Cub Scout recruitment season is in full swing and one thing on everyone’s mind is how to approach the cost topic. Your District Executive wants you to do it his way, but the way you have been doing it for years has been working. Let’s take a look at the different ways to approach the money topic.
Remainder of this year and all of next method.
You are holding your recruitment event in September which means in just two short months Council is going to ask you to begin your re-chartering paperwork. After recruiting all those new boys into your Pack you are now going to have to send email reminders, make phone calls, and hound parents to give you the $24 for 2016.
But wait! The fee for the duration of 2015 is only $8, so you have found the perfect solution, bundle the $24 registration fee for 2016 into your recruitment signup fees. It all sounds good and depending on your community it just might be.
There are a few potential problems though. The annual registration fee might increase like it did in 2014 and you will be forced to collect additional money and explain the reasoning for this sudden monetary collection.
Another problem might be a family’s ability to afford the extra money. I know what you are thinking but it is only an extra $24, which is true. However, keep in mind they are going to buy a Scout shirt, handbook, patches, and any other “outfitting” they need in the next few weeks and it all adds up quick.
This method makes the Cubmaster’s life a little easier and allows you to not appear like you are double charging your new Scouts. However, if you live in a low-income location just keep in mind that not everyone can afford a large amount of money, even an extra $24.
Dues and Membership Fee: Collect Everything Up Front
You put on the most amazing Cub Scout program anyone has ever seen. You are doing Pack outings, a Pinewood Derby, Raingutter Regatta, serving snacks every week and all the other great items Scouting can offer. And to offer such an amazing program requires a lot of money. Your leaders have decided that this year you are going to collect an annual Pack dues.
You stand at your recruitment night and you discuss all the amazing program you offer and then dive into the cost details, $8 for the remainder of the year, $24 for next year and $85 for annual dues for a very reasonable fee of $117, or so you think. The next time you give this “sales pitch” look around the room at all the parents and see the impact you just had.
Think about the last time you spent over $100 without consulting your significant other. Most recruitment nights only have one parent present which means they are not able to discuss as a family if Scouting is “worth” that much money.
I know, I know, how can I ever think that Scouting isn’t worth that much, I don’t! However, those that haven’t experienced the Scouting movement do.
Another problem is access to funds, open your wallet and look at how much money you have, go ahead I’ll wait. My guess is about $20. Unless you are able to take credit cards most parents will not have enough money to pay that entire amount and won’t bother asking if they can pay later, they will just leave and possibly never come back.
A little now, a little later
This is the method that most Councils have switched to and is frequently called a bait and switch by leaders, however, I disagree. I call this providing the full experience first. This is what Spotfiy, HBO, and any other trial subscription does.
In this method, you collect only what is necessary for the remainder of the year at the recruitment night. Then at your first Pack meetings put on the best program you possibly can and prove to parents and the boys that Cub Scouting is fun, has value, and is most of all priceless.
Then as rechartering season comes around begin to discuss the full membership fee and any annual Pack dues. By this point they will be hooked on Scouting and want to continue the program and are more open to larger fees.
But you say the annual dues covers a t-shirt, a hat, and their first campout, I cannot wait to collect the money. If this is the case you are probably better off offering everything a la carte so that parents can spend the money as they wish when they have the funds available.