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Fiscal Management

and Revenue Generation

“We need you to sign this note for $60,000…” I had never signed a council check before and here I was on my first day as a Scout Executive signing a loan for $60,000. To understand how bad the situation was, the council had signed another business loan for $150,000 three months prior, the $200,000 credit line was maxed out, and the council treasurer was loaning the council money to meet its payroll obligations. At that moment that I determined that the council would never be in this kind of cash-strapped position again. That was October 1st, 2015. As of December 31st, 2020, long-term debt has been retired and we had our fourth year of balanced budgets, with a $65,000 surplus. 

 

In retrospect it was my extensive background in fiscal management that provided me with the confidence to move forward. We renegotiated payment terms with vendors, increased FOS, and maximized Special Event fundraising. We realigned staff positions and moved camp payment deadlines to improve cash flow. The deficit was cut to $40,000 in 2016.

 

In late 2016 the council had a reduction in force. The registrar was replaced with a shared services agreement. One ranger was replaced with a caretaker. A Council Resource Fee of $36.00 was implemented on January 1 of 2017 (generating $175,000 with no reduction in FOS) and a Sporting Clays Tournament was initiated. The credit line was paid off and increased to $400,000. The council closed 2017 with a $41,000 surplus. 

 

In 2018 we reimagined the BOYPOWER Campaign, the oldest continuing special event of its type in the BSA. We saw the event grow by $150,000 to over $525,000. A budget surplus of $104,000 was achieved in 2018.

 

In 2019 the success of BOYPOWER continued growing to $750,000. This allowed the addition of new staff members. The budget surplus of 2019 was $60,000.

 

Facing the challenge of COVID-19, we were able to pivot the 52nd Annual BOYPOWER event from a live, in-person gala to a virtual high quality production which has exceeded the net goal for the event while at the same time becoming the largest virtual fundraiser in Upstate New York and the BSA. Grossing $500,000, the production exceeded everyone’s expectations, set a new standard for virtual fundraising, and gave us the opportunity to rebrand BOYPOWER to SCOUTPOWER. Our sporting clays tournament sold out, we were a leading council in Popcorn sales, and our Friends of Scouting campaign exceeded our expectations. To help weather the 2020 storm we took advantage of a PPP Loan and had it fully forgiven by November of 2020. We made a minor reduction in force, eliminating our in-house accountant and becoming a full-service Jitasa Council. This transition will save us more than $60,000 in 2021. We expanded our day camp operations (including our Scouts BSA Day Camp which is now in its 6th year) as overnight camps were not permitted during the summer of 2020. On the advice of one of our board members, I spoke to the CFO of one of our major sponsors. He alerted me to a little-known program that allowed us to reduce our payroll costs by a 20% while retaining our full staff.

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Additional Achievements

Since 2017, secured more than $1,500,000 in endowment commitments and increased Second Century Society donors from 1 to 33. Grew the Northern New Jersey Council Camping operation from $960,000 to $1,500,000 generating 40% of the council revenue. Developed the “Friday the 13th Tour” at Camp NoBeBoSco, which continues to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for Northern New Jersey Council.  

 

Cultivated Camp Alumni groups: The Floodwood Association, Sand Pond Society, Bayonne Scout Endowment, Yaw Paw Foundation, and the Friends of Camp Turrell are all alumni associations that work to support various camp operations. Between 2006 and 2015, working with these groups yielded close to $1,000,000.00 in capital donations for our camps and service center.

 

Developed and executed innovative special events including Distinguished Citizen Awards, Community Service Awards, Health Care Events, Campership Toasts, Eagle Alumni Gatherings, Golf Tournaments and Northern NJ Council’s first “Whitney M. Young” Service Award.

 

Other High Caliber events: the Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner which honored former U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg and raised more than $500.000.00, and the Yogi Berra Celebrity Golf Classic which for many years raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for our “at risk youth.” The 2015 Prepared for Life Dinner which was a new type of experience for the Northern New Jersey Council. Not a “pay to attend” but an “ask event”, the dinner generated more than $200.000.00 in new Community FOS dollars. The concept was simple, but the execution was far from easy: great venue, in this case the Lexus Club at Giants Stadium; great speaker for the draw, in this case Eli Manning; and great supportive volunteers to be table hosts.

 

I am experienced with the Benevon approach to fundraising. If properly implemented it can allow us to develop a multi-year giving strategy to current donors, as well as help us cultivate new supporters.

Through our leadership and networking, many corporations are now supporting Longhouse Council at the annual level of $10,000 or above, including Syracuse University, Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Radio, National Grid, C&S Companies, Pyramid Group, M&T Bank, Hueber Breuer, Gilbane Construction, Morse Manufacturing, Pinnacle, RBC, Dupli, Barclay Damon, Business Journal News Network, Kinney Drugs, Toshiba, Wolf Radio, Strategic Financial Services, Key Bank, Visual Technologies, Wells Fargo, LeChase, Thompson & Johnson, Patriot, Pinckney Hugo Group, UPS, Haun Welding, Murphy & Nolan, BHG, Brown & Brown Empire State, HF&C, Eastern Security Services, Spectrum, Servomation, Bond-Schoeneck & King, Stickley Audi & Co, HP-Mile, Utica First, Community Bank, Porter Nordby Howe and G&C Foods.

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