Total Financial Development

Total financial development focuses on three types of
funds—operating, capital, and endowment—to make
Scouting fun and affordable and to enable councils to
introduce more youth to Scouting's timeless values.

Scouts Eric Stoke, Woo Young Ko, and Harrison Hines, left to right, support Dr. Alfred Brothers, past president of the Anthony Wayne Area Council, in his efforts to help the council establish a strong financial foundation.

Updated Scout Camps. New service centers. Better and broader programs. Cost containment. These are just a few benefits of total financial development—benefits that make Scouting more fun and affordable while enabling councils to introduce more youth to the program's timeless values.

Through total financial development, councils simultaneously develop three vital financial support mechanisms: operating, capital, and endowment funds. The operating budget covers a council's daily costs and is primarily supported through the Friends of Scouting (FOS) campaign. The capital budget is used to plan and develop projects, buildings, and other facilities. And endowment serves the dual roles of maintaining facilities and serving as a buffer when financial support does not meet the council's expectations.

While total financial development focuses on three primary areas of financial support, its success depends on a council performing three key functions: strategic planning, effective communications, and developing trust.

Plan, Plan, Plan

"Strategic planning allows us to build upon our past successes, understand where we are now, and enables us to obtain a better vision of where we want to go in the future," explained Dr. Alfred Brothers, past president of the Anthony Wayne Area Council in northeast Indiana.

Allen Brown, investment committee chair for the Sam Houston Area Council, helped capture the imagination of community members and establish a solid financial foundation to ensure that Scouting can continue providing facilities and programs for the youth of today and tomorrow.

Through strategic planning, the council is better able to establish financial goals and focus on developing operating, capital, and endowment budgets, Brothers said. However, planning is also the greatest challenge. It is easy to overlook the strategic planning phase and jump into planning fund-raising methods without a clear idea of the fund-raising goal, he warned. Strategic planning played a prominent role in enabling the Anthony Wayne Area Council to grow its endowment program from just over $200,000 to more than $1.4 million in just four years.

"Total financial development starts with a very detailed plan," said Allen Brown, investment committee chair for the Sam Houston Area Council in Houston, Texas. "A plan that encompasses the growth of membership and services to be provided."

Brown explained that a financial plan is really the by-product of determining how to fund these two areas of growth—a by-product that resulted in the council raising $4.1 million in FOS contributions in 2001.

Get the Word Out

Effectively communicating with the members and businesses of the local community is vital to successful total financial development.

"People are willing to provide additional dollars once they understand the value that will be achieved by giving those dollars," said Brothers.

To help people understand the impact of their financial support, the Anthony Wayne Area Council partnered with an outside consulting firm to develop specific messages. The communications planning resulted in three simple talking points, one for each area of total financial development:

Total financial development relies on shared values and the strong relationships between a council and its volunteers. The Anthony Wayne Area Council benefited from the combined leadership of Dr. Alfred Brothers, left, past president, and Chris Mathes, Scout executive.

  1. Your financial support can help maintain current operations.
  2. You can help Scouting establish a long-term position in the community through new facilities and programs.
  3. Your financial support is needed to maintain these future facilities and programs once they are completed.

The Sam Houston Area Council found that effective communication could be achieved through a combination of both broad and specific concepts.

Following the strategic planning process, the council concluded that it needed a total of $45 million over the next decade. Despite the goal's size, the council quickly captured the imagination of community leaders through various communication methods and raised more than 70 percent of its financial goal within six years.

However, the council also communicated smaller goals, including the desire to double the program for kids with special needs. Today, the council's staff includes 25 paraprofessionals who service this program, which was made possible through an increase of $16 million in endowment funding.

Build Trust

Developing the community's trust by implementing your strategic plan and keeping your word plays a prominent role in total financial development.

Sam Houston Area Council Scout Executive William Lucas, right, maintains strong relationships with community leaders such as Jon L. Thompson, left, chairman of the board and president of ExxonMobil Exploration Corporation, and Allen Brown, president and CEO of MetroBank North America.

Brothers attributes much of the Anthony Wayne Area Council's capital campaign success to the fact that 100 percent of the council's board and district volunteers contributed to the campaign.

"When people outside your organization see this level of commitment, they believe that if your own volunteers are willing to commit such a great amount of time and money, then they can certainly feel confident about making a similar commitment," Brothers said.

Trust can also be built simply through the attention a council pays to its fiduciary duties. In the Sam Houston Area Council, the staff prepares very detailed operating, capital, and endowment reports that are reviewed by the board at every meeting.

"Taking such a comprehensive approach that focuses on ensuring that a high percentage of every dollar goes straight into program delivery reassures prospective donors that we are good stewards of their financial support," said Brown.

The Sam Houston Area Council relies on total financial development to enhance the Bovay Scout Ranch. The highlight of the council's newest camp is the Cub Adventure Camp and its 20 campsites, each of which holds approximately 70 people. Designed for Cub Scouts and their families, the facility includes hot showers, an air-conditioned dining hall with seating for 500 people, and an infrastructure that will accommodate future developments. The council exceeded its capital campaign goal by $3.2 million and is already planning additions to the camp, including a Boy Scout camp around a large new lake.