Re: District Finances
Chris Haggerty, Sierra Vista, Arizona (CHAGGERTY@ARIZBPA.BITNET)
Tue, 28 Sep 1993 07:23:00 MST
(P.S. at the beginning, it got longer than I thought, so this is a long
I have lived in districts which have illegal bank accounts (not in one now)
and they used to collect excess funds when things bring in more than
expenses and then turn around and use the money when an event shows a loss.
I even knew of one which had a fund raiser to put money in the kitty.
I see several problems and causes with this.
Usually you will find these account in Councils which are having money
problems. Why should be obvious, nobody can get anything out of council!
I have heard horror stories of trying to get back funds paid in for a
camporee to cover expenses and the council refusing, even though there was
a break even or positive cash flow. There's the never ending problem of
ordering patches in time for the event, but council will not do this
without the receipts (which you do not get until the event). There are
councils which are very happy to take in excess funds when a positive cash
flow is shown, but when you lose money, it comes out of someone's pocket.
There is also the problem of Council saying you can not order that patch,
it is too expensive, even though you have it covered in your budget (I hate
The list goes one and I am sure many of you can add more horror stories.
Now, the other side of the coin. Councils sometimes act like this because
they DO NOT GET BUDGETS or the budgets they get are very unrealistic. MAny
have become so gun shy from past disasters that even if you gave them a
good one they would not recognize it. Plus, very few people revise and
update their bugets (if they even have one) as the event draws near and
numbers start become real.
The whole point of a budget is plan you expenses for the entire year and
try your best to come as close to the budget as possible (earn and spend
what you planned to). When you plan your detailed budget, don't just say
$100 for roundtable. Be specific if you can (yes you will misc expenses).
For example, March roundtable topic kites (cubs), budget $10 for materials
for kite building demonstration.
One approach you might take with the council is the following:
1. Make planning a budget part of your annual district planning meeting.
You will need to know what activities take in money and which ones
cost money. This includes events you expect to break even (most
should be planned this way or someone should take a hard look at the
event to see if it is a realistic event). This includes events which
cost money but have no revenue (training or roundtable or district
gifts for Eagle scouts might be examples of this).
Be realistic with your numbers.
2. Have a track record of getting your district behind friends of scouting
and the popcorn sales (think about it).
3. Have the key three present the budget to the Scout Executive and discuss
it with him. If there is something he does not like, see if you can
work it out. Once you have the budget all worked out with the SE (If
put together a good one, he should be willing to work with you) get a
committement from him to support your district budget.
IF you think you may have surprises during the year, plan for them in
your budget. Now be sure you keep you SE up to date on your budget
and where you stand after major activities. If he does not know
where you stand in relation to the budget you got approved with him
he will be much more hesitant to approve funds. Remember, he also has a
budget to keep and he has to report to National on that one. If he is in a
situation like ours (threat of merger if not National standard-staying in
budget is part of this), he may be happy to get some REAL numbers out of
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmens): "Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw
those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City