As we start the month of August, it is time to build your Unit Calendar and Unit Budget. As a matter of fact, to get your full point value for Journey to Excellence, Units need to have their Unit Budget “Completed before the next program year”. For many Units, the program year starts sometime in the next several weeks.
Completing the Unit Calendar and Unit Budget requires the Unit Committee, if they have not done this already, to meet over the summer.
Why is it important to do this now?
It is a matter of cash flow.
Typically, this time of year is when your Unit Funds are at their lowest level. Units have depleted their unit accounts paying for camp and other summertime activities. In theory, Units should have just enough in their unit accounts to pay for anticipated awards from camp and their reserve fund.
However, Units will need funds before the end of the year to pay for re-charter, recruitment supplies, additional awards, Pack Meetings or Court of Honor, and other supplies.
Units should do an audit of their Unit Budget from last year. We look at the Personal Management Merit Badge for some thoughts on the subject. Requirement 2 states:
Do the following:
a. Prepare a budget reflecting your expected income (allowance, gifts, wages), expenses, and savings. Track your actual income, expenses, and savings for 13 consecutive weeks [year]. (You may use the forms provided in this pamphlet, devise your own, or use a computer-generated version.) When complete, present the results to your merit badge counselor [Unit Committee]:
b. Compare expected income with expected expenses.
- If expenses exceed income, determine steps to balance your budget.
- If income exceeds expenses, state how you would use the excess money (new goal, savings).
The biggest piece is reviewing the planned expenses versus the actual expenses. How close were you? Were there unforeseen expenses? How do these expenses compare to anticipated future expenses?
Once the review is complete, I recommend sharing this information with your Chartered Organization. There are a several reasons for this. First, sharing this information shows how the Unit is thrifty with the funds they have. Next, it shows transparency. There are no secrets that the funds were used for Scouting activities. Third, it may demonstrate the future needs the Unit may have and how the Chartered Organization can help. Finally, the Chartered Organization may need this information to assist with their financial statements. Remember, the Chartered Organization is the one who owns the Unit and are financially responsible for the funds used within ‘their’ Unit.
Once this review is completed, it is time to earn money for next year.
Fortunately, popcorn is just around the corner.