Where the money comes from.
At the Utah National Parks Council, the largest portion of our annual budget—38 percent— comes from donations by local families as part of the yearly Friends of Scouting campaign. Our ability to make Scouting happen for nearly 84,000 youth is completely dependent on these contributions from people and companies throughout central and southern Utah.
Our next largest source of income—29.4 percent— comes from the money we raise through yearly Scouting activities in our Council. Funds generated from the use of our Scout camps are responsible for 23.3 percent of our budget. These three sources of income—donations, activities and camp use—represent more than 90% of all our income annually.
Other sources of income include our Scout Shop sales (6 percent), income from investments (1.6 percent) and facilities rental/popcorn sales (less than .2 percent each). Scouting was never intended to be a moneymaking enterprise. The generosity of tens of thousands of individual donors is what makes it all possible.
Where the money goes.
Just under a quarter of our budget is spent for camping activities, and related supplies. The next largest expense areas are Scout camp facilities at 16.3 percent and other activities at 13.8 percent. Nearly 55 percent of our annual budget is spent in these three areas—camping, camps and activities.
Travel/conferences and training each take about 10 percent of our budget (20% total for both categories). Utilities, phone, postage and printing together consume about 8 percent of all we spend. Seven percent of our budget is used to recruit new members, and 4.2% is spent to run the Scout Shops. Administration and insurance costs are just over 3 percent; recognition costs are just over 1% of the annual budget. Only 1% of our budget is used to pay for service fees to the BSA national headquarters.
Frequently asked questions.
Q. How are Friends of Scouting funds used?
A. Friends of Scouting is our largest source of income, and represents 38% of our annual budget. We use these funds for unit services, recruiting members, training leaders, developing and operating camps and for program activities for units. These funds provide insurance, keep records of advancement and membership, and support the Council office and store.
Q. When I donate to Scouting, I’d like my donation to benefit boys in my community rather than to be used for other expenses. How much from every dollar I donate is spent on local Scouting?
A. Everything that’s raised from local donors goes directly to the local Scouting program. We try to cultivate several sources of income in our council in addition to donations. When we look at the entire “pot” of all our income, 99 percent of it is spent on our local council program and only about 1 percent goes for national charter and service fees. (Those costs are covered by our investment income, and are not paid from local donations.) We hope every donor knows that all of his or her donation is used to benefit local youth.
Q. The LDS Church operates completely with volunteers. Why doesn’t Scouting operate the same way?
The Church is actually one of Utah’s largest employers. It’s a good example of how a “volunteer” organization requires a backbone of paid administrative help in order to function efficiently.
The Boy Scouts of America is a volunteer-run program with a paid staff in support roles. We’re a full-time organization that serves youth. Our volunteers deserve full-time, quality support by our employees. Our council has 32 full-time executive staff members and 41 full- or part-time clerical support staff serving nearly 84,000 youth and nearly 44,000 adult volunteer leaders in more than 6,000 units. This is the most efficient ratio of staff to participants of any BSA Council.
Q. I’ve heard that Scout executive salaries are excessive. Is that true?
A. No. Scout executives are paid modestly, especially when compared to similar non-profit organizations like school districts. The Alpine School District, for example, serves 73,854 young people in 2013. The Utah National Parks Council serves 83,827, yet the Council’s CEO makes less than half what the superintendent makes. (As a private non-profit organization, the Council’s salaries are publicly available online here.) Our professional staff members receive salaries that are similar to what school teachers receive.
The salaries of national BSA leaders are set by the national BSA board (which includes LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, incidentally) and the National Chief Executive’s salary if funded by an endowment. These salaries are audited to be sure they’re commensurate with salaries paid by other similar non-profit organizations. Local donors should remember, however, that none of their Friends of Scouting contributions are used to pay for national salaries.
Scouting in the Utah National Parks Council is an efficient, carefully run program. When your local Scout leaders come by your home as part of the annual Friends of Scouting campaign, remember to be generous in your contributions. Please accept our thanks—from everyone in the Council—for your continued support and interest.
Author: Stephen Hales | Past Marketing Vice President, Utah National Parks Council