered organization, by members of the committee and parents,, or by a unit money-earning project. And this year in the Utah National Parks Council Friends of Scouting campaign offers a commission to troops who help raise funds that way.

Troop FOS Commission
RaisedSharedAs Much As
$1-199920%$ 400
$6000 or more35%$2100 +

However you raise the money, the reserve fund should be ten percent of your total budget to meet unexpected expenses. A new member’s initial expenses may be met from the fund.

Other Expenses
These could include a gift to the World Friendship Fund, meeting refreshments, and/or contingency funds.

Costs of Scouting Summary

Registration and insurance$33.00
Boys’ Life$12.00
Unit charter fee$40.00
(1) Camping trip$5.00
(2) Camping trip$5.00
(3) Camping trip$5.00
(4) Camping trip$5.00
(5) Camping trip$5.00
(6) Camping trip$5.00
(1) District event$15.00
(2) District event$15.00
Special activities$15.00
Field trips$10.00
Adult leader training$25.00
Unit equipment purchases$20.00
Leader camp fees$3.50
Leader recognition$3.50

Income Sources

One well-planned fundraiser per year, like selling popcorn, maybe all your unit needs. The funds you raise can be used to cover registration fees, uniforms, trips, activities, day camps, summer camps, and high adventure experiences (for the youth) all with less out-of-pocket expenses for your families.

The case for popcorn is simple it’s a proven way to raise what you need and around the country BSA popcorn is a brand as solid as Girl Scout cookies.

Selling Trail’s End popcorn is the easiest way to make your budget

If you missed the Kickoff, don’t worry! Contact Greg Seibold at (801) 437-6220 or He’ll help you get going now.

Some Important Points

Paying your own way.
This is a fundamental principle of scouting and is one of the reasons troops cannot request contributions from individuals or the community. Scouts are taught early on that if they want something, they will need to earn it. In fact, this is among the reasons that adults who were Scouts have been found to have higher incomes. The troop’s entire budget should be provided for by the families, through either dues or fundraisers.

Except for council-sponsored fundraisers, like popcorn and camp coupon books. all other fundraisers require submission of a Unit Money-Earning Application, No. 34427, to the council. This helps ensure conformity with BSA standards on earning money, leaders should be familiar with the eight guides listed on the back of the application and in official finance record software (ScoutBook).

Keeping Track of the Troop’s Money

The troop treasurer, who is an adult member of the troop committee, manages the troop’s finances. The treasurer is responsible for bank accounts, financial records, takes funds, cuts checks, and reports on finances at troop committee meetings.

However, in keeping with the advice that Scouters should “never do anything a boy can do,” the troop’s Scribe, who is a youth secretary/ treasurer chosen by the senior patrol leader, works with the adult troop treasurer.

Clarke Green, suggests: “Youth participation in handling finances gives Scouts experience in essential life skills. Ideally, the troop scribe collects payments for activities and reimburses Scouts for things like groceries and supplies through patrol scribes appointed by the patrol leader.”

Other Help

Additional information concerning unit budget plans, the treasurer’s responsibilities, camp savings, forms, and records can be found in these publications:

We recommend using ScoutBook software. Tools in that software are great for keeping track of individual youth accounts.

Darryl Alder Scout Ambassador

Author: Darryl Alder, is a retired career Scouter with more than 30 years of service. However, his pride in Scouting is his volunteer service as an Associate Advisor, Varsity Scout Coach, Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Chartered Organization Representative, and Commissioner. He currently serves on the Utah National Parks Council Executive Board and is a Scouting Ambassador.

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