By: Scott Robertson
Posted On: 2010-05-15
Does your unit collect dues? I have heard many many different theories when it comes to dues. The main concept of dues is its an easy way to charge the participants a recurring fee to help cover the costs of the program. I will admit there are differently benefits to the charging for dues if your members can afford it and you have someone to over see it.
Let me tell you two stories about the bad side of dues.
First when I was a Webelos Den Leader the pack I was with charged dues, and all the funds went into the general pack fund. As needed the Den Leaders would ask the pack to get needed funds. The idea was the Pack kept part of the dues to cover the cost of awards, etc. This worked for a while but all of a sudden I started having problems. I had not used my dues for months because I had not needed to and was storing up for a bigger plan. When it came time I found out the Bear Den Leader was using something like 75% of the pack funds and yet my Webelos Den made up almost half the pack membership. Needless to say I was not happy. When I confronted the pack about this I basically was told because my Scouts did not help with some fundraiser BS excuses. In the end what I ended up doing was collecting dues myself and only turning over to the pack there portion for the awards, etc. It became a big mess and about six months before the Scouts graduated to Boy Scouts (which out of like 20 all but 2 or 3 crossed up) I left the pack.
Later when I was working with a Boy Scout Troop we had some boys from low income families who could not pay dues. We kept letting them get away with it understanding the problem and finding ways to balance the budget. Then some of the parents started to complain about how they are paying all this money in dues and these few Scout are not. Well that battle went on for months. Finally we did away with dues and went to fund raising only, with a percentage of what the Scout earned being set aside on paper to help cover his Scouting expenses. (By the way these are know as Scout Accounts) We continued successfully for years to just do fundraiser and not charge dues.
As I said I know of many examples of Dues working wonderfully and other times when it doesn't. Be prepared to think out of the box and make things work. After all aren't the boys worth it?