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How does Scoutbook and TroopMaster compare? Trying to decide which one to keep and dump

Not sure if I am asking the question in the right place, was a little confused on this site.
I wonder who has switched from TroopMaster to Scoutbook, and is it better, any pros/cons? We are deciding, there are things we do in TroopMaster that we can not find in Scoutbook, although it may be that we just are not familiar enough with Scoutbook. Any personal experience to share would be helpful!

We are currently in the process of transitioning our troop and I have to say it is not easy. I think Scoutbook will be fine in the long run, but there will be a learning curve. The big difference is in TM all data is in one place, where Scoutbook is trying to communicate with BSAs legacy systems My.Scouting.org and Internet Advancements. TM doesn’t make it easy to transfer data and we had a team of 5 adults to do the data transfer. In SB, I like the communication functions and the calendar functions seem to be fine. SB is a bit clunky when it comes to entering Activities (camping, hiking and service proj) because it takes you out of SB and into Internet Advancements. If you are going to transfer, I think you really need to focus on your Council Charter document for Adults and Scouts to make sure that list is correct 1st because SB syncs only one way from your council member data (My.Scouting.org). You can put them in SB, but they will be removed. My frustration is getting adults (parents/leaders) setup because your council may have multiple records for the individual and you need to work those out on a case by case basis. I have sent invites from SB and parents report back to me that they are not receiving them, so I am really doing an invite then a separate personal email stating I sent the invite to identify if they have an issue with council records. Ultimately, our goal is to be all in on SB and eliminate the duplicate entry with TroopMaster. We’re confident we will get there just a process. Would recommend person doing the transfer be tech savvy.

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When you add adults to Scoutbook, please search for them by e-mail and by name. Many adults are already in the BSA’s systems, so you want to search for them instead of creating new Scoutbook accounts.

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The only great thing about scoutbook is that is syncs with bsa advancement automatically. Otherwise troop master is much, much better. Scoutbook is very slow and difficult to use. There are so many changes to the site that happen so it can be hard to keep up.

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Thanks for your input Michael. Definite pros for SB are it directly syncs to IA in real time, and it is free! It seems like TM has a bigger variety of reports you can print, but then I haven’t done a lot of reports through SB yet. We are just more familiar with TM, and it is hard to make a switch. We also really like the Activity Management in TM, we can put anything we want in it and track activity and look back for reference. We like to track all of our Troop activities, like Scouting for Food, Scout Sunday participation, Church Cleanups, stuff like that. In SB I believe what we can put in is limited to only their categories. It is a little frustrating with trying to get things corrected from national and in Internet Advancement. It would be nice to not have to do the double entry in TM and SB, but we will keep doing it for now.

Thanks for the tip Jennifer!

This is very true scouter11! So do you use SB at all? Or do you still sync TM to IA?

Well we have been experimenting with scoutbook over recent months. We are hoping to move over to it eventually once some things are added and fixed, but for now we sync TM to IA. We have also tried out troopweb host in the past and it is very good except it does not generate reports for IA.

We did an “emergency” switch from TM to SB about a year and a half ago. I was taking over from someone else and he misunderstood that when IA 2.0 came out that didn’t mean we had to switch immediately to SB, and I wasn’t up to speed enough to have a clue (I used TM in the past as a membership coordinator, so other than putting people in, and taking them out, plus updating dates on health forms (did those as well) I didn’t have any extensive experience with TM). It was a baptism by fire, and I moved a Troop of 50 some odd scouts over by myself, manual data entry from TM, while also dealing with figuring out MB’s from summer camp. And I didn’t know about this forum for help.

SB has improved as time has gone by (including my recent discovery of some additions to Reporting), and my learning curve is finally flattening out (although I had help clarifying another problem just this evening, but these guys came through with flying colors again – can’t thank the moderators on here enough!). I did NOT like when Activities were taken out of SB and put in to IA, not only for having to learn something new but because everything now takes me longer.

BUT, we track everything we do. And, good bad or otherwise, I end up tracking some things twice. Camping, Hiking and Service Hours are of course captured in IA. But the Events Calendar in SB allows me to put everything in, show who participated and create Participation/Attendance Reports based off of those Events. No limitations on categories per se (some are set, but put in Other and type in name; I have Attendance under Troop Meeting and SFF under Other – participation percentage is captured, you can capture adult and leader participation, you can setup RSVP’s (which I have not yet) and the reporting shows who is doing what pretty quickly).

Our leadership was hesitant to allow too many cooks in the kitchen, for fear of mucking things up, but I’m slowly trying to get them to go “all in” by allowing parents access now (we wanted MBC’s and ASM’s to understand the system first). I’m also trying to get up to speed on how to allow others to input Attendance at Events (I have read hints on here, just haven’t had a chance to test them yet).

And definitely download the Features Extensions.

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Thank you Maureen for sharing. We do not use the calendar in SB yet. So let me ask, if I enter a camping trip in the calendar in SB, will that transfer to IA to add to a scout’s activity log? Or does it also have to be added in at the scout’s activity log in SB (which takes you to IA to enter the activity)? Didn’t know if entering in both places would be a double entry.

The logs are not linked to the calendar function. They are separate entry processes.

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As Charley notes these are two separate things and need to be entered separately. That’s why I said I have to duplicate my work. It’s not difficult, but a tad time consuming and hence why I’m interested in testing having someone else enter attendance at Events. I do think the Calendar is worth investing some time in learning – our CC was very excited to see Upcoming Events start showing up. And you can setup Reminders (I haven’t tested that).

If you choose to start using the additional features of the Calendar, beyond participation, you might search on here for issues and how they’ve been resolved. For instance I do remember seeing something recently about RSVPs and Reminders. I’ll be looking at those again when I’m ready to take that step.

I would add that as the Troop Admin I DO like the separate entry for Activities in SB/IA vs. TM because we had problems with permissions in TM where too many adult leaders could modify the “X” entry in TM. Especially when those adult leaders were using the TM App, thinking they were RSVPing to an event, when in fact they were checking off giving their Scout credit for attending even though the event hadn’t occurred yet. The same Adult Leaders have the permissions in SB, but the process is more intentional than in TM combining activity and awarding in same place.

Maureen - I’d recommend you say “encouraging” rather than “allowing” parents access, because in reality you have no way to limit the parents’ access to their Scouts’ data. National designed the permissions in Scoutbook this way.

Fair enough. I forget that as our parents have no idea they “can” access the info, as we haven’t told them. Nor have we sent invitations. And fully q quarter of the email addresses are not valid (still researching how to correct that). But when we meet about this tomorrow I will remind leadership of your words. :wink: Works to my advantage as I’m the one pushing.

Good luck! I had similar issues with this when I converted my troop from TM to SB, and it’s taken the better part of two years to get the non-participating families to connect. Some of it was lack of knowledge, and some was just apathy.

I have no problem with apathy. :wink: I just want to get out ahead of any problems with people getting in there and not knowing what they’re doing. This way I have a shot at sending out some kind of informational email. Our families did not connect with TM and so most are unfamiliar with the concept (unless they’re transferring in from a Pack or Troop that used it).

Well I do have a lot more to figure out with SB, will keep practicing more in it. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the programs.

Cost. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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Rick H, Could you elaborate on your response: ( Cost. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ ).
From your position I would guess you are saying that SB is saving us a bundle of $$.
However we pay less than $3 per scout annually for TM. Our cost for SB has not been itemized but from what I have seen, it appears to be somewhat more than that. In any case, what TM provides, over and above SB, is still well worth $3.
We are in transition to SB but during this extended transition, keeping up with the continual change in SB takes time that could be spent on other Scouting objectives. Maintaining both TM and SB is very time consuming but SB is not sufficient on its own yet.
I’m hoping there is a justification for this change but I don’t think $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ is it.