By Darryl Alder
Feb 02, 2016

Pack Committee Challenge Part 3: Planning Your Pack’s Annual Program Budget

You can read other parts of this blog series here:

Leader BookIn this post we will explore the honest costs of offering a robust program to your Cub Scouts. At the end of this  you should be able able to:

  • Explain how a pack budget is created.
  • Relate the importance of a pack budget to the success of the pack.

BSA has a book you may find useful, the Cub Scout Leader Book, it offers more detail than we can here

During a Pack Committee Meeting, the second portion of the agenda is when the final preparations for the current month’s pack and den activities are finalized. The Cubmaster confirms assignments for the pack meeting and den leaders will turn in advancement reports to the person on the committee responsible for procuring the awards. Activities and awards require money, and proper budgeting and record keeping are critical.

Planning Your Pack’s Annual Program Budget

An important function of the pack committee is to ensure the pack will have the necessary funds to pay for all the exciting activities and programs the committee has planned for the year. This can be tricky in LDS sponsored packs, so strong and regular communication between your treasurer, the Primary Presidency and the ward finance clerk is vital.

Successful packs use a unit budget plan a worksheet in Excel or a PDF is available under Unit Program Planning Tools (see the Pack section). When adopting a unit budget plan, a pack committee implements the elements of a complete annual Cub Scouting program for youth, commits as a unit to incorporate these elements, and then provides adequate funding for them following “the budget allowance guidelines in Handbook 2 to fund Scouting (see 8.13.7, 11.8.7, 13.2.8, 13.2.9, 13.5, and 13.6.8).” (See LDS Scouting Handbook 8.15)

Even more, the committee commits to implementing the plan with the entire pack—Cub Scouts, leaders, and families—by raising enough dollars to fund the camping and equipment needs of the pack.  The result is a well-managed, well-financed unit.

The steps to planning your pack’s annual budget are:

  • Plan the pack’s complete annual program.
  • Develop a budget that includes enough income to achieve the program.
  • Identify all sources of income (Ward budget and any traditional pack activities), and then determine the amount that will be needed to reach the income goal.
  • Gain commitments from parents, leaders, and all Cub Scouts.

Basic Expenses

In a special relationship with the BSA these costs are covered directly through LDS Church Headquarters:

  • Registration Fees. Part of joining the BSA is the required annual registration fee. This is true for youth and adult members.
  • Unit Liability Insurance Fee. Packs are required to pay an annual unit liability insurance fee. This fee is submitted with the pack’s annual charter application and helps to defray the expenses for its general liability insurance. This is also but is covered by the LDS Church.
  • Unit Accident Insurance. Protecting leaders and parents from financial hardship due to high medical bills from an unfortunate accident is a must for all involved in Scouting. The LDS Church offers this coverage through their DMBA insurance program for all Ward activities, including Cub Scouting. This is secondary insurance that covers deductibles and and after insurance coverages.

The following can be covered by the Ward’s budget allowance for Primary programs:

  • Advancement and Recognition. The cost of recognition and advancement needs to be factored into the budget. Every Cub Scout should earn and advance a rank and receive the patch and pins for that rank each year. Additionally, many packs budget for the immediate recognition devices (adventure loops, pins, and certificates) boys earn as they progress toward earning their badge of rank. For some units, this is a family responsibility, however “Ward budgets should be used to purchase Scouting awards and materials, as determined by local leaders.” (See LDS Scouting Handbook 8.15).
  • Activities. Well-conceived and well-planned activities are critical to a successful annual program plan. Traditionally, such activities as Cub Scout pinewood derbies, field trips, and district or council activities are financed by the Cub Scout and his family over and above the dues program. It is suggested that the complete cost of these outings be built into the unit’s budget.
  • Training Expenses. Trained leaders are key to delivering a quality and safe program. Adult and youth leader training should be considered an integral annual pack expense.

The following could be paid from the Ward budget or from families, but often are sometimes paid for through the sales of EXPO tickets or other approved  fund raisers:

  • Cub Scout Day Camp. Central to Cub Scouting is a summer camping experience. Local council opportunities abound for Cub Scouts and their families to have exciting, program-rich summer experiences. The cost of day is sometimes beyond the capability of the Ward budget allowance.  Packs “may participate in Scouting shows, camporees, and other BSA activities that involve the sale of tickets by boys or young men, as long as all other budget allowance guidelines are met.” (See LDS Scouting Handbook 8.15). “If the ward budget does not have sufficient funds to pay for an annual day camp or similar activity for children ages 8 through 11, leaders may ask participants to pay for part or all of it. In no case should the expenses or travel for an annual day camp or similar activity be excessive. Nor should the lack of personal funds prohibit a member from participating (see Handbook 2 11.8.7 ).
  • Program Materials. Each pack needs to provide certain program materials. Depending on the type of unit program, these could include den meeting supplies, a U.S. flag, pack and den flags, camping equipment, videos and books, or ceremonial props. Your den leaders’ annual plans will guide what den meeting supplies are needed. “If these funds are not sufficient, the bishop may authorize one group fund-raising activity annually that complies with the guidelines in 13.6.8.” (see Handbook 2 ).

The following are individual responsibilities, if parents and leaders so choose:

  • Boys’ Life. Boys’ Life magazine, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, is available to all members for a discounted rate. While this is an optional expense, Boys’ Life has a direct influence on membership retention so every boy should be encouraged to subscribe.
  • Cub Scout Resident Camp and Family Camping. These services provided by BSA are not part of the LDS approved program, however families may elect to use them.
  • Full Uniforms. Traditionally, the individual pays for the uniform, but it may be figured into the budget as the total cost of Scouting when doing the annual approved fundraiser.
  • Reserve Fund. A reserve fund could help with unexpected expenses, but in LDS units this cannot carry over from year to year in the ward’s budget
  • Other Expenses. These could include a gift to the World Friendship Fund, meeting refreshments, and/or contingency funds.

Sources of Income

After your committee get’s settled on items and activities they want in the budget, note that pack’s entire budget must be provided for by the ward budget and through either fundraising or family participation fees.

  • Ward Budget Request: depending on your ward’s operations, you should submit an annual budget through to Ward’s Primary Presidency to the Bishopric. They will determine what parts of the request can be funded, but these will usually center around awards, day camp, activities and adult leader training.
  • Fundraisers:  One fundraiser per year, such as selling EXPO tickets, might be used to pay for Day Camp, uniforms and/or Pack equipment. If you are doing a fundraiser other than selling EXPO tickets you should complete a Unit Money-Earning Application. Except for council-sponsored product or ticket sales, all other money-earning projects require the submission of this form to your local Scout Service Center at least two weeks before beginning the fundraiser. To ensure conformity with all Scouting standards on money earning, and to help protect the pack and leaders from potential problems, leaders should be familiar with the points listed on the back of the application. (*These listed in the below the Summary of this post.)
  • Dues. Though collecting dues in dens is not normally a practice in LDS packs, learning to pay your own way is a fundamental principle of the Boy Scouts of America—young people in Scouting are taught early on that if they want something in life, they need to earn it. The finance plan of any pack could include finding work for pay to use toward camp, and Boy’s Life.

Fiscal Responsibility

You may find it helpful to review the Fiscal Policies and Procedures for BSA Units, however in LDS units the checking account referred to is controlled by the Bishopric through the finance clerk and in the case of LDS units you may not use the Church’s or Council’s EIN.

With EXPO ticket sales it is possible for some packs to acquire significant funds in the course of a year. It is important that the pack committee operate in a fiscally responsible way by turning these funds into the Ward Finance Clerk or depositing them into the unit account at the Council Service Center.


The pack’s program calendar and budget information needs to be communicated regularly to families, especially at the start of the program year. By sharing the pack’s program plans and budgetary needs, you can help newly recruited Cub Scouts and their parents gain a greater understanding of just what fun is waiting for them during the pack’s entire program year

*Fundraising guidelines:Unit Money-Earning Application Reverse side

Continue to Pack Committee Challenge Part 4: Pack Program Planning


Darryl head BWAuthor: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. He has been a Pack Committee Chair, Cubmaster and Den Leader in two different LDS Ward Packs.

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