While the LDS Church does not endorse any specific fundraiser or product, if conducted in accordance with the LDS Church “Budget Allowance Guidelines,” page 2 (1998), the sale of popcorn would be an appropriate fundraising tool for LDS-sponsored units.
So what does the Budget Allowance Guidelines publication state with respect to fundraising for church-sponsored activities, including Scouting?
- Stakes and wards should fund all youth activities (including Scouting) from the budget allowance. The only exceptions are covered in numbers 2, 3, and 5.
- If budget allowance funds are insufficient, young men may individually earn their own money for the cost of one annual camp. (The annual camp is the long-term summer camp for the troop, team, or crew and includes day camp for Cub Scouts).
- If budget allowance funds are insufficient and young men are unable to individually earn enough for the one annual camp, they may hold group fundraising activities.
- Wards should not charge young men dues for weekly or monthly activities.
- Young men (Scouts, Varsity, and Venturing) and Cub Scouts may hold group fundraising activities to pay for equipment for the unit if there is not sufficient budget allowance.
We know the sale of popcorn is an appropriate fundraising tool for church-sponsored units, but what are the guidelines for a Scout to earn his annual summer-camp or day-camp fee, or assist with the purchase of equipment? The Budget Allowance Guidelines, page 2, addresses “Fundraising Guidelines for Annual Camps and Equipment.” Fundraising activities should:
- Comply with tax and liability guidelines as outlined by the church.
- Not sell products or services door to door (see On-line Selling ideas here)
- Provide meaningful value or service.
- Provide a positive experience and build harmony and unity within the group.
- Obtain the bishop’s approval for the activity.
If a unit meets the guidelines as noted and follows the council plan, the experience is beneficial to the Scout and his family. It builds harmony and unity within the group. The sale of popcorn can be a positive experience. In most cases, the budget allowance from the church is not sufficient to pay the entire annual camp fee. Many young men need the opportunity to help earn a portion of the annual camp fee and council-sponsored popcorn sales are a proven successful fundraising tool for Scouting units.
The sale allows the young man and his family to earn his way to camp, helps the unit with equipment purchases, and supports the local council in its efforts to serve units. Participation in the popcorn sale, however, does not replace Friends of Scouting. The LDS Church endorses Friends of Scouting and encourages each ward and stake to participate actively. Families and friends should be provided an opportunity to contribute to the Friends of Scouting campaign and assist in supporting the local council.