By Darryl Alder
Sep 26, 2015

Friends of Scouting— Local Donations Stay Local

Where Does the Money Go?

Maple Dell Shooting Sports, brought to you by Friends of Scouting

For years when collecting Friends of Scouting in my local LDS ward, many donors asked the same question: “Where does my donation go?” Usually I needed to review the overall expenses and income to be sure I could give a simple explanation to anyone, so here is my best attempt for this year:

Camps/Activities: Outdoors adventure is our greatest priority.  More than 40% of any donation made helps keep our camp fees among the lowest in the nation. We do this to ensure that as many Scouts as possible can attend. In order to keep our camps up and running and our programs improving, we subsidize our camps and activities with Friends of Scouting donations.

Where the Friends of Scouting money goesYouth and Adult Leader Training: Of all our efforts after camping, this is second in importance. The Council runs youth and adult advanced training at nearly ten times the national norm. Though participants pay for their own food and expendable supplies, the council budget puts 10% of total operations into support of training.

Activities and District Events: In the administration of events, like camporees, EXPO, and adult recognition dinners, there are behind-the-scenes costs. Most events cost more than they make, so once again Friends of Scouting contributions make up a significant shortfall. This comes to another 14% of the total budget.

Field Service, Travel and Conferences: In support of all our units both rural and suburban, thousands of miles are expended in unit service at a cost of 10% of the total.

Out-reach and Membership Recruitment: Though the cost is 7% of our total, we continue to reach out to community sponsors and Hispanic organizations. Today we serve Scouts of all ages in more than 200 of these units.

Unit Service and Staff: FOS helps provide human resources for our volunteers in the form of full-time Scouting professionals and support staff. These women and men devote their energy to serving local Scouts and helping deliver training and support to units in every corner of the Council, from Vernal to Mesquite and Blanding to Eagle Mountain. Every summer nearly 500 part-time and youth staff join the team to run our 12 camping properties. The costs of these salaries and benefits are spread across the above spectrum of services.

Phone, Postage, Utilities and Printing: Friends of Scouting helps keep the lights on and water running in our Scout shops, offices and camps. We continue to make energy efficient changes to our operations to ensure that these donations go as far as possible. We continue to upgrade our local IT services and, of course, the postage and printing costs add to what comes to another 8%.

where the money comes fromScout Shops: In all, the Council offers nine locations to give volunteers access to youth recognition and awards and Scouters easy access to literature and supplies. Two of our shops are operated by the National Supply group; both of these return some income to the Council, but the other seven shops operate as an underwritten service, which taxes the budget at 4%

Insurance and other Administration: Every year the council has to insure camp and buildings against fire, trucks and trailers against accidents, and youth camp staff against injury. In all, these costs come to about 3% and are always worth the cost.

Dale Murphy ThumbnailDale Murphy, past LDS Mission President and former MVP, Major League Baseball Player

“I’ve seen the impact that Scouting has on young men as I served as an LDS mission president and as a youth leader. The Scouting program gives participants an advantage that helps them in many other aspects of their lives as well.”

Recognition: One and one-half percent of Friends of Scouting helps us recognize the amazing work done by youth and adult volunteers and donors in the Council and inspires others to serve and improve their communities.

Bank/Audit Fees: All Council finances are carefully tracked, monitored, and audited to ensure that everything is correct and aboveboard, but this is our most modest cost at just one tenth of a percent.

1% for National Liability Insurance and Program service: For a small fee, the National Council provides liability insurance and program updates. The investment is returned to us tenfold in support, legal costs, training, and updated programs to ensure that Scouting is as effective and relevant as possible.

Where the Money Doesn’t Go

BURCH LODGECapital: Funds to build new camps and buildings come from donors specifically giving to the Capital Campaign, never from Friends of Scouting donations.

Endowment: The Council maintains an endowment fund to ensure that our camps and other buildings can be maintained and improved in the future. The money in the fund itself remains untouched, while interest earned from the fund is used for maintenance. Like the capital fund, donations specifically to the endowment fund are the only increase.

World Scouting: The World Scouting movement has its own system of donations in order to keep moving forward in helping youth across the globe. Friends of Scouting dollars in local Councils do not go to the World Fund.


herbert thumbnailGary Herbert, Governor of the State of Utah

“Scouting is one of the greatest forces for good in our country today. At a time when our nation faces many challenges, I am grateful Scouting continues to play a vibrant and meaningful role in the lives of numerous youth.”

Salaries of Council President and Executive Board: With the exception of the Council Scout Executive, the Executive Board is made up of volunteers.

National Scout Executive Salary: The Chief Scout Executive’s salary is paid for by an endowment set up specifically for that purpose. No local donations contribute to his salary.

Debt Payments and Interest Fees: The Utah National Parks Council is debt-free, so there are no payments or interest fees.

Local Units’ Equipment/Activity Budget: Though FOS donations are used by the district and council to benefit local units by providing everything listed in the “Where the Money Goes” section, they are not used to pay for unit activities or equipment. Units are encouraged to run their own fundraisers to support the unit’s budget.

What are your questions?  Please list them in the comment section below.

Darryl head BW


Author: Darryl Alder | Director of Strategic Initiatives, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

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7 thoughts on “Friends of Scouting— Local Donations Stay Local

    1. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder Post author

      As the current volunteer who chairs our budget committee, I appreciate your endorsement of the facts as I see them.

      1. Melany GardnerMelany Gardner

        First of all, I have no idea what that means… how does a less than 1% “service fee” go towards any “gay agenda” for an organization who’s soul purpose is to build youth of good character? It’s not like National is printing gay pride neckerchiefs, or putting up rainbow lights on their buildings…Oh wait, should I stop paying taxes now too as to avoid supporting the gay agenda? Each individual chartered organization makes the call on where they fall on the issue of gay leaders in Scouting, not national or the council. This was not a change that forces anyone to make that decision, but rather a “non-policy” on the issue allowing the communities, churches (and some churches wanted this change, who is the Boy Scouts to tell them what they believe) and parents to make the final call. Saying my donation goes to the “gay agenda” in any way is not only false, but a sensationalized misrepresentation of what the Boy Scouts of America stands for and is exactly what those who would have you not give to an organization that instills values (or any good values for that matter) such as the Scout Oath and Law would say. Don’t give into sensationalist nonsense. Search, ponder and pray. Come to your own decision before throwing away goodness that has the opportunity to help thousands of youth regardless of their class, creed or color.

        I understand that your question probably more involves how to talk to those who might struggle with issue, so forgive my fiery feelings initially. But hopefully if you run into this question, that you take the time to inform and teach truth, then lovingly ask them to reconsider or even ponder and pray on the issue. That’s my advice anyway.

        1. AvatarSteve Faber

          Thanks for your reply Melany. I believe it will take a long time and a lot of effort to help more people become true Friends of Scouting.

          It’s not surprising to me that the people who question the service fee to BSA National are generally the same people who don’t get fully trained in Scouting.

      2. AvatarJoel Zabriskie

        BSA’s National Office uses the National Service Fee to provide services such as platforms for various software programs including membership, advancement, fundraising and financial accounting systems, customer support for volunteers and employees, publications (for instance Guide To Safe Scouting) used by local councils and Scout units, and other resources.

        The LDS Church pays membership fees for all registered youth and adults (regardless of Church membership) in LDS sponsored Scout units directly to the National Office using tithing funds. Currently there are at least four representatives serving as National Board Members from the General Officers of the Church, including President Monson and Elder Holland. I have faith that they know where these sacred funds are used.

        Former CFO of UNPC

  1. AvatarDan Riding

    I appreciate how you spelled out exactly where the funds go. I have had many comments this year from people who view supporting BSA in any way will support the LGBT agenda and will not donate. These include previous donors who have been very generous. These same people would willingly give to the local unit, but not to the larger organization. As such, our unit’s donations are down considerably. In future years I hope something can be done to build public sentiment.


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