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Chartered Organization of the United States Congress

The Boy Scouts of America is a Chartered Organization of the United States Congress and I believe operates under Title 36 Subtitle II - Patriotic and National Organizations. In 1992, the US Congress discontinued issuing Chartered Organization status because it had no real value or received no other treatment from a State Chartered Organization other than to be the “official” organization.

The federal incorporation was originally construed primarily as an honor; however, it does grant the chartered organization some special privileges and rights, including freedom from antitrust and monopoly regulation and complete control over the organization’s symbols and insignia, [21] though it neither implies nor accords Congress any special control over the BSA, which remains free to function independently.[[22]]

In light of the financial troubles plaguing the BSA and after completing the rechartering process, I wonder if there is an opportunity for the business to evolve into a new format. Rechartering is done solely to support the requirements of the Congress for the Chartered Organization status. Monopoly and Copyright infringement are not issues for the BSA that copyrights all materials anyway.

If the BSA dropped the National Charter status and reformed as a non-profit the entire organization could migrate to a subscription model for participation with annual fees being $60 the Scout would pay $5/month. With local fees being say $30, they would pay an additional $2.5/month. And with unit fees being about $85 the Scout would pay $7/month. so around $15/month/Scout and the councils, units and everyone else would charter once with a sponsor and then just manage the on-going relationship as a subscription instead of spending what has to be north of $1MM a year to recharter.

I am wondering if there is value in the National Charter or if the need for flexibility for the BSA moving forward would include transforming the business model. We have been brainstorming ideas in Columbus for saving a Scout Camp and wondered if anyone thinks the program would change substantially if it was organized in this manner? Annnndddd… go!

I’m not sure if the cost differential is great enough to make such an endeavor worthwhile. Although rechartering is a necessary evil for the troop, it is virtually seamless for youth and parents. They turn their money in, and the troop renews the subscription for them.

Now that it has become linked to maintaining youth protection, it’s a pretty entrenched system.

Where’s the cost savings in this model?


No more rechartering. Charter once and then pay annual and monthly fees on going electronically. Lower banking costs, digital database of membership linked to Scoutbook. My guess is all councils and national spend north of a million just in paperwork.

The ongoing reduction just in printing voukd be substantial. A payment portal is easily produced and non profit rates are substantially lower.

I am curious about the figure of 1million for recharter for each council and national council ?

For the national council effort PLUS the local councils. There is so much redundancy in the overall organization that digitizing the business from chartering through donating, advancement etc there has to be some savings there. With 270 plus local councils if they each saved 10k that is almost $3million.

How about a breakdown of specific costs, listing of redundancy, explanation of digitized Advancement. Tossing out numbers without backup or details is not helpful it is just spewing numbers.

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Yeah… I may look over the financials. Looked at our local council and there were all sorts of opportunities to improve. A lot of it will be just being more productive. Our council does about 40 hours of training and reviews on recharter with 2-3 execs. Should be interesting.

I don’t see how it could possibly help the BSA. As it stands they get 100% of the registration on Jan 1. With the change - if that person quits then the amount earned goes down. Or more to the point, I would guess in my district less than half those transitioning to Scouts BSA are active come Sep. With the change you mention that would be $15 income lost per scout.

As it is, the cost of recharter is mostly born by the councils (which are separate from national). As a note, BSA is already a non-profit (or more importantly) a charitable organization.

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I would suggest that if the BSA makes money off of kids quitting there are two things at play: 1. escheatment - a prepaid annual membership could be considered unclaimed funds; and 2. not a very sturdy business platform. A subscription model is easier to manage, allows for forecasted on-going revenues and easy upsets for using an account at a store, or for camping, etc. Integrate the digital footprint of the BSA.

I am intrigued by the subscription model. It could be a bi-annual subscription model as managing it at the unit level would be a nightmare (Scout A cannot go camping this month because the subscription has not been paid). The bi-annual model will also allow for Scouts BSA units to get some of the unit fees it currently paid to Cub Scout units who charge a full year fee to AOLs they only retain for 2-3 months.


Exactly… when I told my parent the annual fee went to $60 they looked disgusted. When I told them it was $5 a month they were fine. Amazing the perspective you get when you make the obstacle more manageable.

Under the subscription model, who is responsible for collecting those funds and submitting them to council or national? It’s tough enough doing it once a year. I can’t imagine going through that more often.

I don’t like saying things are a bad idea out of hand, but this is a bad idea. I can’t imagine it’s easier or cheaper at the national level to track registrations for all adults and youth on a monthly basis than it is on a yearly basis. You’re gonna need some new infrastructure to do that, as well as more people working on the accounting/admin side of the organization than on the programming side. That’s two big strikes against the idea.

On top of that, how are you, at the unit level, going to manage this? “Hey, Jonny, you didn’t pay your dues this month. You can’t go on the camp out”? Talk about discouraging membership!

The last thing I want to do as a leader is spend MORE TIME messing around with money…

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I am still waiting for @ChristopherDaly to make a full proposal of existing costs and the proposal for cost savings. This should include existing costs and proposed savings with full line itemized debits and credits. Other than a proposal it remains number spewing. Mind you I am all for cost saving and efficient operation but without a plan the claim is bogus.


The national council operates beascout.org and applicants can pay online and the funds are collected centrally. The applicants select their unit and each unit has an account to set their fees. The fees are then distributed to your account when registratiin ends. That part is really easy…

Number spewing… how many digital transformatiins have you worked on in the last 5 years? I have finished 12. You can hurl cheap shots but this is what I do for a living. I guess we will just let the BSA mortgage all if their camps and fold up shop since change is “too hard” and just " number spewing"

@ChristopherDaly - ok…I really do not care but want to know about the north of 1 million dollars that every council and national council spend just to recharter. At this point I have asked for your proposal to improve the process and reduce costs. I am all for cost savings and efficiently running the system but without an outline of what the failings are and the steps to mitigate them are it is hard to get inspired.


If it’s what you do for a living, you should be able to provide something with a little more meat on the bones. For starters, where did the “north of a million dollars” to recharter come from?