Total Financial Development

Financial Development
Plotting a course toward total financial development means not only securing donations but also making the most of existing assets and investing wisely for the future.

Planning for the financial future is not a choice; it is a priority for the Boy Scouts of America and its councils. Having the security of adequate financing and long-term investments allows councils to focus less on council operations and more on what matters most—their Scouts.

To achieve total financial development, councils must not only secure donations but also make the most of existing assets and invest wisely for the future. It is the National Council's role to ensure that local councils have the necessary resources, training, and support to achieve these goals.

Total financial development also means giving attention to all three of the funds a council must maintain: operating, capital, and endowment.

A well-financed operating fund means the council does not have to worry about finding day-to-day monies. A healthy capital fund gives the council security against unexpected leaks in a roof or damage to camp equipment. A large endowment fund means that the value of these gifts will continue to grow and provide Scouting to many more youth who could otherwise not afford to participate.

In Costa Mesa, California, the Orange County Council is addressing all three funds with a "major gifts initiative." After experiencing hardships following the bankruptcy of their county in 1994, the council began laying groundwork for a campaign that would allow donors to choose how their gifts were used.

Financial Development
A healthy endowment fund serves as a lifeline, providing the financial security councils need to focus less on money and more on Scouts.

"The donor in today's environment needs to be provided options," says Michael R. Harrison, council chairman. "Some donors want to give you dollars to operate day to day, and those tend to be smaller gifts. But a lot of people are in a position to take advantage of large endowment contributions that also satisfy their personal financial needs."

Donors to the Orange County Council's major gifts initiative choose if their gifts go to fund operating, capital, or endowment.

The gifts initiative has allowed the council to surpass its $21 million goal. Soon it will add 5,000 square feet to its service center, build two new camp dining halls, begin renovation of its sea base, and make plans for a new camp on 140 acres of land donated by a local business.

In Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, top level recruiting from community and corporate leaders has been largely responsible for the Gulf Stream Council's financial success.

The council cultivates relationships with influential members of the community and makes it easier for them to become involved with Scouting.

"These people are very, very busy," says Council President Charles W. Edgar, "so we make getting involved in Scouting so appealing to them personally and worthwhile to their business that it is really hard to say no."

The council offers honorary chairmanships of council events, such as the annual Scouting for Food drive. It is a simple way for busy, high-profile executives to give money and time to the local Scouts, and their sponsorship brings extra community attention to the event.

Financial Development
Every donation from a Scouting supporter, large or small, can mean one more community, one more family, and one more life served by Scouting's values.

Top-level recruiting receives much of the credit for the council's 55 percent increase in Friends of Scouting funds, 110 percent increase in special-event funds, and 59 percent increase in endowment funds since 1996.

The council has been able to hire three unit-serving executives, a program director, and a field director since 1997, resulting in an increase of close to 5,000 participating youth—and plans are underway for a 5,000-square-foot service center addition and a $10 million capital campaign.

In this council, as in many others, financial growth has led to an increase in participation. Financial security assures that councils have the freedom to focus less on money issues and more on providing these new members with the best Scouting program possible.

Plotting a course toward total financial development means not only securing donations but also making the most of existing assets and investing wisely for the future.