More on contributions
Tim Hewitt (thewitt@FAIRCHILDSEMI.COM)
Sun, 23 Aug 1998 08:44:43 -0500
The recent discussion about contributions, asking for money, asking for gear,
etc was very interesting. I'm sorry my original post referenced Council
money-raising, as this sent the thread down a professional Scouter bashing
path that I never intended. I fully expect Council to ask for money from the
community, and would be disappointed if they did not do so. They may spend it
foolishly at times, but what corporation doesn't.
After processing your online and offline notes, I'm no closer to a resolution
to my dilemma than I was. There were some great suggestions made, but many
more violated the same rule that I would violate by asking for money directly
- only the violator had found a loophole they could justify. Not a personal
attach here, just an observation. We all do what we have to do to make the
program work for the boys. I just have not found my own comfort zone yet I
suppose. So I pose some further questions to the group.
Here are the statements and questions that I have trouble with. Any comments
or suggestions will help. Really!
I cannot ask for money from my CO, or from any civic group. Period. The rules
are very clear on this point - in fact it's number one on the list.
I cannot ask for money, yet I can ask for gear? They can write me a check for
the money for the gear and I can then go buy the gear myself and donate it to
the troop? What's the difference? Why is this not the same as #1.
If I don't ask, the American Legion, Rotary Club, AmVets, Lions, Chamber of
Commerce, etc won't know I'm here and can use their support. If the Troop is
very visible in the community, we will eventually be recognized as being here,
but no one will know we need financial help unless, well, we ask!
If I ask I'm breaking the rules. If I imply, I'm still breaking the rules, but
only a little.
If I get someone outside of Scouting to ask, have them take the money, buy the
gear I need, and donate it, I'm really breaking the rules, but it's happening
behind my back so I shouldn't feel badly.
If they offer and I have not asked, it's OK (they were mind readers?).
In order to hold a fundraiser, I need to offer a fair service for the money
taken. OK. If I offer the service, and assume that no one will take advantage
of it - or that many will not - isn't this the same as just knowingly asking
How hypocritical all of these solutions seem to me. If the fact and reality of
the world is that we need donations of money or equipment to run a Scouting
program for the boys in the community - at the local Troop level - why not
change the rules so that Troops have more options for fundraising? Why force
so many Scouters to go around the rules in order to provide the program?
I can't tell you how many replies I had in private that stated things like:
"We hold an annual No-Dinner, Dinner, and although we would cook
the food for people if they actually came, they know there is
no dinner served, it's just a scam so they can donate money.
It works great!"
"We build a stripper canoe or two every year and raffle it off.
The raffle tickets just say 'The money will go to supporting
youth programs in our community' and the raffle is run by a
group of parents. The parents then make a donation to the Troop
that happens to match the amount of money made in the raffle."
or my personal favorite:
"We sell tickets in January for a car wash in August. Yes,
the car wash is actually held in August as well, and we take
donations at the time, but in a typical year, only 10 of
the 450 or so advance tickets sold is actually used, so that's
Thanks again for your observations and help in getting me through this one. If
90% of us are working around the rules in order to raise money for activities
and gear that are beyond the normal moneys that the Scouts should be raising,
why don't we work on changing the rules rather than finding unique ways of
By the way, I had dozens of replies in private to my last message with
suggestions on working around the rules, and only one in public. Most of the
public replies were in favor of current BSA policies and defending the rights
of Council to raise money this way but Troops not to. It was interesting to
see just how many of you there are already working around the policy -
compared to how many defend it. I'll never make your names public of course. I
do hope that some of you join me in my quest for a real resolution to this dilemma.
Tim Hewitt, Scoutmaster
Troop 350, Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City