By Joel Zabriskie
Jun 27, 2015

Friends of Scouting: Why can’t I make my check out to the Ward?

In LDS units in the Utah National Parks Council, donations to Friends of Scouting are often handled through the local ward. Here is a conversation similar to many that have been had in multiple wards across the Council that answers some basic questions about how these donations are handled:

Brought to you by FOS

“Thanks, Brother Jones, for the opportunity to make a donation to Friends of Scouting. Can I make my check payable to our ward?”

“Actually, Brother Nelson, it should be made payable to BSA or Boy Scouts of America. You can also make it out to Utah National Parks Council or UNPC.”

“I heard that others are writing their checks to their ward. Isn’t that ok? It’s still a tax deduction.”

“Only if it’s payable to BSA. If it’s made to the ward, the clerk can’t show it as a donation to the Church, so he posts it to the Other category when recording it in the church’s MLS program. Then he has to write a check to BSA. Your year-end tax statement won’t include the donation to BSA.”

“Ok, I’ll write it to BSA. That’s a lot shorter than writing the name of our ward! By the way, last year it took about four weeks for my check to clear my bank. I wish there was a faster way.”

How we are funder pie chart 2015“It looks like your wish will come true. As Ward Financial Clerk I just attended a training session for this year’s FOS fundraising. The local BSA Council has a new feature in their software program where our donations are recorded in a procedure very similar to the church’s system. When everything is entered and balanced, a report is submitted electronically to the Council. The checks and cash are put in a plastic envelope with a Council deposit slip. We take it to the same bank our regular church donations are dropped off. That way our checks will be processed in a matter of days rather than weeks. And they are handled by fewer people, so the chance of being misplaced or delayed is reduced.”

“That sounds great! By the way, what is the suggested donation?”

“It takes about $100 per boy to experience the full program.”

How the money is used pie chart 2015“Ok, I have two boys in the program, so I’ll make my check to BSA for $200. Do you know how the money is spent?”

“Here are a couple of pie charts that show where the money comes from and where it is spent. For instance, only $1 per registered boy goes to the BSA National office. The rest stays locally. I look at that cost as being a franchise fee.”

“Thanks. This looks great. And thanks for answering all my questions.”

“Thanks for your generous donation.”


Author: Joel Zabriskie | CFO/Comptroller, Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America

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