During our recent communications about how we will sustain access to Scouting for the foreseeable future—which includes a potential new funding model—questions have been raised about our Council’s operations…including our primary responsibilities, our personnel, our total budget, and more.
We appreciate these questions. In fact, we believe that they are being asked with the best intentions of the Scouting community in mind.
We further appreciate that the totality of our responsibilities is not always visibly apparent to those who only engage with us on the periphery. With that in mind, we have prepared the following overview of our responsibilities/functions, along with corresponding revenue and expense overviews, in an effort to continue communicate with you—our Scouting family—with full transparency.
For background, the Boy Scouts of America received its Charter from the Congress of the United States of America on June 15, 1916 to teach Scouts patriotism, courage, self-reliance and kindred virtues and was commissioned as an educational program and charged with using its oaths, promises, and codes of the Scouting program to develop character, citizenship training, leadership, and mental and physical fitness to youth. In order to carry out this charter, the National Council grants charters to local Councils to ensure that these general principles are accepted and followed by the Chartered Organizations and Units within these geographic territories.
The Occoneechee Council is charged to “guide and support its chartered organizations and units for the achievement of the movement’s purpose”.
- An engaged and empowered Board of Directors who are the fiduciaries and steer the Council towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as ensuring the nonprofit has adequate resources to advance its mission.
- Professional support and counsel with Charter and Unit leadership through a staff of trained, commissioned full-time family scouting executives and other professional support members.
- A Scouting Service Center staffed with office and program support team members available to help volunteers, parents and Scouts best utilize the program and direct them to the resources to insure a high-quality Scouting experience.
- Camping properties available to use for unit and district programs, activities and events.
- Scout stores available to provide the necessary supplies such as uniforms, camping gear and literature.
- Direct unit support through a network of trained and commissioned volunteers who work directly with unit leadership to ensure quality program delivery.
- Volunteer training offered through multiple channels that allow unit leadership the opportunity to develop their skills in providing a quality program to the young men and women of their den, pack, troop or crew.
- Insurance coverage to protect volunteers, chartered organizations, staff members and properties.
- Camping and outdoor program support through Cub Scout day camps, Boy Scout summer camp at Camp Durant and coordinated high-adventure programs and more.
- National program and high adventure coordination including Council coordination of Scouts/Units to the National Jamboree.
- Support for unit growth and development through round-up support and community relationships that create engagement opportunities with new families within the neighborhoods served.
- A Council website and other communications mediums available to support Unit leadership and parents.
- Advancement guidelines and support to allow Scouts to follow the trail to Arrow of Light, Eagle and Summit Award.
- Administrative support, including conflict resolution and coordination of volunteer screening for leader enrollment, background checks and youth protection training.
- Scholarships to allow any youth the opportunity to participate in the program from uniforms to summer camp and registration fees for young people.
The Occoneechee Council is committed to operating with full transparency with our Scouting family. We hope that this provides you with a more complete picture of everything we are charged with to keep Scouting viable in our region. We welcome your continued input and questions.
Occoneechee Council 2019 Operating Budget
The budget is the operational plan of the Occoneechee Council executive board expressed in revenue and expenses. The budget is prepared annually by a committee of volunteers, supported by staff who review numerous activities, events and projects that shape the budget proposal. The finished budget is reviewed and approved by the Council’s Finance Committee, Executive Committee and Board of Directors.
Summary of the 2019 Budget Revenue
Friends of Scouting (35%)
Friends of Scouting is our Council’s annual giving campaign. We conduct this campaign in three phases. The Friends of Scouting Breakfast and Community Campaigns (24%). The breakfast is the Council’s premier fundraising event it combines with the Community Campaigns, which focus on funding with local alumni and community support. The Family Friends of Scouting Campaign (11%) is conducted when volunteers visit each Scouting unit and ask for parent and leader support.
Special Events (6%)
Special events raise money for scouting but are centered on an activity or event with the net proceeds benefiting the Council. Occoneechee Council’s special events include The Thomas Crowder Memorial Golf Tournament, annual Sporting Clays Classic and Citizen of the Year events in Moore, Cumberland, Durham and Wake Counties.
Foundation Support (9%)
We are fortunate to have several major foundations who provide annual support to the operating budget of the Council. Our development office also writes community and regional grant requests that generate funds to this line item of the budget.
Other Direct Contributions (5%)
Other contributions that do not fit into another category are placed into the other direct contributions. This budget line includes special foundation funding for the John William Pope Eagle Scout Scholarships.
Product Sale (Net costs and Commissions) (17%)
Product sale income includes the Council’s proceeds from our annual Camp Card and Trails’End© Popcorn Campaign.
Camping Revenue (14%)
Includes all income sources for our Council’s Camps. The primary source of income for this line item are the proceeds generated through summer camp.
Activity Revenue (7%)
Activity revenue comes from every activity and event sponsored by the Council. This includes Cuboree all camporees as well as all district events including training and Pinewood derbies.
Other Revenue (7%)
The Occoneechee Council continues to receive support from the Cumberland and Moore County United Ways and includes donor designations from all United Ways. It also records the gains our Council’s Endowment and other interest-bearing accounts. This also includes the Council’s revenue from our two National Scout Stores and other miscellaneous income.
Summary of the 2019 Budget Expenses
Salaries (including payroll taxes/benefits):
The Council’s human capital (its employees) are the greatest part of the annual operation budget. This resource is separated into Camp Salaries (8%) including our summer camp seasonal staff; Professional Program Salaries (30%) who provide direct support to our Chartered Organizations, Units and District volunteers; Office Salaries (11%) who provide support services at our Scouting Service Center; and Fundraising Salaries (11%) of our Council’s Development Team.
Professional Fees: (2%)
Includes cost of our annual audit, employment and accounting services and technology services.
Program and Other Supplies: (12%)
Includes the cost associated with every activity and event sponsored by the Council. This includes the program costs of camp services as well as events like Cuboree, Camporees and District activities, training and events.
Occupancy and Utilities: (6%)
Includes the cost of electricity, gas, water and wastewater, building supplies, site and facility rentals, permits and taxes.
Rental & Maintenance: (2%)
Includes rent on our Cumberland Scout Shop Store, equipment rental for copiers and other office equipment and rentals for activities and events.
Includes the gas cost and maintenance of camp vehicles, reimbursement for staff travel, meals and incidentals for events, vehicle rentals and transportation.
Conferences & Meetings: (2%)
Includes direct cost associated with the Friends of Scouting breakfast, volunteer and staff training for Camp Schools, Wood Badge, NYLT and BSA training experiences and Summer Camp national training.
Recognition and Awards: (3%)
Includes the John William Pope Eagle Scholarship expense, recognition for volunteers for program and fundraising events, round-up costs and all District and program event recognitions.
Includes automobile, building, fidelity bonds, D&O and the Council’s share of general liability.
Other Expense: (7%)
Includes the Council national service fee, interest charges, telephone/communications and postage.
What is changing?
We are replacing the Family Friends of Scouting fundraising campaign (2020) and annual recharter fees (2021) in favor of a monthly subscription for Scouting in the Occoneechee Council.
What is not changing?
We are committed to ensuring that Scouting remains accessible to every young person who wants to participate. No scout should be denied the program because of an inability to pay. Through fundraising, scholarships and other means, we are committed to improving access to Scouting throughout our council.
Why are we doing this?
There are many reasons, but the driving reason is to better allocate our Council staff and volunteer resources to improve the Scouting experience and offer Scouting to more youth.
We’re working to help our families better understand the true costs of Scouting – Our National organization has always done this through annual dues. Many units do this through unit dues. Now the Council is passing along a portion of the true costs of Scouting locally to those who participate and are able to afford it. This better focuses our lean staff’s attention on delivering a world class program.
What brought this about?
The world around us has evolved. Twenty years ago, we were primarily funded by United Way contributions and our staff focused on delivering a world class program. Over the last twenty years, our staff have spent more and more time raising funds to keep the lights on AND working with volunteers in support of our program. We need them to be able to focus on program, and this change enables them!
Who initiated this change?
A group of volunteers made up of unit, district and council leaders began studying this concept in 2018 as part of an initiative to re-think our operations for better scouting. After months of discussion, evaluation, feedback and consideration, the decision to change has been presented to the council’s board of directors for adoption.
How will the monthly subscription be determined?
Our committee of unit, district, and council volunteers has spent the last year building a funding model that will allow the Council to deploy the resources that we believe will support a much better Scouting program.
The cost for the Council to deliver the program (not including unit activity costs) is $320 per participant, plus National fees. However, we will be able to pass along a lower monthly cost due to the support of individual and corporate donors who give through Friends of Scouting. Without their support, the annual cost would be approximately $320 per scout.
When will the precise details of the new funding model be made public?
We have a series of Town Hall Meetings scheduled between now and October 1st. We will be taking all feedback and input provided in these meetings seriously, so it would be disingenuous to finalize anything before these are complete. We expect to have a finalized model available by mid-October.
When will it be implemented?
Originally, the program was scheduled for implementation in October of 2019. However, we’ve been actively listening to feedback from our entire Scouting family. In response to this feedback, the decision has been made to delay implementation until March of 2020 to better align with the needs of units and families.
In 2021, National recharter fees, magazine, and insurance will be covered as part of the monthly subscription.
What if I’m unable to pay? Aren’t you pricing some families out of Scouting?
Again, no youth will be denied Scouting due to an inability to pay. Unit leaders and Family Scouting Executives will have authority to confidentially grant scholarships on a case-by-case basis.
What value does the Council provide? Why should I have to pay the Council when volunteers are the ones running programs?
We understand that many have this question, especially those who aren’t intimately involved with the operations of Scouting. Simply put, if programs are functioning in excellent order, it means we are doing our job as a Council and families may not even be aware that we exist. We are, by design, volunteer led at the local level, and the Council provides the operational and programmatic leadership to allow this to happen in every region we serve.
BSA and Councils function together as the backbone of Scouting throughout the nation. Without these entities, Scouting at the unit and family level would not exist. From things as basic as running the Scout Shop, to as complex as safety, best practices, financial stewardship, legal oversight, insurance protection and much more, these entities provide a framework under which the system can function.
Will I be able to pay monthly? How often am I billed?
Yes. We will offer a monthly and annual billing option.
What if I don’t have a credit card?
Direct draft via credit/debit cards is the easiest and most efficient way to process payments for our program. That said, we are committed to working with families who do not use credit/debit cards.
How much of the subscription will go to national versus council?
The subscription will cover national dues in full beginning in 2021, as well as insurance and Boy’s Life costs. We expect that National will increase their annual dues in the near future. We plan to absorb those costs in the new subscription model.
Are adult fees increasing?
We will continue to charge adult fees that match the amount required by the national BSA organization. We expect national BSA to increase this fee for 2020.
Does this impact unit dues?
No – unit dues will continue to be set and collected by individual units and maintained by the chartered organization.
Is there a discount if you have multiple scouts in the program?
Not at this time. But again, any Scout of family that requires scholarship to participate will be eligible for support.
Will there still be unit FOS presentations?
Individual donors will continue to have the opportunity to show their support for Scouting but will not be engaged through a unit-based Friends of Scouting presentation.
Will this replace other Council fundraisers (i.e. popcorn & camp cards)?
We will continue to offer and promote these campaigns as a value to both the Council and the units. These campaigns offer viable ways for units to significantly decrease the activity costs they would otherwise pass along to participants.
Is Boys Life magazine covered in this new model?
All youth participants will receive a subscription to Boys Life. (2021)