Non-member Scout Financing

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
allenjpl
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Non-member Scout Financing

Postby allenjpl » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:09 pm

According to the 2011 Scouting Handbook,

Young men and boys of other faiths who agree to abide by Church standards should be welcomed and encouraged to participate in Scouting activities. Expenses for their participation are paid in the same manner as for other youth. Voluntary contributions from their families may be accepted and handled in accordance with Church policy.
http://lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/scouting-handbook-2011.pdf?lang=eng

Here's my question: I have a Scoutmaster who would like to begin recruiting new 11-year old scouts in order to grow the program. Where do any "voluntary contributions" go? My understanding is that contributions to Budget aren't appropriate, but Other:AMFA accounts called "Boy Scouts" or "New Scout Patrol" are going to draw raised eyebrows from auditors, even if the account is only used temporarily. Any suggestions?

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Postby jdlessley » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:38 pm

The wording of the new Scouting Handbook is such that it does not provide any instruction covered in Handbook 1. The key is in the quote of the Scouting Handbook.
Voluntary contributions from their families may be accepted and handled in accordance with Church policy.
So if a non-member family would like to contribute, they can contribute to the one annual camp if the budget is not sufficient to cover that expense. General contributions not specified for a specific purpose cannot be accepted. This requires an explanation of Church financing of Scout activities to the non-member family. Essentially the instructions for financing non-member participation in an LDS sponsored Scouting program is the same as financing member participation in the Scouting program.
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Postby aebrown » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:54 am

Similar wording is found in Handbook 2, in section 8.17.3.

Young men of other faiths who agree to abide by Church standards should be welcomed warmly and encouraged to participate in youth activities. Expenses for their participation should be handled the same as for young men who are members of the Church. When these young men participate in Scouting, their parents may give donations to help fund activities.


When the Scouting Handbook said to handle donations "in accordance with Church policy," I assume that means that you accept these donations made for a specific purpose through a subcategory of Other:AMFA. In this particular case, I think units have been given permission to do so, and if an auditor "raises an eyebrow," you can simply point them to the Scouting Handbook and that Handbook 2 section. Of course, these donations should be no larger than is reasonable to cover the young man's expenses -- it's not a loophole to fund member scouts' activities.
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Postby wrigjef » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:32 am

allenjpl wrote:but Other:AMFA accounts called "Boy Scouts" or "New Scout Patrol" are going to draw raised eyebrows from auditors, even if the account is only used temporarily. Any suggestions?


Is there an auditor instruction indicating that they have a role in validating AMFA categories? I have several units in my stake that have scouting related AMFA categories and our direction is that contributions to these should be within church policy for fundraising ("voluntary contributions" by non-members would fall into that) and dispursements should be for their defined purpose and "timely" (as stated in another thread, our stake has been instructed to not have AMFA/Other balance forwards so Bishops and even the Stake President will be making some decisions of what to do with some unused funds before the end of the year), in the case of unspent scouting AMFA funds, one option that will be presented is to make a donation to the BSA area council.

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Postby aebrown » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:51 am

wrigjef wrote:Is there an auditor instruction indicating that they have a role in validating AMFA categories?


Sure. For the Ward/Branch Audit, see:

  • #24: Do the funds in the “Other” category from MLS have subcategories?
    If any amounts in the MLS Income and Expense Summary by Subcategory report are not identified for a particular purpose, mark “No.”
  • #26: Are funds in the “Other” category spent for their intended purpose within a reasonable time period?
Those seem to indicate that the auditor not only needs to make sure that AMFA has categories, but step 26 speaks of an "intended purpose." If the intended purpose is not clear, then #26 can't be accomplished, so I think the auditor is within his area of responsibility to make judgments about the subcategories.

wrigjef wrote:I have several units in my stake that have scouting related AMFA categories and our direction is that contributions to these should be within church policy for fundraising ("voluntary contributions" by non-members would fall into that) and dispursements should be for their defined purpose and "timely" (as stated in another thread, our stake has been instructed to not have AMFA/Other balance forwards so Bishops and even the Stake President will be making some decisions of what to do with some unused funds before the end of the year), in the case of unspent scouting AMFA funds, one option that will be presented is to make a donation to the BSA area council.


This policy of having no balance forward is a local policy, and is not a Church-wide policy. The Church policy is simply as stated in the audit step above: funds are spent for their intended purpose within a reasonable time period. Of course, in your case, you do need to comply with the local directives.
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Postby jdlessley » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:57 am

wrigjef wrote:Is there an auditor instruction indicating that they have a role in validating AMFA categories?
General auditor instructions are those provided in completing the audit checklist. Audit questions 24, 25, and 26 address the Other category. Question 26 asks, " Are funds in the “Other” category spent for their intended purpose within a reasonable time period?" How the individual auditor checks those criteria varies from auditor to auditor.

Additional instruction may be given by the area auditor or the audit committee with regard to the "Other" account. Previous audit exception trends as well as issues raised since the last audit may prompt more detailed scrutiny of the "Other" category.

wrigjef wrote:I have several units in my stake that have scouting related AMFA categories and our direction is that contributions to these should be within church policy for fundraising ("voluntary contributions" by non-members would fall into that)...
I am a bit confused as to what direction is being provided here. I am getting that these scouting Other:AMFA categories are all funded by fund-raising. If there are only two Other:AMFA categories for scouting in which fund-raising funds have been deposited, one for camp and one for equipment, then all is well.

Handbook 2, 13.2.8, provides the guidance for funding activities. In the list of possible exceptions to funding all activities from the ward budget is one annual extended Scout camp or similar activity for young men. Handbook 2, 13.2.9, addresses equipment and supplies for annual youth camps. When ward budget and activity participant contributions are not sufficient then Handbook 2, 13.6.8, provides the guidance for the one annual fund-raising activity to help pay the cost of one annual camp and/or the equipment for annual camps.

The parenthetical statement, ""voluntary contributions" by non-members would fall into that" (fund-raising) is a bit misleading. All fund-raising contributions are voluntary. But voluntary contributions by non-members are not necessarily fund-raising funds unless those funds were contributed directly to the one annual fund-raising activity.

wrigjef wrote:(as stated in another thread, our stake has been instructed to not have AMFA/Other balance forwards so Bishops and even the Stake President will be making some decisions of what to do with some unused funds before the end of the year)
This is not Church policy. Nothing like this is stated in the Handbook or any other policy document by the Church. It is only a local policy.
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Postby wrigjef » Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:55 am

jdlessley wrote: It is only a local policy.

Yes this is a local policy as recommended by a regional audit trainer upon return from classroom instruction in Salt Lake and adopted by our Stake President. After seeing some of the issues with the other category in units, I wish this policy had been in place for the last audit period and am grateful that it is now.

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Postby jdlessley » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:11 pm

Just out of curiosity, wrigjef, what instruction is being provided to those who want to contribute for the next year summer camp (2012) this year (2011) if the local policy is to zero all AMFA sub-accounts at year-end?
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Postby wrigjef » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:40 pm

jdlessley wrote:Just out of curiosity, wrigjef, what instruction is being provided to those who want to contribute for the next year summer camp (2012) this year (2011) if the local policy is to zero all AMFA sub-accounts at year-end?
No Instruction has been given on donations for next year because such an instance has never happened and is not anticipated. If it were to happen, I suspect the stake would recommend that members hold on to their donations personally till it was closer to the event.

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Postby allenjpl » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:32 pm

wrigjef wrote:No Instruction has been given on donations for next year because such an instance has never happened and is not anticipated.


That's too bad. Scout Camps tend to provide discounts or other incentives to those who pre-register early in the fall. With some advance planning and preparation, the scouts can begin funding next year's camp immediately.


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