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Legality of Buy-Outs in BSA

by Ed Rogers for the Alamo Area BSA: 11-8-2015 

We've had recent inquiry from some units regarding legality of Buy-Outs in the BSA and other unit-money earning questions. Hope this news article helps clarify most questions on the topic.

All rulings, decisions, and interpretations relating to IRS guidelines should be directed to the IRS for guidance.  The money-earning policy decisions of a chartered unit of the Boy Scouts of America are outlined on the attached Unit Money-Earning Application, and Guide to Unit Money-Earning Projects.  You will note that such a Unit Money-Earning Application requires the approval of the unit leader, the committee chair and the chartered organization representative.

Such policy decisions/proposal do not lie at the discretion of any individual within the unit, but, at the discretion of the unit committee, chartered partner, and/or families involved. This policy direction would be consistent with the unit, committee, chartered partner, and member families determining what the annual unit dues are for participation. The issue at hand is one of individual accounts for each Scout or Venturer to help cover costs for his or her participation in activities of the unit. Regarding national regulations pertaining to “individual accounts”, please direct your attention to page four of the attached Fiscal Policies and Procedures for BSA Units.

Can my unit credit amounts from fundraising to an individual toward their expenses?

In accordance with these provisions, the national policy enables units to provide support for individual scouts based upon achievement levels or merit-based participation, as determined by the unit. In the absence of “achievement levels or merit-based participation” the policy noted above applies. 

Can Units Solicit Gifts and Money?

In accordance with National BSA Regulations and Guidelines, as noted on a Unit Money-Earning Application, guideline #7: 

7. Will the fund-raising project avoid soliciting money or gifts?

The BSA Rules and Regulations state, “Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for their chartered organizations, for the local council, or in support of other organizations. Adult and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money in support of personal or unit participation in local, national, or international events.” 

For example: Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts and leaders should not identify themselves as Boy Scouts/CubScouts or as a troop/pack participate in The Salvation Army’s Christmas Bell Ringing program. This would be raising money for another organization. At no time are units permitted to solicit contributions for unit programs. These provisions and publications have been distributed on a regular annual basis to unit committees of record following annual rechartering. Please pass along this information to your unit committee if they have not been a party to such distribution.

Thank you,

Edward L. Rogers, CFRE Director of Scouting Endowment

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