Let’s face it: Scouting can be an expensive proposition. If you want to venture beyond your own neighborhood, participate in high-adventure trips, or purchase a big-ticket item like a trailer or bus, you’re going to need big bucks, especially if your troop families aren’t wealthy. And that means you need to think big—and think creatively. You also need to think about who has money and what they are willing to spend it on.
A great example is the elk-antler auction in Jackson Hole, Wyo., which was first held back in 1968. Each spring, hundreds of Scouts and Scouters comb Wyoming’s National Elk Refuge for antlers shed by bulls over the winter. These antlers—more than five tons of them—are auctioned off on the third Saturday in May at an average price of roughly $12 per pound.
This year’s auction raised $175,397. Three-fourths of that money will pay for habitat improvement projects at the National Elk Refuge, but the rest goes to support Scouting in the Jackson District. Scouters and Scouters spent about 2,000 hours on the project, which works out to nearly $22 per hour based on what the Jackson District earned.
My point is not that your troop should start an elk antler auction. Instead, I encourage you to think creatively about what products and services you could offer people in your area—and what those people are looking to buy. Although some salesmen can truly sell ice to Eskimos, the rest of us need to concentrate on what we have that people want to buy.
Do you have great fundraising ideas? Post them in the comment section below.