Friends of Scouting
Friends of Scouting (FOS) is a fundraising program of the Boy Scouts of America.
This program usually is run annually, coinciding with Scout Sunday in February. Note that usually scouts and volunteers see only 20 percent of what councils provide to members.
Most BSA councils typically rely on FOS to generate 25-50% of their annual budget. These funds are used for the following purposes:
- Development and operations of Scout Camps used for summer camp, cub camps, hi-adventure bases, etc - including nature center, aquatics center, shooting ranges, COPE Course, dining and campgrounds.
- Scouterships - cover costs of camping for scouts from low-income families or those with other other sspecial needs.
- Scout Fairs and Camporees
- Leadership Training courses for youth, adults and staff - including Wood Badge and NYLT
- Advancement awards and recognition
- Insurance coverage to protect volunteers, chartered organizations, staff members and properties
- Support staff for registration, publications and other program support
- Camp rangers to keep the council camps up-to-date and ready for Scouts and families
- Camp equipment, like tents, cooking equipment, camp vehicles, building repairs, canoes, equipment replacement and repair, and general upkeep of council camps
- Professional staff to work with volunteers to organize new units, manage fundraising programs, conduct training, assist membership recruitment, provide counsel and direct support for district, camps and programs
- Administrative needs, including postage, computers and links to the National BSA computer system, copy machines, folding machines and a printing shop
- Service centers to provide additional support to volunteers
- A council website to keep you informed
- Reference publications and resources, including program planning kits and to camping cookbooks
FOS Best Practices
Pre-printed pledge cards
For many years most BSA councils relied on pre-printed pledge cards, a problematic method noted for being time-consuming and draining on volunteers more interested in running their local programs. Additionally, the council incurred a significant direct expense for mailing and collecting on each pledge, many which were made for small amounts.
MobileCause: Digital pledge
In late 2016 a new charity donation program came out from the firm MobileCause, "online giving that accelerates social impact". Many BSA councils have dropped pledge cards to adopt this program with significantly improved results.
Volunteer coordinators immensely love this new program. Instead of spending a month or more chasing down individuals and their pledge cards, they can complete their whole quote in just five minutes with a simple presentation where all adults attendees at a scouting function or charter organization meeting can pull out their cell phones and instantaneously pledge and pay their support.
Live Program online working example. Complete this process for a minimum donation amount of $25. It begins with making a simple text message. Text "sdscout" to the number 41444. You will quickly get back a blue link to the FOS Webpage for my home council San Diego-Imperial Council. Click on the link. That page will ask for your name, and payment card info. Importantly it also asks which scout troop/pack that you want to give credit to (in this example, select my home troop - 726). Pressing the Big Blue button at the bottom of the page will submit your payment to council.
Another advantage of this program is that the FOS Coordinators can quickly get uptodate reporting on their progress and a listing of prior year donors that have still yet to make donations.
- Presentation to Families at Court of Honor
- Presentation to Families at Pack Meeting
- Presentation to Families at Sponsoring Charter Organization Meeting
- Social Media Promotion - Facebook Article on Council Page
- Custom District or Council Newsletter to the Community Sponsors
- Informal presentation to co-workers in the office
- Informal presentation to extended family members
Council FOS Brochure Examples
- Water and Woods 2018 FOS Brochure
- Blue Ridge Council 2018 FOS Brochure
- Western Massachusetts Council 2018 FOS Brochure
- Bryan on Scouting Oct 2015 - What is FOS