Here is where we stand at the end of last week (October 19 - 25):
We have received $268,930 of the budgeted revenue of $322,930 (83% of goal reached)
Additionally, we have received an additional $76,982 to cover the $59,351 revenue shortfall (129% of goal reached)
Each week we exceed revenue projections or are below budget in expense projections, we as a council move closer to achieving the year end goal. While we have closed the end of the year gap in revenue, if the council falls short of revenue projections or exceeds expense projections, we could develop a year end shortfall once again. Your Friends of Scouting Campaign Pledge payments, sales in our Scout Shop and a strong popcorn sale will ensure we transition in a financially stable position into 2016. Thank you for your help and continued support of our local Scouts.
As you can see from above, we have had tremendous progress over the past couple months as we stabilize the financial picture of Colonial Virginia Council. While we have made significant moves forward, we still have a lot to accomplish through the remainder of 2015 and into and throughout all of 2016. Some of the priorities I have currently include:
These are long term objectives that must show some short term results. In many ways, building trust and changing the culture of Scouting in Colonial Virginia Council are the two pillars that must be addressed. In order to affect membership growth and secure a sustainable financial future for the council, I need the help of your Scout unit. In my conversations with other Scout councils around the country, one thing that is common with all successful councils is that they work in cooperation with their Scout units that allows them to enjoy the level of success they have.
I also fully understand the past and have grown to see the level of dissatisfaction and lack of trust held by some unit leadership of the council. As I have said in the past, I cannot change the past, only work for a better future. I hope that I have demonstrated over the past 21 months that I have a different strategy for council operations. I know that earning trust is not something that is quick to happen, but hope that my actions have not caused a lack of trust in me. I truly want to foster a "we" Scouting atmosphere and not an "us" / "them" environment.
So, How can Your Scout Unit Help with the Success of Scouting?
Two immediate ways. First, membership. I wrote in a couple of blog posts back (10/8 post) where we stood in membership as of the end of September compared to end of September 2014. My solution to reversing the downward trend in membership councilwide is to simply increase the number of units that have more youth members REGISTERED this year than last year. I have provided a link to the spreadsheet I use with our council staff as we track this progress. Please do everything you can do to extend an invitation to join Scouting to youth in your community. Encourage your Scouts to bring a friend to a meeting or even better, plan a special event or meeting where you ask your Scouts to bring a friend with them to have fun in Scouting. Most youth outside of Scouting do not know what Scouting is all about and the FUN that is waiting for them. All we need to do is show them what we do and most will want to join. In addition to recruitment, RETENTION is just as important. Most every Scout unit will have Scouts that are currently paid in membership from the last recharter time and were active in the unit last spring into the summer. But, they haven't returned to the unit this fall. They became inactive sometime during this past summer. Please be sure to reach out to every one of these Scouts and encourage them to come back to Scouting. If they need or want to find a different unit to join, let's help facilitate the transfer. Having less recharter losses this coming rechartering season will be helpful in next year's membership results.
Second, finances. Sorry, have to discuss this. Without critical funds, our council cannot operate. This is no different than in your Scout unit. If your unit didn't have money, how would it operate and what kind of program would be offered to attract and retain Scouts? How can you help? Please visit our Scout Shop when purchasing your Scouting merchandise. Or stock has been replentished and will continue to grow as our sales grow. Our order every week on Monday's has grown from $2,500 of merchandise to $4,500. We have been able to increase our order and will continue to grow the order because of increased customer purchases and we have dedicated more of the return on the sales to restock the shelves. Our stock of basic advancement and recognition items, handbooks and uniforms has greatly improved and remember that anything with the exception of Advancement Items can be pre-ordered and prepaid; it will be placed on our next order and should be in the Scout Shop in 7 - 10 days after the order is placed.
The other immediate impact your unit can have with finances is in our popcorn sale. As the sale nears its end we need a strong finish by units that have been seeling since mid-August. Be sure to encourage Scouts to reach the next level in the prize program to recieve a more valuable gift card. Please be sure that all Scouts in your unit are asked to sell a minimal amount of product thereby helping the unit earn much needed revenue for operations and programming. Finally, units that have not particiated, I would ask that you reconsider your involvement. I humbly ask that your unit place an order by the November 6th deadline and help. This final product order is done in container quantities so your unit can minimize any unneeded product, but please help in some way if at all possible.
Family Friends of Scouting in 2016 is a critical component of our strategy in reaching our financial objectives. We are finishing our plans for the 2016 Family Campaign, and I would suggest one significant change. As we finish the council's operating budget for next year, I calculate the annual cost per Scout. I do not have the final year end membership numbers, but believe that the cost per Scout in 2016 to cover the council's budget is going to be between $170 - $200 per Scout. Meaning that the council must generate in revenue and income in some way between $170 and $200 for every Scout registered in order to meet budgeted expense obligations. My vision for Family FOS is that we ask every Scout family in our council to do what they can to support the cost of Scouting at the council level with a tax deductable gift. $200 divided by 12 months is only $16.67 per month. How many of our families can give that amount? How many families can do a little more? How many families can give each month, but not $16.67, but can give $10 or $5. I envision our unit leaders soliciting the support of their families in this campaign instead of a strange district representative attending a meeting and giving a "pitch" for supporting Scouting. As a unit leader, you are the best person to ask your families to consider supporting Scouting. I would ask that families be asked to make a monthly committment and that the council will send a monthly statement. This gives families the ability to break down their contribution and provide funds to the council throughout the year. I have shared by "3 AM Dream" with some leaders already, now it is out to anyone reading this post. Impossible? I say that it is different and may be challenging, but it is possible. I need your help to make it a reality in your unit. I welcome your comments and thoughts and if you would like to let me know that your unit is ready to commit to this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org