Our stake's policy to stay away from them was always a bit puzzling to me. I'd attend Roundtable and everybody there did fund raisers; the Scout leaders encouraged doing flags, or popcorn, or something else to raise money. I'd have to sit there and gloss over while they talked finances.
I finally had the opportunity to sit down with the stake president last week and discuss the policy. He first directed us (the bishopric) to these talks from the 1990 General Conference:
- Elder Packer: Teach Them Correct Principles
- President Monson: The Lord's Way
- President Hinckley: Rise to a Larger Vision of the Work
Then we talked about Victor Brown's 1975 talk about The Vision of the Aaronic Priesthood, which was a talk Dad incidentally gave to me as soon as I was called as YM president.
The point of these talks was to say that each ward has a budget assigned to them that should be sufficient for the activities and supplies. If not, we ought to simplify. However, even in these talks, they make exceptions for Scouting.
Then we went over the handbook instructions (Handbook 2, 13.6.8). It says we could possibly do a fund raiser to help pay for a week-long camp or supplies, but then severely limits what's allowed. Take a read:
After reading over this, the stake president basically threw his hands up in the air and said, "What can we do as fund raisers that fits within these parameters?"
One of the hardest things for me to reconcile was the very last paragraph of the handbook section referring to Friends of Scouting. Our (as a church and a ward) involvement basically goes against all instructions. I told the stake president I felt a bit like I was in the Garden of Eden: Fund raisers shouldn't go door-to-door, don't solicit funds from your members, don't make them feel obligated to contribute, it should provide a meaningful service, etc. Oh, but go ahead and do Friends of Scouting, which is a door-to-door solicitation of funds that provides absolutely no benefit to the actual wards. And we specifically ask those members who gave last year to give this year -- so we're breaking the "no obligation" rule. It doesn't make any sense.
Back to fund raising: I'm really curious what you guys do in your stakes (now and previously) and how they've justified doing fund raisers.