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Fundraising rules are a joke now

Let’s go over the rules of fundraising. It’s clear to me that reality on the ground and the rules have diverged so widely as to make the rules de facto worthless.

Units aren’t supposed to fund raise for individuals. Families are expected to find their own way to raise money and pay dues and activity fees. Dues are supposed to cover unit costs, not fundraising

If we buy something to resell I can’t sell it to support Scouting. The Scouts can’t wear their uniform doing fundraising unless it’s approved

I can’t request donations

We’re supposed to not fund raise the same dates as other units and check with the council for dates.

I understand the goal is to teach kids to be self reliant, to raise money on their own. When it cost ~$10 it was possible to cover camp, registration and unit dues from one official fundraiser as a pack. How many Kindergarteners of low income families do you think are going to be able to find a way to pay the $100+ in registration costs many councils have now and unit dues?

How many people would be willing to buy something from a kid that is out of uniform and isn’t promoting scouting?

The fundraising rules as they are should be scrapped, let charter orgs and units partner to raise money and make the standard be more about being appropriate for scouting than being picky about who you can get money from.

How many kindergarteners and first graders can really go out and raise money on their own?


So we can’t ask for monetary donations?


As long as I have been involved with Scouting, units have not been allowed to ask for any donations.

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@KevinCarlyle - the rules are a joke… that in it’s perfect state speaks volumes. I am not certain that you realize that the charter organization owns the units they charter. That being said, they may not necessarily appreciate not approve your fundraising concept as the issue of substantial benefit to individuals may contitute the need for 1099 reporting. But unfortunately the forms you note have been in place since 2007 so indeed this happened like yesterday.


We have had no problem operating within those guidelines and I see no reason to change. I don’t see any major change in policy from years gone by.


I have a yard full of buckeyes and $20 to the first kid who shows up and clears them off my property. I don’t care if he/she uses it for scouting, cheer-leading, of football.
Yes, I understand that in impoverished communities, scouts will have to cover a lot more yards for the same cash. But, having earned that cash on their own, they can then decide on spending that money on registration fees or pizza.

But the OP touches on an even a more important question:

Maybe it is wrong to charge a 5 or 6 year old any money to go have fun with a Parent/Guardian and his/her buddies. Perhaps 2nd grade is the appropriate age to start Cub-scouting.


Maybe. Then again, my youngest (who’s a Star Scout now) was absolutely heartbroken that he had to wait until first grade to do the cool stuff his big brother was doing in Cub Scouts… Making him wait another year might have cost him all interest in Scouting.


I think it cuts both ways. I see a lot of AoLs who feel like in the past seven years they have done everything in scouts that they wanted to do, and they don’t crossover.
Haven’t we all dealt with a parent who’s flummoxed by the boy who was bored as a cub? My advice to them was, “Let him quit! Do something else fun with him, please! Then, ask him if he wants to visit a troop when he’s 11.”

On the other hand, this week I met two brothers who really like their Lion and Tiger den. For them, I’m glad their parents can afford the fees. But, I am worried that the pressure this puts on other parents is too much when all they need to do is get together with a couple of nearby families and make some fun happen.

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I’ve seen this, too. I suspect that’s partially because the Webelos leader didn’t change anything for them. It’s just another year of Cub Scouts. They aren’t getting enough cool new opportunities that the younger scouts don’t get.

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35 years ago, I was that kid. Fortunately, my best friend had an older brother who was a boy scout. My friend got me to agree to check out one meeting. I made Eagle and my friend didn’t (21 merit badges, leadership, and a project later he didn’t complete the paperwork.). My life’s greatest regret is that i didn’t fill out the paperwork for him, a better friend would have done that. I’ve been involved continuously since that time. If it wasn’t for my friend however…



You may not solicit donations. But you may accept them, with caveats!! That is, you cannot ask people or organizations to donate money to a unit. However, you may accept a donation from anyone who offers it, if, as I read the rules, your Chartering Organization (CO) has 501c3 status.

Your CO needs to be in the know, though. Because any donations can be attributed to their Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes.

Take an example…Your unit is chartered to a local church (a non-profit with a current EIN on file with the IRS). Your awesome COR has asked the church board if the unit may accept (not solicit) donations and issue a receipt with their EIN to the donor. The Board says “Sure, but we need a copy of a receipt, or a record of the donation, as well.” (Most CO’s say yes…YMMV)

Now, your unit is selling popcorn in front of your local grocery store. Mr. and Mrs. Public come out and your Scouts ask them if they wish to buy popcorn to support the unit. “No, thank you,” is the answer, “but, we would like to give you a $10 donation.”

You can accept that donation (because you didn’t ask for it) and you offer the nice couple a receipt for tax purposes. If they say they would like a receipt, you give them one that actually shows they gave the money to your CO, and has their name, the amount, and your CO’s EIN on it. Your CO also needs this information. If they refuse the receipt, put the money in your bucket and wish them a great day…no further action required.

If your CO said no, then you may take the donation if you explain to the couple that their contribution is not tax deductible…and no receipt required.

Do not use your council’s EIN, or say the donation was to the BSA. If you do, then, technically, you should turn that money in to your council as something akin to a Friends of Scouting donation.

If your unit is chartered by a for-profit entity, like a business, then you should not accept donations…or speak to the business and their tax advisers first…

We have another arrangement we benefit from…a large national company, with local offices, has a program wherein, if their employees donate time in service of a non-profit, then the company will make a monetary donation on the employee’s behalf to that organization. We asked our CO if we could use their EIN…they said yes. The employee donates time, say at summer camp, and gives our CO’s EIN to the company, with our unit information. The company finance office cuts a check to the unit, and Bob’s your uncle!

For any and all cases, please research IRS rules for yourself, because if there is ever a problem, you and your CO are the ones in the hot seat. BSA actually does not set these fiscal procedures, the IRS does. BSA’s policies are written to help you comply with tax laws.

Hope this helps,

Scouter Rob


Related and previous references

My oldest started as a Tiger and loved every level of Cubs and loved being in the troop. He only dropped out at Life because his father passed away and he ended up with severe depression and gave up on everything he loved for a few years.

My next son on the other hand joined as a tiger, actually dropped out and rejoined 2x. Crossed over last year and toyed with dropping out again. Went to summer camp and is now thrilled with Scouts.

My younger sons are a Wolf and Lion. My Wolf was a Lion and hated the Lion program. He was ambivalent to being a Tiger but now as a Wolf is really having fun. His brother the Lion is autistic and mostly non verbal so he never tells you what he likes/doesn’t like but one of the things he says is every Scout day he seems to know it is scout day and asks over and over “Can I got to Cub Scouts…” So I take that he likes it.


You can’t ask, but you certainly can accept.

there is a document around IRS rules and it feels like National is trying to make things vague on purpose to avoid liability rather than making it easy to raise money.

It doesn’t come out and say it but it basically says “don’t come to us” on the topic.

Kevin, I happen to agree with national on that topic–BSA is not a tax advisory service. We should not expect BSA to provide tax advice. There are qualified tax professionals in every community in the country that are well-equipped for that.


Also, along with @PaulMcDonald’s comments, you have to remember that there are many different situations for different units. State laws vary, and chartered organization rules vary. I would not expect, nor would I necessarily trust, someone that rolls up, entirely unfamiliar with the specifics of my unit and my chartered org, giving out financial and tax advice.

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@PaulMcDonald and @SteveCagigas: Thanks for that. I AM a tax adviser, and I sometimes use the knowledge I’ve gained from my background to comment here for the sake of my fellow Scouters. However, I can only speak in generalities, and nothing I post here should be construed as tax advice.

The BSA cannot possibly know the potential tax consequences of a transaction or event for every one of its chartered partners, and it would be foolish for it to pretend that it does.


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