Re: Car wash; Scout Sunday
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Fri, 7 Feb 1997 23:54:26 -0500
At 08:40 PM 2/7/97 -0600, Rascal wrote:
>"Important Financial Information for Units" is periodically
>reprinted and distributed by Nassau County Council.
I was reading that document a couple of weeks ago while out at the Nassau
Scout Shop. I remember my reaction was that some of what they are writing
is a crock.
>reads: "The unit may earn money by sales or events they organize.
>Candy, light bulbs, first aid kits are all examples. Car washes,
>spaghetti dinners, pizza sales are some other ideas. By BSA
>national rules, boys may not wear their uniform for any of these
>sales or activities." Since the national popcorn sale is a Council
>sponsored event, boys can sell this product in their uniform. (go
The difference here is one I can actually understand. The reason that
national does not allow the sale of a product in uniform is because they do
not want the sale to be taken as an endorsement of the product by the BSA.
Since the BSA has specifically endorsed the Trails End popcorn and,
therefore, stands behind the product, the implied endorsement is not a problem.
>Item 6 reads: "Units MAY NOT solicit for money. Seeking donations
>of money or materials is not allowed. "A-Thons" (except the
>Council Scoutwalk, or other Council-run events) are solicitations
>and are, therefore, not allowed. Units are not 501c3 non-profit
>agencies - the council is. Therefore, units may not accept United
>Way funds or other government or private grants or funding.
>Donations to units are not tax deductible."
This is the part that bothers me, and also the part that includes some
misstatements, or at least half truths. There is theoretically a
philosophical reason that solicitations and "a-thons" are not allowed. My
belief is that it has to do with providing value for money. But, if that is
the reason, then the logic is, or should be, equally applicable to the
council itself. Yet they see nothing wrong with holding a bowl-a-thon which
is nothing more than a direct solicitation for funds providing no value for
The statement that is at best a half truth is the statement that units are
not 501(c)(3) organizations and that they are, therefore, not able to
receive charitable contributions. The statement is true on its face only
because units do not exist as separate legal entities. However, many, if
not most, units are sponsored by 501(c)(3) organizations like churches and,
as such, donations to them are deemed to be donations to the sponsor and
will be deductible if the sponsor qualifies. My view of the council trying
to use this argument to prevent a unit from soliciting funds from either the
United Way or other government (or in many councils corporate) organizations
is nothing more than an attempt to prevent competition with the units over
limited funds. I'm not sure that I automatically support the theory that it
is ALWAYS better for the funds to go to the council rather than a unit.
As to the "a-thons," if I extrapolate from the logic used by Nassau County
Council above, I conclude that any unit sponsored by a qualified charitable
organization is free to raise funds through direct solicitation or
"a-thons." That's because they state that the reason for the prohibition is
that the unit is not a charitable organization. Somehow, I don't feel the
council would feel that way which is why I feel that this policy is in many
Does anybody have an explanation why a council can hold an "a-thon" while a
unit appears not to be able to?
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City