First, a couple of updates. I have provided below a link to our October 2015 month end financial operating statement and an Executive Summary below the link.
Executive Summary of the 10/31/2015 Statement of Budgeted Operations:
Total Direct Support (Friends of Scouting and other direct contributions) is above year to date budget and above year to date last year. It is important to point out that Friends of Scouting is below both year to date budget this year and year to date last year actual. Other Direct Contributions of $146,925 is significantly helping in 2015; zero budgeted and zero last year.
Total Indirect Support (United Way) is under year to date budget and under last year.
Total Revenue is above year to date budget, but below last year. Revenue is income other than contributions, primarily:
• Sales of Supplies (Scout Shop Sales) – above budget
• Product Sales (Camp Card and Popcorn Sales) – above budget
• Camping Revenue (Summer Resident Camp) – above budget
• Activity Revenue (all other District and Council Activities & Events) – below budget
Total Support and Revenue Year to Date Actual (at the bottom of page 1) at $1,274,123 is above Year to Date Budget ($1,109,508) and is below of Year to Date Last Year ($1,292,052).
Total Employee Compensation is below year to date budget and is below year to date last year.
Total Expenses Year to Date Actual (middle of page 2) at $1,025,371 is below Year to Date Budget ($1,180,951) and is also below Year to Date Last Year ($1,220,961).
The Year to Date bottom line is the council budget showing a $248,752 surplus, had budgeted at $71,443 deficit and last year had a $71,092 surplus.
* Footnotes at the bottom of page two refer to line items in the expense section of the budget directly above on page two to provide further explanation of what those expenses represent.
Wrapping up 2015
Since September, I have used this blog to provide weekly updates on the council, especially related to our conversation with Area and Regional leadership regarding our council's charter and updates related to our financial position. I have been giving weekly updates on our progress in covering a potential year end cash shorfall that began at $59,351. Week by week, the deficit was eliminated and we currently stand at the beginning of December with a little over $110,000 in the council's checking account. About $42,000 of the money in the checking account is popcorn money that has been received early and this will be used shortly to pay the product invoices totalling $129,764 in addition to prizes for Scouts that earned them in the sale. The shortfall was covered mostly by reducing expenses by $55,000 over the September - November period as well as increased projected revenues by $43,000 in the same period. I especially thank those that made and paid Friends of Scouting Campaign pledges and for those that shopped in our Scout Shop during this fall. You have made a tremendous difference. I believe that every unit that bought advancement items over the past few months have been able to get everything they needed short of maybe one or two items. That is in stark contrast to the past when units were unable to fill even the basic advancement purchases. Your continued support of the Scout Shop has and will continue to allow us to place larger orders to keep inventory on the shelves. Many units, especially Cub Scout packs have pre-ordered recognition items for the new Cub Scout program and have received everything needed well in advance of presenting to the Scouts. Other packs have come in the store to find the supply of recognition belt loops adequate to fill their needs.
In preparation of moving the office and Scout Shop, the council has secured a post office box and units should start sending mail to P. O. Box 12144 Newport News, VA 23612. We do not have a move out date yet and are still looking for a place that will properly house both the service center with fewer offices and storage and have adequate space for the retail shop with some storage. We will be MOVING, not GOING OUT OF BUSINESS as I have heard rumored. As soon as we get the address to our new location, we will get it to you.
Looking Ahead to 2016 and Beyond
As we prepare for new year, I am already looking to our financial future. Last week I sent a letter to each unit (Cubmasters, Scoutmasters, Advisors and Skippers) and you are welcome to share it with others in your unit as you wish. Please take time to read the entire letter. It lays out a short-term approach to funding our council in a sustainable fashion that create stability and will allow us to do many things we have not been able to do in the past. As I understand, the letter has created a variety of opinions, here are my additional thoughts.
One topic I have heard consistently over my short time in CVC, is that the District Executive staff is not seen enough and is not available to provide units with assistance and help. I have to agree that while they are spending all the time they can supporting units, that they are not available enough due to the other workload they are responsible for regarding fundraising. In many areas of our council, the professional has the entire responsibility of fundraising with some help from others. As I have said before, in council's that have very successful fundraising campaigns, the fundraising effort is driven by many volunteers and guided by the professional staff members. Our current structure has not been working properly and will not work in the future to adequately provide the necessary funds to operate our council. We have to change. The plan I have given in the letter, if successful, will provide adequate funding for the Scouting program and do it with guidance from the professional staff. Instead of fundraising all the time, our staff will be able to get back to what you have expressed concern with, they will be more available to help you and your unit with program, training, etc. I do not expect and have not asked unit leadership to solicit donations in our community FOS Campaign, but your help is essential with the Family Campaign. Your families know and trust you and if you believe in supporting Local Scouting, your families will be more likely to do the same. I ask you to please help. Every family can give something to the campaign and through a monthly gift, everything will add up to significant support of Scouting. Please help by making a presentation to your unit, a Campaign Pledge Card was included in with the letter.
Secondly, as stated in the letter, if the overhead of the council is self-funded internally, other dollars received in Community FOS, Popcorn, Scout Shop sales, United Way, etc. can be redirected to other areas not currently budgeted, IF we take care of the budget or at least the majority of it internally. It would be great to offer a STEM Program to our Scouts that was funded by the community. Program opportunities and fun activities now not offered could be with this new support. There are a number of additional new program opportunities that could be funded and provided to our Scouts if we are able to carry out the funding plan.
One of the qualities of a leader is to have vision, not of how things are now, but AS THEY CAN BE. I make my commitment for 2016 now - to cover the full $200 for my son in a Boy Scout troop and nine of this friends that may be from families that cannot afford to make such a commitment. I see what Scouting can become in Colonial Virginia Council and what programs we can offer with the short-term change of how the council is funded. Long-term, the community will provide more support as we solicit their help through volunteer fundraising teams; we have to get there first.