Upon further review, troop’s grocery-bagging fundraiser isn’t permitted

fundraisingUpdate, Feb. 7: See more explanation and answers to questions left in the comments below at this post.

I stand corrected.

Yesterday I blogged about a troop that raised money by bagging groceries for tips at a local supermarket.

Today I learned that such fundraisers aren’t permitted by the Boy Scouts of America. Mark Moshier, team leader for the BSA’s Development and Corporate Alliances and Council Fund Development teams, was friendly and helpful in providing me with an explanation as to why this type of project isn’t allowed.

Be sure to read Mark’s full explanation below, but the essence is that the project involves “solicitation of funds,” he writes. “Only the BSA national organization and local councils are authorized to solicit funds in the name of Scouting.”

I should say that several wise volunteers who commented on yesterday’s post knew something was fishy with the project idea and should be commended for staying aware of these important rules.

Today Mark gave me a copy of “Funding Your Scouting Program,” an official BSA training video I posted to YouTube. Watch it below. It’s 13 minutes and worth your time if you’re at all involved with fundraising in your pack, troop, team, post, ship or crew.

Thanks to Mark for this clarification. Please read his official response to yesterday’s post:

Mark Moshier’s response

The Boy Scouts of America has provided long-standing guidelines on permissible fundraising activities for its units. These guidelines are intended to clearly define to the Scouting community and the community at large the role in fundraising of the National Organization, Local Councils and Units. These guidelines are based on the Charter and Bylaws and Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America and in compliance with IRS regulations related to nonprofit organizations. They are reviewed on a regular basis by committees of the National Executive Board as the fundraising environment is constantly changing.

The Unit Money Earning Application provides a great source for guidance on permissible fundraising activities and is available from your local council or online at this link (PDF).

Additional guidance can be found in a Frequently Asked Questions document available at this link (PDF).

The key issue with the fundraising activity described in the Bryan on Scouting blog post is the issue of solicitation of funds. Only the BSA national organization and local councils are authorized to solicit funds in the name of Scouting. Units are permitted to earn money by participating in council-sponsored fundraising activities such as Popcorn sales and Camp Card sales and through the sale of products on their own such as candy bars, Christmas wreaths and trees and other direct sales.

Units can also deliver a service and charge a fee. Examples include a car wash, or a unit that cleaned up after a community festival, conducted by their charter organization, and collected all of the beverage cans and then turned them in for the deposit amount.

In the activity featured on the blog, the unit is providing a service, but as identified by several commenters, by seeking tips are really soliciting a donation, which is not permissible.

Funding Your Scouting Program: A Training Video
About Bryan Wendell 2817 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is senior editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.