Member Service Fee
The adoption of a “MEMBER SERVICE FEE”
It is imperative for the Western Massachusetts Council to significantly increase both the level of units supporting the council annually in fundraising efforts and increase the number of Scouts participating in fundraising efforts in all units. Currently close to 45% of units do not participate in any council fundraising efforts.
Over the past 3 years we have attempted to increase participation through our incentive laden “All in for Scouting” program. This program has resulted in significant financial benefit for many units but far too many units choose to remain inactive members of the council.
In December, 2022 the Western Massachusetts Council Executive Board voted to adopt a “Member Service Fee” to help offset the lack of unit participation in council fundraising efforts. Unlike many other surrounding councils in Massachusetts and Connecticut that have adopted a mandatory service fee for all families, our “Member Service Fee” is different. Our Member Service Fee is different because it allows our units the ability to decide how best to support their council.
What does this mean for our unit?
We are allowing our units the choice of how they want to support the council. Each unit has the choice to support Option A: Participate in the “All in for Scouting” program at an acceptable level by supporting the council fundraising opportunities, which financially benefits a unit in significant ways, or to support Option B: Each unit can decide to either run their own fundraisers, support the council fundraisers as well as their own, or simply ask parents to write a check for a minimum of $63 per Scout in the unit, and $44 per adult (youth & adult #’s are based on your last unit recharter). With both options, nonpaid registrations (i.e., Merit Badge Counselors) will remain free. To see how your unit did in 2022, visit our website: www.wmascouting.org/AIFS
Why is the council having financial challenges now?
This is not a new challenge. Since our merger 15 years ago the level of unit support of council fundraising efforts has been low and has remained lower than surrounding councils in Massachusetts and Connecticut. To balance our budget in the past, we have had to cut staff, sell property, move additional money from our endowment or discontinue programs to reach a balanced budget. Our Executive Board strongly supported helping National BSA settle their lawsuit and provided a significant amount of our unrestricted endowment funds to do so. By doing that, we will not be in the position to make any yearly withdrawals from our endowment anytime soon. Over the past several years that amount has been approximately $60,000 per year. The Pandemic and high inflation have also added to the challenge. Annually we raise a significant amount of funds through special events, grants, and foundations (approximately twice the amount raised through member support) and will continue to do so. That amount equals approximately $700 per Scout. The Scouting family portion (Friends of Scouting and popcorn & pancake sales) of our annual budget is only about 20% of our budget, or about $100 per Scout.
How are our units doing, supporting the council?
Individual units can check their 2022 status on our website by visiting the “All in for Scouting” page. Our units fall into 3 categories:
- 34 of our Scouts BSA Troops, Cub Packs and Venture Crews support our fundraisers at an acceptable level. For these 34 units, NOTHING CHANGES, if you maintain your current support level!
- 30 units provide some support but at a lower level.
- 52 of our units provide no financial support to the council.
By March 31, 2023 all units decide on how to support the council.
OPTION A: Unit chooses to support “ALL IN FOR SCOUTING” program at a minimum of
$63 per Scout & $44 per adult. AIFS unit incentives begin at $100 per Scout level
OPTION B: Choose to write a unit check for $63 per Scout and $44 per adult.
You can run your own fundraisers, participate in council fundraisers, or ask parents to write a check.
Member Service Fee is to be paid by June 15, 2023
“Member Service Fee” - Timeline
- January 19, 2023 - Getting the word out: Communication sent to all past supporting units over $63 per Scout. Thank them, explain the new “Member Service Fee”. NOTHING CHANGES FOR THEM! (if they maintain current $ level of support).
- January 19, 2023 - Getting the word out: Communication sent to all other units explaining the “Member Service Fee”.
- January, 2023 – Council communicates unit financial support levels for 2022.
- January, February, March - Getting the word out: Monthly Compass Newsletter: Promotes new program to volunteers.
- February, 2023 - Getting the word out: Late January, early February hold minimum of 2 Fireside Chats, dates to be determined and communicated in the near future.
- March 31, 2023: Units to decide if they will support “All in for Scouting”, and support at least at $63 level or decide to pay “Member Service Fee”. If a unit decides to write a check, they can provide that check at any time of the year, but the check will be due by June 15, 2023.
- In early June 2023: - Council sends out a Mid-Year Unit Update for each unit letting them know where they stand with their Scout support level, and what they would “owe” to the council if no additional revenue was received. Encourage all units not at level to sell popcorn.
- June 15, 2023 Member Service Fee is due, if unit decides not to support AIFS.
- End of August 2023: Council sends letter again to units of where they stand, encourage to participate in popcorn sale.
- End of November 2023: When popcorn sale is complete, determine where each unit stands with financial support, send letters to units either congratulating them on achieving desired outcome or invoice of amount owed, to be paid by June 15, 2023. If a unit decides to “write a check” for $63 per Scout and $44 per adult, they can pay at any time of the year, but payment is due by June 15, 2023.