Money

What’s In Your Budget?

Jessica sent in this question:

I am new to all this and our place hasn’t had cubs in a very long time, we were very small but this year after round ups we got a pretty good turn out and would like to keep them all, last year we had lots and everyone but the 7 of us who are left now left us because things were very unorganized, me and other moms got thrown into leading not having a clue what to do…I wish I would have found this site sooner, but glad I found you now. Now I am taking over as the CC and we are also getting an all new pack committee and cub master, treasurer, secretary…you name it we are probably replacing it! anyway…my questions are What should we include in our budget and how do we adjust our due s to reflect our budget?

Thanks for the question Jessica.  First of all, I recommend you visit the BSA Unit Program Planning Tools page.  There are some resources there I think you will find helpful. Planning Your Pack’s Annual Program Budget and the Pack Operating Budget Worksheet are probably the first things you should check out.  These will both show you what packs normally include when they consider their income and expenses.

The basic idea is to calculate your projected expenses for the year. Then look at how much you expect to bring in from fundraising. Any difference is normally covered by dues. It is wise to include a little extra as a cushion in case your fundraising doesn’t bring in as much as you expected. A small amount of extra income will also cover any unexpected expenses. If you don’t use it, you can just carry it over to next year.

So if you have good numbers from last year, you should be able to determine your projected expenses (adjusting for the increase in scouts) and fundraising income for the coming year and set your dues at the appropriate level. If you don’t have accurate records, then it is more difficult. You might have to make your best guess. If you run short in the spring, you could leave open the possibility of “spring dues” to cover any deficit. Be up front with the parents about this though. Tell them you are making your best estimate, but let them know you might ask everyone to pitch in another $20 in March if necessary. Or do an extra fundraiser.

The most common items to include in a budget are

  • Expenses: BSA registration fees, awards and recognitions, supplies for meetings, refreshments, costs of special events, leader expenses and thank yous
  • Income: dues, fundraisers, donations

Readers, what advice about budgets can you offer? Add your ideas to the comments below.

One Response to What’s In Your Budget?

  1. Brian September 28, 2015 at 5:40 PM #

    All Packs are different. Our dues are a bit high, but that is because we didn’t want to nickle & dime the parents to death. We include the traditional things like registration fees, Pinewood Derby Car, Raingutter Regatta Boat, recognition and awards. But we also like to make sure each scout has a handbook, neckerchief and slide, so we include that in our dues as well – which we give them at the crossover ceremony.

    We also keep track of our expenses in Quicken, which allows us to categorize income and expenses and helps too see where our money went.

    Because our dues are a little higher than other Packs, we encourage scouts to sell as much popcorn as they can. Part of their commission will go into their scout accounts to help offset the dues and help pay for camping, etc. I always tell the new parents that, other than the first year, we haven’t had to pay any dues for our scout because it all came from his scout account.

    Your District Commissioner and District Executive are also great resources. Attending your District Roundtable is also a great way to see what other Packs are doing in your area.

    Best of luck!

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