Where Does the Money Go?
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.
Youth 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%.
Scout 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.
“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
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.
“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.
Author: Darryl Alder | Director of Strategic Initiatives, Utah National Parks Council, BSA