Finance Basics for Scout Units
Guidance for Troop/Pack/Crew/Ship Treasurers and their Assistants:
Your Scout Unit Budget must be ready for the start of the new fiscal year and approved by the Scout Unit Committee. The budget sets the guidelines for 1) funds needed to be raised and 2) cost parameters for all activities for the year.
- Budget Template for Scout Troops - Sample Annual Budget. (Packs, Crews and Ships can use a similar format.)
Prior to setting a budget, your troop committee needs to preset the major priorities of the unit for the year - Pinewood Derby, Summer Camp, Snow trip, major service project. Then determine the cost of each of those major events. Knowing the cost of your program you can start setting revenue targets.
One of the duties of the Treasurer and/or his/her Assistant is to identify "Friends of the Pack" (Troop, Crew, Ship, etc) who are willing to make donation to help the program. There are a number of civic groups in each community that have a stated purpose to help support youth programs. (Kiwanis, Moose Lodge, Elks Lodge, Veterans groups, Local city government, etc.)
- See Main Article Fundraisers for Scout Units
- Fundraising Rules Tips - Scouting Magazine 2014. Solicitation of "tips"/donations by youth is not allowed.
- JackLinks - Beef Jerky Scout Fundraising Kits
- 30 Fundraising Ideas for Scouts - SignUpGenius -
- blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/12/03/individual-scout-accounts/ - BSA Offers guidance on individual scout accounts. (2014- Bryan on Scouting.)
- blog.scoutingmagazine.org/forums/topic/individual-scout-accounts/ - Scouting Forum (2016) Questions on Scout Accounts.
Unit Membership Dues
Generally you would collect member dues in full at the beginning of the program year. This way all families stay committed to the program for the full year. NOTE: All unit fees and credits should be specifically approved by the Unit Committee at the start of each fiscal year. The treasurer should be ready to recommend the appropriate amounts.
It is best to keep the billing statement for all families as simple as possible. The following worksheets are recommended>
- 2020 Scout Unit Billing Worksheet - Download and Use this worksheet to track what each family in your unit owes, credits given and payment history. With grand totals. Please note the two major sections on this worksheet: 1) Total amount billed and 2) Total amount collected.
- 2020 Supplemental Billing Worksheet - Same Worksheet! But it can also substitute for when the scout unit decides to collect extra funds from participants to do an extra event.
Special billing considerations:
- Credits for to encourage adults to accept positions in the unit as a committee member, etc.
- Credits to offset the fiscal hardship on families with 2 or more youth participating in the unit ("Siblings discount"),
- Credits for families experiencing fiscal hardship.
- Installment payment plan for families experiencing fiscal hardship.
Fiscal Year Layout
There are several ways to set the fiscal year for your scout year.
- Calendar Year [Jan-Dec] - traditional format
- School Year (Troop) [Aug-Jul] - Preferred format for troops and crews with the following benefits:
- Membership dues and fundraisers are collected at the beginning of the year with eye towards preparing major events of the year
- Year ends with major expenditure event - (summer camp and/or hi-adventure or jamboree)
- School Year (Pack) [Jul-Jun] - Preferred format for packs - all the same reasons as above.
Partial year adjustment: You can declare an odd year - one with either fewer months or extra months for if you want to move your unit from a Calendar Year to a School year fiscal program (or vice-versa).
Each scout unit should have it's own bank/checking account. It will probably need to be registered under the name and Tax ID# of your charter organization. If your charter org is a business, they may want to organize a charitable foundation to oversee their investments in scout units and other philanthropy projects.
We strongly discourage all scout units from operating on a cash only basis.
- Scout Unit Monthly Cash Book Template - Primary cash tracking sheet for the scout unit. Update monthly and use the bank reconciliation template below to audit.
Some scout units give credit to extra funds raised or online scripte program or donated directly by a scout (or his family). These funds are held in reserve and are sometimes credited towards membership dues or special eagle service projects. Sometimes a ScoutPack may even forward scout account credits to a linked/unlinked scout troop. The actual policy is left to the individual scout unit.
- Scout Account SubLedger - Track accumulated credits for each scout.
Program Cash Subledgers
The totals on Each subledger should be able to match the master cash sheet. Add additional subledgers as needed.
Use this worksheet each month to proof the ("ending") bank balance to your cash book. Post first any bank entries such as bank fees or returned check fees onto your books.
- MonthEnd Bank Reconciliation for Scout Units - A copy of the completed bank rec, monthly cash sheet and bank statement should be sent to the Unit Vice chairman assigned to audit the treasurer!
- All unit expenses should be paid by check which creates a written record.
- Send a copy of the check log and bank reconciliation monthly to Unit Vice Chair that has audit oversight over the Treasurer. (See above)
- Unit checking account should require two signatures on all checks.
- Expense Voucher for Scout Units - Online Template
- Every expense should include an approved expense voucher. (Exception - Disbursements covered by a written contract such as monthly rental agreement.)
- All Vouchers must include original receipts.
- All Vouchers must be approved by any member of the unit Key 3 Leadership.
- No Leader can ever approve a voucher payable to himself. (One other member of the Key 3 should approve this voucher.)
- Current (2020) USA Mileage reimbursement is $0.575 per mile. This rate is what you can claim on your taxes. The actual reimbursement rate can be modified (up or down) by vote of unit committee depending circumstances.
- Mileage rates may vary by country and by currency and by metric system.
- Print a Google Map to show actual mileage for route taken. (This might be challenging for travel to remote campsites?)
- Individuals may opt to submit a gasoline receipt of the mileage reimbursement.
- Scout units may opt to allow a higher rate for large vehicles (passenger vans) that consumer a higher rate of gas.
- Guidelines applicable for your unit should be listed on the expense voucher form.
Download from GoogleDocs (Free) these Scout Finance Excel Worksheets that you can modify and use for scout unit - see sections above for more info:
- 2020 Scout Unit Billing Worksheet - Download and Use this worksheet to track what each family in your unit owes, credits given and payment history. With grand totals.
- Expense Voucher for Scout Units - Online Template
- MonthEnd Bank Reconciliation for Scout Units -
- Help the pack committee and Cubmaster establish a sound financial program for the pack with a pack budget plan.
- Open or maintain a bank account in the pack's name and arrange for all transactions to be signed by any two of the following: Cubmaster, pack committee chair, secretary, or treasurer.
- Approve all budget expenditures. Check all disbursements against budget allowances, and pay bills by check. The pack committee chair should approve bills before payment.
- Collect dues from den leaders at the pack leaders' meeting, preferably in sealed den dues envelopes. Open envelopes in the presence of den leaders. Give receipts for these funds, and deposit the money in the bank account.
- Keep up-to-date financial records. Enter all income and expenditures under the proper budget item in the finance section of the Pack Record Book. Credit each Cub Scout with payment of dues. From time to time, compare the records with those of the den leaders to make sure they agree. # Give leadership in developing a coordinated recordkeeping system in the pack.
- Be responsible for thrift training within the pack. Encourage each den leader to explain the pack financial plan to each youth and his or her family so that the youth will accept responsibility for paying dues and family members will be alert to opportunities for the youth to earn dues money and develop habits of thrift.
- On the request of den leaders, sympathetically counsel with a youth who does not pay dues, determine the reason, and encourage regular payment. If the youht is unable to pay, work out a plan with the Cubmaster and pack committee so that the youth can earn dues.
- Periodically report on the pack's financial condition at the monthly pack leaders' meeting. Make regular monthly reports to the pack committee at the pack leaders' meeting, and report to the chartered organization as often as desirable on the financial condition of the pack.
- Provide petty cash needed by leaders. Keep a record of expenditures.
- Guide the pack in conducting council-approved pack money-earning projects.
Providing a year-round, quality Scouting program should be the goal of every Scouting unit. The Ideal Year of Scouting helps you develop an annual program plan, a budget to go along with that plan, and a fundraising plan to reach your program goals. The result is a well-managed, well-financed Scouting unit.
- Scouting and Money - scouting CG
- Fiscal Policies and Procedures for BSA Units (PDF) -
- BSA Fiscal Policies -
- Ideal Year of Scouting - Scout Unit Annual Planning Tools -
- Troop Committee Guidebook - Downloadable PDF
- BSA Budget Planning Basics -
- BSA Unit Treasurer Guidelines -