Making Sure Your Unit Credits All of Your Donations for the Popcorn Sale

military_business_handshake_9795I have been told by many Units over the years, “We have people who do not want to buy popcorn but want to give a donation.  Is that OK?”  You may find the answer surprising.

First, let’s talk about BSA policy.  The guidelines on the Unit Money Earning Application are very specific.  It states, “At no time are Units permitted to solicit contributions for Unit programs.”  This means that Units cannot put any donations they receive directly into their Unit accounts.  By accepting a donation, a Unit may violate their not-for-profit status.

In addition, this would include soliciting while in a Scout Uniform for another organization, such as the Salvation Army or political organization.  Because the ‘Scout Uniform’ is as much a brand as the Boy Scouts of America, it is inappropriate for Units to affiliate the Boy Scout ‘brand’ with another organization without permission from the local Boy Scout Council or National Office.

Understand with all Unit fundraisers, a product or service must be exchanged for money collected.  Otherwise it is considered a direct solicitation of funds and goes against BSA policy.

So if a person wants to give a donation to your Unit, what do you tell them?

You have two options.  The first option is to tell the customer that you will pool all of the donations collected and use the funds to send popcorn to military units around the world. This can be done by placing Military Donations with all of the donations collected.  This way a product is purchased with the donations and qualifies as a fundraiser.

The second option is to politely say “No, Thank you.  It is against policy for us to take a donation and we want to earn the money on our own.”

Now that your Unit has collected the donations, how to you allocate them?

It is easiest to use an example, so here is how we do this in my son’s Troop.

First, we determine the total amount of dollars collected at site sales and the total donations collected.  Let’s say we had 10 Scouts collect a total of $2000 which includes all of the product and the donations collected.  This would mean that each Scout should get credit for $200 in total sales ($2000/10 Scouts = $200). This is an important amount to remember because each Scout should have no more than the $200 credit.  Now let’s say out of the $2000, $300 was in the form of donations.  It is important Military Orders totaling $300 is placed for the Unit.  In this example, it is easiest to give each Scout a $30 Military Donation and then $170 Credit for the Site Sales for a total of $200 assuming that each Scout worked the same amount of time.

Another way to calculate this is by figuring out the average sold per hour at the sight sales and the average donations collected.  In the case above, if the total number of man hours worked at the site sales is 40 hours, then each Scout would get credit for $42.50/hour sales and $7.50/hour in donations.  If each Scout worked 4 hours each, they would get credit for the same amount above.  If they worked a different amount of hours, then they would each get the appropriate amount of credit per hour.

You may have an instance where the donations and/or sales do not work out evenly.  The important thing to remember is that each Scout gets the appropriate credit.  If you have to adjust the Site Sales amount and the Military Donations for each Scout, then do it as long as the total credit per Scout is appropriate.  Make all of your numbers work out to the even dollar amount if possible.  Use the extra funds left over to offset the credit card service charges.

It is important the Military Donations are converted to actual sales so as not to violate BSA Policy.  It is important for the Unit, Customer, and Military for allocations to be applied appropriately.


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