Check out some of the best pack, troop and crew websites of 2019

4 things to keep in mind when building your unit website

  1. You don’t have to reinvent the website: Want an easy way to create a site that’s attractive, mobile-friendly and consistent with the current digital brand guidelines? The WordPress Theme for Councils, available in the Brand Center, can be used for units, too. To get a sense of how the site might look, check out a few councils that use the theme: Daniel Webster CouncilMoraine Trails Council and Circle Ten Council.
  2. Remember internet safety: Follow the BSA’s Cyber Safety guidelines and Social Media Guidelines to keep young people safe online.
  3. Stay on brand: Consult the BSA Brand Identity Guide to make sure that your site looks great and is seen as part of the BSA.
  4. Strive for “one source of truth”: Rather than copying and pasting BSA policies or what is on Scouting.org to your website, instead have links that point directly to that Scouting.org content. This way, you don’t have to worry about updating your site when things are updated on the BSA’s pages.

Selecting a Payment System for Your Unit

How do you collect unit dues? How do you stay on top of payments for field trips and camping?  How do you react when a parent says “do you take credit cards”? 

In today’s near cashless society many unit committees and treasurers may prefer not to deal with cash and checks. The good news is that there are payment solutions available that can be used by units to collect and manage payments for activities, unit merchandise, and unit dues.

First, a few considerations:

  1. All payment solutions charge some fees for using their services. These may include:
    1. Set up fees – there may be an initial setup fee to establish an account or acquire card readers
    2. Transaction fees – every solution will normally charge a transaction fee. This will normally be a percentage of the transaction value (typically 2-4%). Fees may vary based on the volume of money flowing through your account or the medium in which you are processing the payment. Some providers may charge a flat fee (eg 15 cents) plus a percentage.
    3. Ongoing subscription fees – monthly or annual fees to use the service
    4. Cancelation fees

2. You will need to decide how you handle these fees. For example, you could adjust your cost for an activity to cover the fees. 

3. You will need a unit bank account to set up a payment solution. This is normally an account that has been set up by your Chartered Organization for use by your pack, troop or crew. The payment provider will need the account to transfer funds received.

4. When you utilize a payment processor you may be required to provide personal information of an individual who will operate as the administrator. This is required under federal “know your customer” law. Be sure you change this contact when you change your treasurer, or committee chair. You could use a generic email (eg treasurer-packxxx@gmail.com) to help with transitioning administration when your treasurer changes.

5. Many payment solutions provide some basic reporting that will meet your unit’s needs. If you desire a more robust accounting system, consider one that is integrated with the payment processor so that payment data can automatically synchronize with your accounting software.

What solutions are available? Some of the more common solutions used by units are:

Paypal

www.paypal.com

Features:

  • No startup costs, no termination fee, no monthly fees
  • Accept PayPal payments, Venmo, PayPal Credit, and all major credit and debit cards with PayPal Checkout
  • Accept PayPal payments, PayPal Credit, and all major credit cards and debit cards with PayPal Payments Stand

Fees:

Mobile & in-store payments:  2.7% per US swipe (3.5% + $0.15 for keyed sales).

Online payments & invoicing: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction within the US.

Square

www.square.com

Features:

  • No long-term contracts or early termination fees
  • No setup or startup fees
  • No monthly payment processing fees
  • No statement or reporting fees
  • No additional fees for American Express, corporate, or international cards
  • No refund fees
  • No chargeback fees
  • All-in-one setup (no merchant account needed)
  • Next-day deposits
  • Integrated readers and POS software
  • Integrated online and offline payments
  • Free reader for magstripe cards
  • Real-time analytics built in

Fees:

In person: 2.75%  for every tapped (mobile payments), dipped (chip cards), and swiped (magstripe cards) payment.

Online: 2.9% + 30¢  for every payment you take online using Square Invoices.

Card-not-present transactions: 3.5% + 15¢ when you enter a credit card number manually in the Square Point of Sale app.

Cheddar Up

Features:

  • Branded collections with custom URLs
  • Share with a link or send an invite
  • Automatic reminders and follow-up
  • Online payments and forms
  • Automatic tracking and notifications
  • One-click spreadsheet export
  • Unlimited withdrawals to bank account
  • Easy handoff with online history
  • No fees for collector

Fees:

Collecting on Cheddar Up is always free (BASIC service). There are no setup or hidden fees.

There are monthly fees for PRO and TEAM service.

Payers pay a convenience fee of 3.5% plus $0.45. If your community needs more payment options, you can enable a second payment method – echeck (electronic bank transfer). This comes with a flat convenience fee of $0.45 per transaction.

Using a google calendar on your unit website.

Creating a google calendar for your unit has several benefits. Firstly, you can display it on your WordPress pack website easily utilizing free google tools.  Secondly, all your members cans subscribe and have it show up automatically on their calendars.  This works on google as well popular Microsoft tools etc.   This is an easy way for your parents to keep up with your unit calendar.

First step is to login to calendar.google.com utilizing your google account information for the unit Pack000atlanta@gmail.com.   Click on the setting gear icon in the upper right-hand corner.  Then select Settings.    Choose settings for my calendars -> Pack000atlanta@gmail.com on the left-hand side.  Once you have selected this you will see all the settings for this google calendar.

Scroll down to the Integrate Calendar section.  Under that area, there is a box labelled Embed Code.  Copy this code utilizing your computer’s copy function.  The code will start with an <iframe and end with a <\frame>. Make sure you copy it all.

After you are logged-in as administrator to your WordPress site, navigate to the calendar page.  Select edit page.  You will see two tabs on the right-hand side Visual and Text. Visual will show how the page will look.  Select Text – this allows you to type in code to display on your webpage.   In Text mode, move your cursor into the main window and paste the code copied from above.  Once you have done that, select Update on the right.  This will now publish this updated calendar on your website. On the google calendar displayed, there is a small icon to subscribe to this calendar to add to your personal calendar.

Once you have this setup, the keeper of the calendar only needs to update it once on the google calendar for Pack000atlanta@gmail.com and it will automatically be updated on the website and on any of your members calendar who have subscribed to it.

Next Steps in Building Your Site

Congratulations you now have a website!

The next step is personalizing it, configuring it and adding content.

Choosing a Theme:

There are a ton of both free and premium (paid) themes available for WordPress that allow you to choose a design that suits the look and functionality of your website.

While many of the free themes available offer you a degree of design and functionality the premium themes are often more professional looking and give you much more flexibility in customizing your website and can often be purchased for less than $100.

A few free themes that we like are:

But you can choose any theme that you like.

First Post

Configure your website

Now that your website is up and running and you’ve chosen your theme you’ll want to configure your website so that you provide the best experience for your visitors.

Set up your navigation and make it easy for your visitors to know what your website is about and give them easy access to the most important parts of your website.

Choose two or three primary colors to represent your site but don’t go overboard as too many colors can turn off your visitors or detract them from what is important. We recommend Red, White and Blue.

Organize, separate and highlight the important areas of your site to provide additional clarity. You can do this by adding menus at the top with links to your calendar, activities, training’s or photos you want to display.

Final Step! Add content

If you’ve made it to this part congratulations you’re all set.

Now you get to have fun and start adding content to your website!

Create a blog post and get too writing all about your Unit and the great activities you have planned. Remember you want your website to be useful so having the most important information at the top is key to having people read the content.

Spooky-Ree — September 28-30

Click here to register your family for Spooky-Ree.

Spooky-ree is a fall themed weekend filled with a fall festival, creepy-crawly nature show, pumpkin decorating, archery, BBs, s’mores, and a campfire. The highlight of the weekend is the Trick-or-Treating Trail for all Scouts and an extra spooky haunted trail for the older Scouts and adults.

Bring out the whole family: Cub Scouts, big brothers and sisters, little brothers and sisters, cousins, etc. Everyone is welcome to come out to camp and enjoy the beautiful fall weather at Bert Adams! Siblings of Cub Scouts can participate in almost all of the activities. Shooting Sports is only available for Cub Scouts and Cub Scout age siblings, First Grade and up.