As the costs associated with being in scouts continues to grow, I thought that perhaps units with creative ways to cover costs and assist families could share some ideas. I was with a troop that was fortunate enough to have a medical office offer their parking lot during college football games. The only thing they asked was that the troop pick up the litter left by the users. They had been used to having people park there illegally and then leaving litter, beer bottles and such for the staff to pick up. 40 cars X $5 was an easy $200 each game to earn. Some units have community dinners and bottle drives. Some do car washes. What do you do?
We put out flags 6 times a year on a subscription basis - residential and commercial - right now we have $45K in account. Of course we have the dreaded Scout Accounts - BUT they allowed my son to pay for NSJ in a little over a year and we had 5 Scouts pay for WSJ, aside from Summer Camps, HA, monthly camps. My son also had saved for a European Jambo that got cancelled last year. This year as we did not camp as much (like ever unit) committee decided to pay everyones recharter national and insurance fees (we still ask for $50 troop fee in cash to make sure skins were in the game.)
NOTE: Our same number pack covers a few of the routes for us so they pay 100% of everything for all members (including books, not unis I think)
Sounds interesting… I assume major holidays and you supply the flags and poles. Did this grow over a long period? Types of flags… specific holidays and then I assume you collect them and store them?
The owner of a local farm supply store lets us use their lot for a car wash.
That offset some of the losses from having to cancel our spaghetti dinner this year.
Let’s not whitewash things however, time spent fundraising takes time away from outdoor program.
10’ Poles 3X5’ US Flags - Presidents, Memorial, Veterans, 4th July, Flag day, Labor Day - (we do not do 9/11 as they are not at half mast)
Troop has been doing for nearly 30 years - it blew up after 9/11 - the Scoutmaster at the time told all scouts to put out all flags on the commercial routes on 9/12 and the news crew blew it up and we got tons of new subscribers. For commercial routes of 10 or more we give discounts. One day my son added 25 new flags to an existing commercial one (that is $750 a year for troop and that is just one Scout). This route has 75 flag at $30/year each - We get one credit cause it only takes about 30 minutes to hit the 6 stops - so that is $2,160 to troop)
Running a route (putting out and picking up flags) earns you a credit (that is $90). Harder routes can get you 1.5 or 2 credits.
Main issue is managing the database (we just spent $4,500 on a self managing website). Flag storage (we have about 1,400 right now). AND having a big enough area to dry them all if they get rained on.
Right now we have about 1200 flags going out - so that is about $39,000 in income for the troop annually.
below is an out of date flyer
FOBC Brochure-2.pdf (289.4 KB)
The flags are fixed to the poles?
The poles are conduit? What size? How far do they go into the ground?
How hard is it to put the PVC into the ground? Do they get “clogged up” over time?
Yes affixed to Aluminum conduit - 1/2
We have a driver to push PVC into ground to form a sleeve - think Chopstick with a straw over it - straw being PVC - Then the GOOD one has a plate to just stand on - the others you have to use a hammer/t-post driver
If flush to the ground they do pretty good but it depends where you put it of course.
Then HOPEFULLY you put a mark on curbs - we use hunter green fluer
Our troop sells mulch. The boys sell bags mulch and the troop does a bulk buy from the manufacture. Then the boys deliver it all. We are priced the same as big box stores and we deliver it so it works out well. IT doesn’t raise a ton of many but a couple of thousand dollars is not bad. We live in an affluent community so costs are prohibitive for most of our members but I do wonder how many kids we don’t get because of costs.
At summer camp I spoke with a another troop that runs a massive haunted house for the month of Oct. It funds their entire troop. The live in an impoverished community. Kids that volunteer get credit. Not only do they get their fees paid for, but their camps and scouting equipment gets paid for as well.
Camp Cards - we work with local retailers, restaurants and businesses and they provide discounts that are printed on the cards. The cards cost about $400 for 3000 cards and we sell them for $5/card with over $100 in discounts. We add them to our mulch sale and sell them all year long to cover almost 100% of the costs of the program for our Scouts.
We have a small unit with 7 Scouts and with Summer Camp, dues and camping fees it’s about $750/Scout/year. The excess funds go toward a fund for adventure camp being planned in 2022.
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