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 Rainbow Council 

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& Scout Shop

(815) 942-4450


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Unit Fundraising Guidelines

The Rainbow Council sponsors two fundraisers each year that are pre-approved for all Scouting units (Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Venturing crews, Explorer posts).

  1. Popcorn Sale (Fall)
  2. Camp Cards Sale (Spring)

These are the ONLY two fundraisers that units may participate in that DO NOT require a Unit Money-Earning Application.  These are also the ONLY two unit fundraisers that Scouts may wear their uniforms at.  Scouts are NOT permitted to wear the Boy Scouts of America uniform even when other unit fundraisers are approved by the local council. 


ALL other unit fundraisers require two weeks advanced written approval.  Please note that all requests are NOT automatically approved.  Properly filled out Unit Money-Earning Applications are reviewed by the local council and then the appropriate leaders are notified with the decision.  Other unit fundraisers that do NOT receive approval are NOT covered by the Boy Scouts of America’s national liability insurance program.


Scouting units planning to hold additional fundraisers need to be aware of the following items:

  • All unit fundraisers outside of those sponsored by the local council must be approved in writing.  Please submit a completely filled out Unit Money-Earning Application to your district executive.  Leaders noted on the application will be notified of the decision after review.
  • If a unit’s fundraiser is NOT approved, all participants (Scouts, leaders, and parents) who continue to take part are NOT insured by the Boy Scouts of America’s national liability insurance program.  The unit fundraiser must also NOT be promoted as a “Boy Scouts of America” event / fundraiser on any materials.
  • There are multiple benefits in participating in the two council-sponsored fundraisers that the Rainbow Council offers for all of its Scouting units -  the annual Popcorn Sale and the annual Camp Cards Sale:
    • Units are automatically approved and insured under the national liability insurance program for these two fundraisers.
    • Scouts are permitted to wear their Boy Scouts of America uniforms, making them more recognizable to the general public, which in turn, will increase their sales potential.
    • The Rainbow Council supports these two unit fundraisers with manpower, materials, training, prizes, online ordering, web tools, etc.


Do's & Don'ts of Unit Fundraising

Unit money-earning projects play an important role in enabling the unit to obtain new equipment, go on camping trips, and participate in other activities and events. More important, the way a unit earns money is of great importance in the education of youth members. Usually, these projects fall into one of four groups:

  • Service projects - car washes; forestry projects; the collection of paper, aluminum, scrap iron, and plastic
  • Activities involving parents - bake sales, pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners
  • Sales of tickets for council shows or other events
  • Sale of commercial product - candy, Christmas trees, first-aid kits, popcorn, or light bulbs

Units are responsible for keeping policies concerning unit finance and for getting approval for the unit money-earning projects. The following BSA policies are designed to protect both the unit and the good reputation of Scouting:

  1. No direct solicitation for funds by units is permitted.
  2. The unit committee is the custodian of all funds.
  3. All units must submit the Unit Money-Earning Application, No. 34427 (DOWNLOAD HERE), to the council for approval. Such approval is contingent on prior approval of the unit committee and chartered organization.
  4. General guidelines for unit money-earning projects include


    • Do not gamble or conflict with local ordinances.
    • Ensure your project provides a value worthy of the money spent on the project.
    • Respect the territorial rights of other units.
    • Do not conflict with goods or services offered by established merchants or workmen. Do not schedule a project that conflicts with established dates of money-earning in the chartered organization, council, or community.
    • Protect the name and goodwill of the Boy Scouts of America.
    • Do not enter a contract that may bind the BSA, either locally or nationally.
    • Consider money-earning projects that serve a dual purpose of conservation and money earning. Collection of aluminum, glass, paper, and scrap metal can be profitable when conducted near a recycling facility. Units should be sure of a market before any collection. A collection must be well planned with adequate adult supervision and safety precautions


FAQ's - Individual Scout Accounts and Fundraising by BSA Units

Below are frequently asked questions provided by National BSA Legal Counsel regarding Individual Scout Accounts and the applicable IRS fundraising policies for non-profit organizations. The below information is not unique to Rainbow Council and is being clarified in all Councils. 



Are individual Scout accounts permitted?
Yes. These accounts are permitted when funded by the youth member through savings, a
portion of a weekly allowance, and chores around the home and neighborhood. The youth
member’s family may contribute, but no charitable deduction is allowed.

What is private benefit, and why is it not allowed?
Private benefit is when funds raised in the name of Scouting or another charity are directly
allocated to the youth member or family doing the fundraising. Funds raised in the name of
Scouting should benefit the entire unit. The tax laws do not permit private benefit, with the
exception of an “insubstantial” benefit.

How is an “insubstantial” benefit defined?
The IRS has classified 30 percent of the money raised as “substantial,” and less than 2 percent
as “insubstantial.” The burden of proof that the benefit is “insubstantial” is on the organization.

Are incentives allowed for participation in fundraising or sales?
The IRS has not ruled on this matter, but the “insubstantial” benefit restriction would apply.

Can Scouting units use funds to assist youth members who have a financial need?
The unit can allocate funds based on financial need, and may consider factors such as
participation in the unit, advancement, and Scout spirit.

Are there penalties for private benefit or other tax issues?
Private benefit may result in the loss of tax-exempt status for the chartering organization, or the
local council. Allocating funds raised in the name of Scouting directly to a youth member could
result in self-employment tax liability.


For questions regarding BSA fundraising rules, please contact Ted Karns This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.