Welcome to the LDS Scouter Blog. We hope to provide you with valuable information, share useful resources and maybe even improve some attitudes and Ward Scouting programs. The recommended way to use this blog is to start with the post, "Why I started this blog." Then browse through the post titles in the archive (found in the sidebar) for topics of interest.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fundraising

In recent years, fundraising has not been encouraged by Church leaders. However, they do understand the need for youth programs to sometimes raise money to pay for expensive annual camps. They have left it up to each ward to decide whether each youth group in the ward needs to hold a fundraiser or if expenses can be covered by the ward budget or the families of the youth. This decision is ultimately up to the bishop.

Church policy allows one fundraiser a year per group for the purpose of paying for one camp or needed equipment. The fundraiser must fit within the following guidelines (from the most recent version of the Church Handbook):

If a fund-raising activity is held, it should provide a meaningful value or service. It should be a positive experience that builds unity.

Contributions to fund-raising activities are voluntary. Priesthood leaders should take special care to ensure that members do not feel obligated to contribute.

Stakes and wards that sponsor fund-raising activities should not advertise or solicit beyond their boundaries. Nor should they sell products or services door to door.

Examples of fund-raising activities that are not approved include:

1. Activities that would be taxable.
2. Activities completed with paid labor, either by employees or by contract.
3. Entertainment for which the stake or ward pays performers for their services, when admission is charged, and when the intent of the activity is to raise funds.
4. The sale of commercial goods or services, including food storage items.
5. Games of chance, such as raffles, lotteries, and bingo.

Any exceptions to these instructions must be approved by a member of the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency.

The Friends of Scouting fund drive in the United States will continue as a separate, voluntary solicitation.


In the past, popcorn sales has been an approved method of fundraising for Scouts, but a statement has not been made by Church leaders as to whether that is still the case with the newest fundraising guidelines.

Here is an article where several people contributed ideas of fundraisers that had been successful in their wards. Some of the ideas in the article specifically mention ways to overcome awkwardness in ward dinners with suggested donations as well as inherent problems in service and cake auctions. This article gives some ideas for services that could be offered for auction. Here is the story of a ward that used an auction for its Cub Scout Pack and did it in such a way that the ward as a whole was strengthened by it.

It is my opinion that when the ward is the main audience for the fund-raiser that it is best when the fundraiser somehow brings the ward together like in the story. Another example is a pack I participated in where a pancake breakfast was held in conjunction with the pinewood derby on a Saturday morning. This not only raised money for the Cub Scouts, it encouraged support for the program by turning the derby into a ward activity to be shared by everyone. There were extra races held after the boys' cars were raced that anyone who wanted to could enter a car. This gave siblings, those who had never had the opportunity to be Cub Scouts, as well as dads who might otherwise be tempted to more than "help" with their sons' cars an opportunity to build and race their own cars. These "leader and family races" were very informal and fun for everyone. I have heard of some packs having similar races and charging a small admission fee for entering a car in the extra races as part of the fundraiser. Pancake breakfasts are low cost and easy to do, and the suggested donation price does not need to be very high. In addition, if you look on the back of the large Krusteaz bags, you will find information about how to receive some money back from the company if you use the product as part of a fundraiser (remember to save a copy of your receipt).

Not selling products door-to-door does not mean that the ward has to be the main source of funds. Look for opportunities for meaningful ways to help the community as whole. Car washes are a classic way for youth to raise money. You may find that there is a need in your community that is not being met that is also a way for your Scouts to earn money. For example, our community has a Fourth of July celebration that is relatively new. There are activities in the park in the morning before the parade, including a breakfast. The event has only been going on for a few years, so there isn't a particular group established to run the breakfast every year. Last year the committee had to look for a group willing to do it. This would be a great opportunity for a troop to provide a service that benefits the community and raises funds for their camp at the same time.

Remember that any fundraising activity needs to be approved by your bishop. He is the one who is appointed to receive revelation in this area. Follow the Spirit, and good luck finding ways to fund your program.

The final post in this series tomorrow will cover some additional thoughts on expenses associated with Scouting.

10 comments:

Cat said...

This post was really helpful, thank you. The link you posted for mormonshare.com for ideas comes up invalid. Is there another way to access the link? Thanks- Cat.

Evenspor said...

See if this works any better for you:

http://www.mormonshare.com/taxonomy/term/64/fund-raiser

That will list all of their articles on fund raising. The specific one I linked to here is the one called "Youth Fundraiser Ideas."

flash said...

I do not believe that the no selling door-to-door rule applies to LDS scouts selling popcorn. A fund raiser of that nature is not a church sponsored fund raiser (to which the guideline would apply) but rather a fund raiser sponsored by a scout's family that is facilitated by the Boy Scouts. The Church has no affiliation with the sale other than to charter the scout unit.
Many leaders will restrict selling to ward members, especially at church on Sunday which I agree with and is consistient with Church guidlines but, if parents wish to allow their son to sell popcorn door-to-door, following BSA guidelines and with proper supervision there should be nothing that prevents the boys from doing that. Many of these same boys will become missionaries someday who could very possibly spend some time doing something similar, going door-to-door on their missions.

firebirdluver said...

Flash - That's an interesting take. I'd never thought of the popcorn being run like that. I'm not sure how easy it would be to Lone Ranger popcorn sales without unit support, but there are always traditional units around that would be able to support a solitary LDS scout wishing to participate in the popcorn sales. Or District or Council support should be available.

Evenspor said...

I just want to clarify that the rule about door-to-door sales is not new, and popcorn sales do not have to be door-to-door. I understand the supermarket approach can be quite successful and has been allowed in the past.

The rule I would think would be an issue is the part prohibiting "the sale of commercial goods or services, including food storage items," but like I said, there has been no official statement yet retracting the previous statement on popcorn sales.

Of course, an individual boy raising his own money for camp would be a different topic altogether.

flash said...

The LDS Scout unit could help with the sale and should because participation is thought of by the council as support for the council since it usually gets a cut that helps with it's operating budget. This improves LDS relations with the council and other non-LDS scouters.
The unit would have to participate, because as you mentioned, it would be very difficult for a family to participate in the sale on their own.
I believe the policy regulates fund raising for church axilliaries, young men, young women, etc. The popcorn sale is a Boy Scout fund raiser. The scout doesn't go to the door and announce that he is a member of the LDS Church and is selling popcorn to raise money for the Church, he states that he is raising money to fund his year in scouting by selling popcorn. It is not a church fundraiser therefore not covered by the policy.
This is admittedly a very liberal opinion of the policy but, if the policy in it's strictest interpretation were followed to the letter the boy, for whom the popcorn sale was designed, would have very little to do with it since most aspects of the sale that he could actually do are prohibited leaving only parents doing most or all of the selling by taking it to work and the boy asking relatives to buy the popcorn. That is about all that is left. It is interesting to note that some leaders will even prohibit sales of popcorn in front of stores and outside of ward boundries. Under these restrictions it really is no wonder that most LDS scout units do not participate in the sale, missing out on a wonderful resource for the boys.
I think we need to change our thinking from what we cannot do to finding a way to do what we need to do. There are many life-skills that the boys gain from participation in raising their own money to fund their year in scouting not to mention the ownership they take in THEIR program. Do we not teach self-reliance in the Church? Where is the self-reliance in having the Church budgets, which are woefully inadequate pay for everything?
Finally, there is a fair amount of positive public relations benefits that can be realized by participating in the sale. Relationships between the LDS Church and the local council is often less than desired. Participation in the popcorn sale by LDS scout units is a great start in improving that relationship.

Arid-zona Mom said...

Just reading all the comments I'd like to add: If you go along with what flash is saying about the fund raiser not being a church sponsored fund raiser and therefore the rules do not apply. What about the rest of the scouting program? The church pays for the charing of the pack. The church pays for ALL the activities it can, how is this not sponsoring the scouting program? There is an LDS scout handbook that outlines how the LDS scout program runs. This book includes rules about funding and references additional LDS handbooks on how fundraisers should be handled. I don't think you can get much more LDS sponsored than this. If you want a scouting program that is not LDS sponsored you will have to move to a different country.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am not a member of the church (yet), but I am able to help with the Blazer program. I know this is a very unique part of the program. They do not really fit in the older scouts, and their budget is funded from Primary Budget.

We are having trouble finding a fund raiser to fit within the guidelines. I liked the article of a soup dinner with auctioning off the kids talents and help them earn honest money.

I beleive the prophets can speak to God, but my only question would be, if there is not funding, how are the other kids to invite their friends to join their scout program? I agree Heavenly Father wants us to provide for ourselves, and his son Jesus did turn the tables of the money changers in the temple over. However, I think the goal should be to not only participate in Scouts, but to intrduce their friends to the true church by participating in scouts.

Also, people in the community do not respone well to attending a dinner at the local Mormon church, they think you all are cults (I know better than that). I think it need to be something where the kids feel good about the fundraiser, but als o let the community see that you all are great people living for God.

Evenspor said...

Hi there. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your testimony. We are blessed to have a living prophet. Unfortunately, people are still imperfect and often don't understand the inspired programs (and therefore don't implement them quite right). When I was a kid, there was a program for boys called Blazers. It's gone now, but for some reason the name has stuck around in some places. We have an article about the 11-year-old scout patrol you might be interested in:

http://ldsscouter.blogspot.com/2011/12/limbo-patrol.html

I highly recommend the blog of the author. I think he may be able to help you:

http://voluntoldscouter.blogspot.com/

He has some great insights into the program, especially relating to the 11-year-old patrol.

As for fundraising, it is often difficult to fund Scouting in the Church, since we don't collect dues and there are rules for fundraising, but don't let that deter you from inviting other boys. It is my experience that when the money is needed, somehow it always gets found.

Anonymous said...

You state, "In the past, popcorn sales has been an approved method of fundraising for Scouts, but a statement has not been made by Church leaders as to whether that is still the case with the newest fundraising guidelines."

But you also quote the latest handbook which says, "The sale of commercial goods or services" is NOT approved.

The brethren have made a statement about the sale of popcorn and you have cited it. If you want confirmation just call the office of the General YM.