3 Considerations For Making Money

When it comes to what your troop can do, nothing is as empowering or limiting as the ability to raise funds. Money and finance and accounting are topics that our young men generally do not get trained on in school or at home, so Scouts is a great place. From my perspective there are three things to consider when evaluating a troop fundraising portfolio:

  1. Is it repeatable
  2. Does the payoff justify the effort
  3. Is it diversified
I'll take just a couple minutes to cover each.

Repeatable Fundraisers

The reason this makes the list is that Troops need ongoing funding, not just one-time shots in the arm. A one time gig here and there isn't so bad for specific fundraising (to support Philmont, Seabase, and treks) needs but this will not help the troop create an ongoing budget that is sustainable. I know a troop that runs three annual fundraisers that each bring in a couple thousand dollars and one quarterly fundraiser that brings in about $300 for the year. Now that latter one leads us to the next topic.


The ideal fundraiser takes a little effort and has a lot of profit when considering percentage of sales and the time required to execute the fundraiser. This is a page out of business 101 where as a business person you should focus on what makes the best money and drop the rest. I'll cover a good and bad example next.

First, a bad example: A troop runs a quarterly aluminum drive. The scrap price of aluminum is historically low and so a truck full of aluminum results in about $75. The effort required was not too bad but when considering time and cost to collect the aluminum, get to the recycling station, and get the bags ripped open and such, this really only results in about $10 per hour. THIS IS NOT WORTH IT!

Next, a good example: A troop executes a Mother's Day plant sale. The troop has a good relationship with a local grower who sells by the flat and gives a 45% to 50% commission depending on the item. Scouts canvas the community and the people they know to generate sales, by the flat (to get a higher purchase price). All orders are paid in advance. All customers pick up their order on a specific day and time. Now, this is a good fundraiser due to the item price, and return on time. Also, if the troop or individual scouts find new ways to get customers, the fundraiser can easily grow. 

Now these two lead us to the next topic which is diversification, which, as you will see, is important.


A troop that does a single fundraiser is in a precarious position. I know of a troop that executed one fundraiser each year, a coupon book sale, and one year the supplier decided to stop providing the books. This caused a decent amount of chaos for the adult leadership since they had to find another fundraising option in time to keep the troop operating. 

I strongly recommend that your troop operate at least two fundraising ventures. Even if you have worked the troop into a great position with a monthly fundraiser that generates all the funds you need. Diversification is food for:
  • Handling change
  • Teaching scouts multiple fundraising options
  • Giving scouts varied money experiences


So there you have it. Hopefully you have some things to consider when it comes to the fundraisers executed by your troop. Do not be afraid to start new fundraisers in search of better ones. Also, be brave enough to stop the fundraisers that are not worth the time. Feel free to add your comments on what works and what doesn't. I really enjoy hearing about your troops and situations and I am happy to provide ideas if you want them.

YIS, Jeff

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