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A Boys’ Brigade Company – Value for money?

Tuesday 9th May 2017

Have you ever asked yourself whether the work of your BB Company provides value for money? You have perhaps never thought of it like this before. So what value for money does our work provide and how would you measure it?

These are the very questions the 53rd Manchester were asked to consider when they recently took part in a “value for money” assessment conducted by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, as part of a wider study commissioned by the City Council and Clinical Commissioning Group.

The study focussed on assessing the income generated by the Company, the number of young people impacted and how this was measured through the following key outcomes:

  • Broadening horizons
  • Increased Confidence
  • Developing Leadership Skills

The report concluded that improved confidence was an outcome common across all age groups.

The range of activities on offer provided opportunities for young people to develop and improve social skills. There was a consensus from the young people that had they not been at BB on a Monday evening, they would be bored at home, watching TV or playing on an Xbox/iPhone.

For many, the opportunity to do productive things, socialise and have fun with friends in a safe space was highly valued.

The young people agreed that they’d been kept fit and healthy and adopted a healthier lifestyle as a result of a strong focus on sports. They believed that volunteering in the wider community had helped them to understand some of the challenges faced by others living around them.

Parents and young people were involved in the consultation…

My daughter is far more confident now. She used to be really shy, so much so that her teachers had spoken to me about it. BB has really brought her out of her shell”

After gaining my Queen’s Badge, I went on to attend the KGVI Youth Leadership Training Course. As part of this I had to lead a worship session, I was really nervous, but got through it and made some good friends along the way”

Phil East (Company Captain) said “The leaders at 53rd Manchester found the exercise to be really useful and demonstrated that with limited financial resources a significant difference can be made to the lives of children & young people”

Fact: “We estimate that youth work in Scotland delivers at least £7 in value for every £1 it costs” – Youthlink Scotland, Jan 2016

Too often we can under sell the value of our work. When was the last time you reviewed the subscriptions you charge and considered them in relation to the value for money the programme delivers? The authors of the study undertaken at 53rd Manchester were astounded at the low level of subscriptions charged, particularly when comparing to other groups and activities young people pay to attend. Do you know what other activities children and young people in your Company do during the week and how they compare?

Successful BB Companies require sufficient funds, to run activities, purchase equipment, provide badges and so on. However, if we are not careful at times leaders can find themselves running a fundraising programme, rather than an activity led programme.

Did you know: Local football, karate and other sports clubs often charge £4+ for a weekly session.

Top Tips for providing value for money

Subscriptions – Don’t undersell what we offer!

Are you still charging the same weekly subscription that you were 5 or 10 years ago? Consider the following:

  • Review the subscriptions charged and increase by small amounts regularly.
  • Subscriptions should be set based on your planned expenditure, taking into consideration other income you may receive.
  • Encourage payment to be made termly or even annually.
  • Offer financial assistance to those that need it, whilst those that can afford it pay a more realistic subscription.
  • If the money is not going to come in from subscriptions where is it going to come from?

Top Tip: Consider using the online payment system provided through Online Brigade Manager to collect subscriptions and other payments in an efficient and manageable way.

Typical Income & Expenditure

Below is a list of typical areas of income and expenditure you may have in your Company.


  • Subscriptions
  • Fundraising
  • Grants
  • Donations
  • Sponsorship
  • Interest on Investments
  • Gift Aid (you could claim 25p in every £1 back)


  • Annual Capitation to The Boys’ Brigade
  • Annual Capitation to Battalion/District/Region
  • Programme/Activity Expenses for each section
  • Subsidies for Events/Activities
  • Purchasing Equipment
  • Rent for Hire of Premises
  • Training Fees
  • Leaders Expenses (travel, etc)

Planning Expenditure

When planning any activity it is important to think carefully about:

  • What you want to do?
  • Why you want to do it?
  • What you need money for?
  • What the benefits will be?

Consider how you could share resources across sections to reduce duplication of equipment. You could set a fundraising challenge for each section to fund a particular piece of equipment or to be able to run specific activities.

Top Tip: You can record Income and Expenditure on OBM using the ‘Invoicing’ functionality under ‘Section Admin’. This allows you to record money going in or out and export records to present to your Treasurer, and is ideal for using for Camps and other events.

Involve the children and young people in determining how money should be set, coming up with fundraising challenges and in deciding what funds should be raised for.

Managing the Finances in the Company

It’s important to keep a close eye on the finances of the Company and for most this will be the role of the Treasurer. Appoint someone with the necessary skills to be Treasurer, remembering they do not have to be registered leader so long as they are not working with children and young people.

Top Tip: Consider putting together a budget and allocating a budget to each section or for specific areas of expenditure.

Remember it isn’t the Treasurer’s remit to act as sole decision maker on how funds are spent. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the Captain to ensure funds are spent wisely, but it is hoped that all leaders would have some involvement in decision making when it comes to the finances of the Company.

Download our Fundraising Guide which contains advice and ideas for fundraising in the Company at leaders.boys-brigade.org.uk/fundraisingguide.pdf

If you have identified the need to do some fundraising, could you consider setting up a fundraising group or Parents/Friends group to assist with fundraising to not put all the pressure on Company Leaders.

Keeping thousands of pounds in the bank (for a rainy day) isn’t necessarily the best approach – it is ok (and will often be right) to spend money on enhancing and expanding the programme of activities you offer.

Good Financial Governance

It is important you have good financial governance in place, check through the good practice guidelines below:

  • Keep accurate records of all money coming in – you could use a weekly record sheet to do this, download a template at leaders.boys-brigade.org.uk/recordsheet.pdf.
  • Keep accurate records of expenditure including all receipts and claim expenses in a timely manner.
  • Ensure accounts are produced annually and monitored during the year.
  • Compare income & expenditure with previous years so you can make comparisons and to assist with future budgeting.
  • Make sure the Company has its own separate bank account, you should not be operating from a personal bank account.
  • It is always best practice to require two signatures on any cheques, and payments via internet banking should replicate this policy. Do not sign blank cheques.
  • Keep an inventory of all equipment and assets owned by the Company.
  • Ensure that the Company Accounts are independently reviewed each year (and filed with the church accounts if required).
  • Check if you are required to register independently as a charity with The Charity Commission (England & Wales), OSCR (Scotland) and The Charity Commission NI (Northern Ireland).

If you have any questions please contact BB Headquarters or your Regional Headquarters who will be able to offer additional support and advice.

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  1. Keith Alexander says:

    This link is not working

    Download our Fundraising Guide which contains advice and ideas for fundraising in the Company at leaders.boys-brigade.org.uk/fundraisingguide.pdf

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