If asked to describe your mental picture of a successful Eagle Scout service project, most would mention service, leadership, teamwork, and a benefit to the community. However, as projects are proposed and planned, one key component, that of project funding, is often the “elephant in the room” that no one wants to talk about. Although the National Advancement Team actually prefers that fundraising not be a part of any Eagle service project, the reality is that it is not forbidden. Guidelines for when and how Eagle project fundraising may be conducted are found in the Guide to Advancement, topic 126.96.36.199.
To begin with, projects must not be fundraisers in and of themselves. Projects may, however, include a fundraising component to cover materials and supplies and to otherwise facilitate the project.
Next, it is important to differentiate the between fundraising that requires submission of a fundraising application and that which does not. Donations of money, supplies, or materials from the beneficiary, the Eagle candidate, his family or relatives, his unit or its chartered organization, or from the parents or members of his unit do not require an application. However, If money, supplies, or materials are to be obtained from other sources, a fundraising application may be necessary. If required, the application can be found in the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, and it must be submitted and approved according to local council practices. Councils have a number of options regarding which efforts require an application. For example, a council might not require an application for such events as bake sales or car washes or for efforts expected to raise less than a certain amount of money, but require one for other fundraising, especially if it could be in competition with its overall fundraising program.
It is imperative that the Eagle Scout candidate, his parents, his Eagle Scout service project coach, the unit leader and committee, and the benefiting organization clearly understand exactly what the local council requires. Additional details pertaining to proper procedures and some important limitations for Eagle Scout service project fundraising are found on the reverse side of the fundraising application.
One final word of caution: All monies, supplies, and materials obtained through Eagle project fundraising efforts belong to the beneficiary. The Eagle Scout candidate must make it clear to donors that anything leftover remains the property of the beneficiary. Should any donor want documentation of a gift, this must be provided by the project beneficiary, not the unit or the Boy Scouts of America. If the beneficiary is not allowed, for whatever reason, to retain excess funds, supplies, or materials, the beneficiary should be asked to designate a suitable charity to receive them. The charity could be the Scout’s unit, but the unit must not influence this decision