Unit Budget & Calendar Tools
No one gets into Scouting to do budgeting, plan how to fund a unit, or master the art of scheduling, but taking these steps are a key component to running a successful unit.
Creating a budget for your pack, troop, team, post, ship or crew is an essential part of every well-managed, well-financed unit.
Asking families for money every week is discouraged. You’re better off figuring out the total cost for the complete year up front. No surprises.
Create a budget in five steps
- Plan your unit’s complete annual program, so you’ll know where you’ll spend your money.
- Develop a budget that includes enough income to pay for your unit’s annual program.
- Identify all sources of income, including dues, and determine the amount of product (popcorn, for example) that will need to be sold per youth member to reach the income goal.
- Identify service projects the unit might complete to bring in income.
- Get commitments from parents and youth.
Expenses to include in your budget
This list includes almost everything that might cost your unit money over the course of a year.
- Registration fees. The national registration fee is $24 per member — adults and Scouts.
- Unit liability insurance fee. Units are required to pay an annual unit liability insurance fee of $40, submitted with the unit’s annual charter application.
- Boys’ Life magazine. The official publication of the Boy Scouts of America is available to all members at $12 — half the newsstand rate. Every Scout should subscribe to Boys’ Life because it’s fun, keeps him reading and enhances your unit’s monthly program.
- Unit accident and liability insurance. Protecting parents from the financial hardship of high medical bills from an unfortunate accident is a must for all involved in Scouting. Ask your local council for details.
- Awards, advancement and recognition. Costs for Cub Scout adventure loops, Boy Scout merit badges, Venturing awards and more should be built into your budget.
- Activities. Typically, activities like the Pinewood Derby, Cub Scout field trips, district or council events, high-adventure trips, and campouts aren’t included in the unit’s annual dues. They’re paid by families on a per-event basis. Consider including some or all of those costs in your unit’s annual budget.
- Camp. Cub Scout day camp, Cub Scout resident camp, family camping, Boy Scout summer camp, and a big Venturing or Sea Scouting trip. These special Scouting events — often the highlight of a young person’s year — should go in the budget.
- Program materials. Den meeting supplies, Den Meeting in a Box kits, craft tools and supplies, a U.S. flag, unit flags, camping equipment, videos and books, ceremonial props and more.
- Training. Adult and youth leader training should be considered an integral annual expense. For example, some units budget to send a certain number of adults to Wood Badge each year and ask Scouters to apply for these spots.
- Uniforms. In most units, the individual pays for the uniform. But you might consider whether uniform elements — or the full uniform itself — could be part of the unit budget.
- Reserve fund. The “rainy-day fund” might be established by a gift or loan from the chartered
organization, by members of the committee, or by a unit money-earning project.
- Other expenses. A gift to the World Friendship Fund, meeting refreshments and anything else on which your unit might spend money.
Sources of income
One well-planned fundraiser per year, such as selling popcorn, will prevent having to ask families for extra money every week. And it will keep your young people from getting worn out by too much fundraising.
In some units, an additional fundraiser in the spring adds needed income.
Notes to remember:
- Units are not allowed to solicit money by requesting contributions from individuals or the community.
- Except for council-sponsored fundraisers, all fundraising projects require the submission of the Unit Money-Earning Application, No. 34427, to the local council.
This page of BSA resources includes PowerPoint presentations, guides to creating a budget and even a fillable Excel spreadsheet.
For more insight, listen to ScoutCast
The April 2017 episode of ScoutCast — the monthly podcast for adult leaders — is all about planning a unit budget. Listen here or on your favorite podcast app.
The episode’s guest is Charlie Garwood, who has served as a Scoutmaster, Scouting coordinator, and district and council commissioner.
One of the key elements of all successful units is the annual program plan and planning conference.
Research has shown that a common element of a strong unit is a good annual program planned a year in advance that is then shared with all families in the form of a calendar. The important result of a shared annual program calendar is that a unit will attract more families and scouts will stay involved longer.
Use this document to accomplish an effective annual troop program planning conference.
The Troop Annual Program Planning Conference
Scouts like to have fun, do really cool, challenging stuff, go places, and learn things, even though they might not want to admit it. That is what we call program, and it doesn’t just happen by chance. It takes planning and preparations.
Your plan will be a living, breathing document. For it to have real value, you must follow it, share it with everyone, and review it regularly to see if modifications have to be made.
Don’t forget to share your plan and calendar with every Scout family!
Even More Resources
These tools will make it easier to create newsletters, revise calendars, keep youth members and families informed, and help youth members manage the troop more effectively and efficiently.
Boys’ Life Resources
Boys’ Life produces a number of useful resources such as a planning calendar, planning charts, and other program helps.
NEW! Troop Annual Program Planning Conference Guide
Use this PowerPoint presentation to help guide your troop through its annual program planning conference.
Troop Calendar Template
This template allows you to fill in dates and events important to your unit and the annual program plan. It can be saved, revised as needed, and printed or emailed, making it easy to update and share. When you first know about an addition or change to troop activities, add that to the calendar so it will always be up to date and ready to print or share.
This template provides the framework for conducting efficient, well-run troop meetings.
Troop Budget Planning
These fillable electronic forms help make troop budgeting straightforward.
Planning Your Troop’s Annual Program Budget
Troop Operating Budget Worksheet, available in PDF and Excel formats.
Guides to Unit Money-Earning Projects
The 48 program features allow units to plan meetings and events around activities that Scouts will find challenging and exciting.
Troop Program Resources
Troop leaders can use Troop Program Resources as a planning tool to make troop meetings more meaningful, engaging, and fun.
Troop Resource Survey
Use this survey to help get adults involved with your unit even more engaged.
The Boy Scouts of America provides a wide variety of training for volunteers and youth members. From Youth Protection training (required for every adult no matter what position is served) to courses offered at Philmont Training Center.