As we start a new year, many Councils offer a spring fundraising opportunity. If your Unit needs to conduct a second fundraiser to pay for all of your annual Scouting activates, the key comes down to setting proper expectations with your parents.
Let’s start by saying the best situation for any Unit is to conduct one fundraiser and do that one fundraiser well. An average household with two Scouting age children have the opportunity to participate in 13 fundraisers a year. I have two children attending two different schools. The PTA at each school does 4-5 fundraisers. My son was in little league baseball which also did a fundraiser. Other potential fundraisers include Girl Scout Cookies, Karate, Soccer or Football. If you add Scouts to the mix, I am sure you can see families have lots of opportunities to raise money for the organizations in which their children participate. Families cannot do them all. They must pick and choose the ones which are best for them. Because of this, it is important to set the proper expectations with your families about your fundraisers.
1. Explain why your Unit is conducting a second fundraiser.
Be honest with them. Have a complete Unit Budget you can share with everyone. Show families how much the Unit raised at the last fundraiser and how much you may still need to fund the rest of your Scouting year. In addition, let families know if this second project will be an annual campaign or if it is just for the special item or trip you are doing this year.
2. Show families the importance of participation by every family.
I am sure you have heard the saying ‘many hands make light work’. This is especially true of fundraisers. The more everyone participates, the less everyone has to raise individually. Your Unit may give families the opportunity to ‘buy out’ of a particular fundraiser. Please look at removing this option. Part of the Scouting program is to teach youth to be self-reliant and pay their own way. Fundraising provides that opportunity. Scouts create memories even when participating in a fundraiser. I remember working at a recycling center with my whole patrol to raise enough money to go to camp my first year in Boy Scouts.
3. Let everyone know participation in the second fundraiser is in addition to selling popcorn
As stated before, families can only participate in a limited number of fundraisers. However, if families choose popcorn over your other fundraisers, the Unit will continue to be short on income collected from fundraisers. I have seen many Units gain the first year from doing the additional campaign, only to see a reduction in the participation in their primary fundraiser. In my son’s Unit, if you sell a certain dollar amount while selling popcorn you do not have to participate in the other fundraisers. Because of this, my family concentrates on just popcorn for his needs. We do participate in the other fundraisers, but that money goes back to the Unit to help others less fortunate than us.
There are times when Units need to do an additional fundraiser. Your Unit may need a new Pinewood Derby track, trailer for patrol gear or your Unit is traveling outside of Council for a high adventure activity. If this is the case, make sure everyone is on the same page and use the same tools which makes popcorn successful and apply them to your additional fundraisers.