Can Scouters raise funds for themselves using individual accounts?

The conundrum: A parent wants to go to camp with his or her Scout, but money has been tight for the family lately. So, the parent asks if he or she can individually raise money and put it in a Scout account. What do you tell the parent?

In short, no, it’s not recommended.

“The rationale for using Scout accounts at all, since the IRS doesn’t generally approve of individual fundraising accounts, is for a Scout to earn their own way,” says Russ McNamer, the BSA’s associate general counsel. “I don’t think it would be a good idea for adults.”

Doing so could violate the IRS’s regulations on “private benefit” for charitable organizations. For guidance on how individual Scout accounts should be used, click here and here.

So, what’s the parent to do?

Instead of individually raising money, adults and youth can both benefit from a unit fundraiser, based on the unit committee’s decisions. Remember to submit a unit money-earning project application for your local council and chartering organization to review and approve before you start raising money.

Other options include units providing financial assistance based on a family’s need or circumstance. A unit’s budget could also have funds designated for adults to go on a trip or activity. Again, these would be decisions for the unit committee to make in agreement with the chartering organization.

Check with your council to see if camps charge the full fee or not for adults to attend; some camps might provide a free adult to go based on the number of Scouts attending.

Another option could come when it’s time to do your taxes. The costs might be tax-deductible for adults who itemize, McNamer says.

What’s your solution?

What are some ways you help adults attend Scouting events? Share them below, and check out some do’s and don’ts of unit fundraisers and tips for providing financial assistance.

About Michael Freeman 446 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.