For leading the Western Region in financial growth, the Aloha Council of Honolulu, Hawaii, was recognized with the 2004 Summit Award. Further, in 2004 more than $32 million was secured in endowment bequests, the operating budget has grown to expand direct program service, and extensive capital dollars have been raised for property development and improvement.
To counteract declining United Way support, the Pine Tree Council began mailing a postcard to community leaders with information on how to designate the council for United Way contributions. Further, President Bill Thornton explains, "We tell contributors in newsletters that they can write in the council as their designee. Also, we give them stickers with preprinted council information to affix to the contribution card."
The Law of the Land
What began with a "passion to own them outright," endowment adviser Perry Cochell explains, resulted in the Aloha Council acquiring three camp properties they had been leasing from the state. The council initiated a capital campaign to buy commercial property to exchange for the camp lands. But first, the council had to convince the state legislature and governor to pass a law to allow such an exchange. The transaction was successfully concluded this year.
Obviously, much of the council's success has been driven by cultivation of donor prospects, which "begins with the idea that Scouters will endow Scouting," reports Western Region Associate Regional Director Perry Cochell, who serves as endowment adviser. "Our focus is not to go out and ask for money, but to help foster memories and passions for the program with new insight." Endowment Chair Chuck Sted, a 46-year Scouting veteran, comments, "Our job is to help identify people with the inclination to give and make sure they're fully aware of council activities and goals on a frequent basis." As a result, "a lot of people have stepped up to the plate," reports Vice President of Finance Frank Tokioka. "We have a very good local following."
The council's financial development success is intricately linked with program success. "I credit the volunteers and professional staff who are delivering the program year in and year out to making this possible," Sted comments. "They have an unwavering commitment to Scouting values. People who put up the dollars do so because they like the program."
In addition to solid program and one-on-one prospect cultivation, the council conducts fireside chats or "lanais" in every district to increase awareness of endowment and campaign programs, as well as professional seminars for CPAs and attorneys. There is also active promotion of the endowment program from the executive board. Additionally, the council provides special recognition opportunities during executive board meetings and Heritage Society events. Cochell describes the council's key to success: "It's not the amount any one Scouter gives, but the idea that everybody participates."
The Pine Tree Council of Portland, Maine, has met with financial development success through encouraging councilwide participation in funding growth. By expanding family enrollment and community campaigns and developing a board/upper-level campaign effort, the council increased Friends of Scouting contributions from $290,000 to $400,000 over two years.
The Boy Scouts of America, from the Cub Scout to Venturing programs, places high value on preserving heritage--whether it be of family, nation, or nature.
The council also conducts frequent follow-up and rewards top fund-raisers with a local cruise. As President Bill Thornton remarks, "Any organization's success has to do with its people, and Scout Executive J. T. Dabbs is enthusiastic and contributes time and effort. Also, we have a great board that's 100 percent contributors. The board sets the tone and knows that if they're asking others to contribute, they should, too." Thornton adds that it's essential "to find as many different ways for people to contribute as possible. Adding new ways brings in new people."
Also, the council eliminated unproductive special events, focused on those that worked, and netted $180,000 in 2004 with its golf tournament and distinguished citizen dinner. The council kicked off a capital campaign in March 2004 to raise $4 million for its Cub World, new office, endowment, and camp improvements. To date, the council has raised over $2.4 million, the most in its capital effort history.
According to Capital Campaign Chair Bill Ryan, "The key for a successful capital campaign is to involve people with a missionary zeal for Scouting and let them loose on the community. Success stems from the networking that comes from relationships in the community." Senior Vice President of Finance Paul Spellman further emphasizes the importance of these relationships: "I serve on several boards, and the council board is superior by far to other nonprofits in its organization and heavy-hitter contacts in business and politics. I use the BSA as a measuring stick."
Financial development success involves getting out a "message that zeroes in on what Scouting does for youth," observes Ryan. "Today more than ever, children need to be put on the right path, knowing right from wrong. Scouting answers this need."