When it comes to organizing an Eagle Scout service project, it’s difficult to estimate how much it’ll cost. Whether you’re documenting the costs of food to feed your volunteers or the prices of the materials themselves, you’ll need to create a budget to fully prepare for the expenses of an Eagle project!
The cost of an Eagle Scout Project will vary significantly depending on the type of project being carried out. Construction-based Eagle projects often cost upwards of $1000, while restoration Eagle projects can cost less than $300. On average, most Eagle projects will fall around the $500-$800 range, once all expenses are taken into account.
PS. This article is based on the experiences and research of Eagle Scout, Kevin A and Cole 🙂
Personally, my Eagle project cost was $1263.25 and Kevin’s was $332.07. However, it’s practically impossible to estimate the total costs of an Eagle project before its completion. By creating a budget beforehand, you can arrive at a ballpark range, but your project could likely cost at least 15% more, based on personal experience.
If you’re interested in planning an Eagle project that’ll cost more money than you currently have access to, the article on Eagle Scout Project Fundraising: Tips, Methods, And Guidelines is a must-read! Cole and I take a deep dive into how you can fundraise for your Eagle Scout Project, and even provide you with some effective fundraising ideas!
Expected costs should not determine your choice of Eagle project. When planning your own project, remember that you should select an idea that you feel will benefit your community. Your project expenses will mainly depend on what this statement means to you!
If you want to know how to handle the finances for your Eagle project, keep reading. First, we’ll explore the BSA’s recommendation on project costs, then we’ll dive into the components of a good Eagle Scout Project budget. After that, I’ll be giving you some examples of what a little-to-no-cost, medium-cost, and high-cost Eagle Scout Service Project could look like. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
The BSA’s Recommendation on Eagle Project Costs
Scouts BSA has actually stated that they’d like up-and-coming Eagle Scouts to choose service projects that are not expensive. This is because fundraising and taxes/accounting are difficult concepts that are considered outside the normal scope of an Eagle project.
“The BSA prefers, in fact, that Scouts choose projects that can be done at little or no cost.”Scouting’s Guide to Advancement: Section 188.8.131.52 Fundraising Issues
This is just the BSA’s recommendation — not an official rule — so if you have your perfect project in mind, stick with it! Often, it’ll take some money to make an amazing idea a reality, and that’s ok. This is where effective budgeting for your Eagle project comes in… 🙂
In order to complete your Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, you’ll need to present a budget for your project expenses, even if your idea requires practically no money to be spent. Easier said than done. If you’ve never created a budget like this before, it may seem daunting to learn how to track the expenses for such a huge project!
How to Create an Eagle Scout Project Budget
If you’re worried about creating an organized Eagle project budget, this section is here to help! From personal experience, one of the best ways to create a budget for your Eagle Scout Project is to follow 3 easy steps:
- Break your budget up into sections based on expense type.
- List the costs of each item within their own section.
- Combine all the sections of your budget together to show the grand total of your project.
I’d recommend using Excel or Google Sheets to keep your budget organized. Personally, I used Sheets! The components of your Eagle Scout Project could vary based on your idea, but below is a great example of how you could split up your project into four categories:
|Materials||Resources you’ll be using to construct/execute your project.||Wood, screws, nails, paper, cardboard collection boxes, specialized materials (plastic boards, metal components).|
|Supplies||Resources you’ll be using to support the construction/execution of your project.||Paper for labels/ads, pens & pencils, brooms, trash bags, tables, paintbrushes, chairs, markers, storage containers|
|Tools||Resources you’ll be using to directly assist in the construction/execution of your project.||Drills, screws, hammers, measuring tape, printers/label makers, digital devices, digital tools (PowerPoint).|
|Miscellaneous||Anything that doesn’t fall into one of the three categories above.||Gas to travel/transport items, food for your helpers, fees for renting out a workspace, repair costs.|
If you’re following along in your Eagle Project Workbook, you’ll notice that it wants you to list the materials, supplies, and tools you’ll be needing to complete your project. I chose to add a fourth category, miscellaneous, as there were some costs that didn’t fall under any of the other three categories. Feel free to expand upon this list in your own project.
You might be wondering how you’ll get the projected costs to list in your preliminary budget. To do this, you’ll either need to get a direct quote from the supplier, go to a store and view listed prices, or see the costs of the materials needed, online. I’d recommend the third option.
An Eagle Scout’s Protip: Amazon is a great tool for getting all of your cost estimates quickly. Search for the materials you think you might need and just add them to your cart (This also saves them for later if you do get your materials this way). Then, delete things as needed so that it’ll fit your expected budget!
Here’s an example referral link of some Duct Tape from Amazon that you’ll most likely need. Just add all expected supplies to your cart, copy down the prices (all listed in a neat column), and use that for your preliminary budget!
It’s important to remember that you can and should make changes to your preliminary budget as your project plans develop. Your unit committee, project beneficiary, and Eagle Scout Project Coach all know that projects often exceed their original estimated budgets.
The main thing to keep in mind when organizing your Eagle project is to do it to the best of your abilities. Therefore, it’s completely fine to spend less or more money to fund your project provided that you:
- Originally predicted your budget to the best of your abilities.
- Didn’t go wildly off-budget.
- Have ways to fund any extra costs or know where to properly donate your unused funds (which must go to the project beneficiary).
With all of that covered, let’s get into some example budgets! In the following sections, I’ll be going over ways to plan for a low-cost, medium-cost, and high-cost Eagle Scout Service Project. This section is especially important if you have an upcoming project, so pay close attention!
Example 1: An Inexpensive Eagle Project Budget
An example of a low-cost Eagle project could be a local clothing drive. Community-scale donation drives are great project ideas for scouts who don’t have a huge budget to spend, as the “materials” for the project will consist of donated items!
Below is an example spreadsheet of the how a scout running a donation-drive might plan their budget:
Although this pricing may seem a little high at first, it doesn’t take into account supplies you might already own. Chances are you have some boxes, printer paper, tape, and pens at home that you could use for this project, which could lower your costs, significantly! 🙂
I also included providing lunch for those who help you with your project, but if you’re really tight on money you could forgo that as well. If possible though, I would highly recommend providing lunch for your workers as a thank you for all of the hard work they put in to make your project successful!
When holding my own Eagle Project, things like tables and chairs were already available at the worksite itself, so I didn’t need to buy these items on my own. This significantly lowered my project costs! I’d highly recommend working with your beneficiary beforehand to see what supplies they already have available.
Another individual who can help out a ton in reducing your project costs is your Eagle Scout Project Coach (if you don’t know what that is, check out What’s An Eagle Project Coach: Facts, Myths, And Official Info)! Personally, my coach provided me a workspace, tables, and chairs. Plus, he also owned many of the tools I needed to complete my project (he was incredibly helpful, and generous in so many ways!)
If you plan to reach out to your worksite contact to see if they have spare supplies available, make sure you ask them as early as possible! Also, remember to thank them for letting you use their supplies, as they aren’t obligated to lend you their equipment.
To recap: 1) Choosing an inexpensive project idea, 2) using supplies that you already have around the house, and 3) coordinating with your project beneficiary for their equipment are all great ways to lower the costs of your Eagle project!
Example 2: A Medium-Cost Eagle Project Budget
For this example, I’ll be showing you the exact budget I used when organizing my own Eagle Scout Project! While it wasn’t the most expensive project ever done by my Troop, but it did have higher costs than the budget we just covered.
You might be wondering what my project actually was. To reach Eagle, I led a team of helpers to build 10 PVC signs for my local senior citizen center. This helped the organization to reach seniors outside of our local community who might be in need of eldercare! Below is the original budget that I planned for my project:
While I only expected the project to cost around $350, the actual costs ended up exceeding $400! I didn’t orginally plan to provide a meal for my helpers on the day of the project. However, I did it to show them my thanks and even managed to cover those cost with the extra money I raised while Eagle Project Fundraising!
You might have noticed, in my above budget I actually included discounts that were given to me by department stores and local businesses! Although this wasn’t necessary, I felt like it was important to let my unit committee know that I was receiving donations in the form of discounts from stores. I’d encourage you to err on the side of providing too much information rather than not enough information!
Example 3: A High-Cost Eagle Project Budget
Hey reader, Cole here! 🙂 My budget actually fits the description of a pretty high-cost Eagle project, so I thought I’d share my numbers with you. What I did was build a shed, install a native garden, and set up worm composting bins for an elementary school.
I’d say that the shed cost around $800, I got the plants for the native garden donated, and the worm bins were a bit cheaper, at only around $250. I’d recommend planting native plants, as this was a high-impact, low-cost part of my project. Luckily, I could afford a larger project as my parents helped out a bit and I’d also been saving up a ton of money in my Scouting account from popcorn sales! You can check out my budget below:
Example 4: Another High-Cost Eagle Project Budget
Here’s another high-cost example: This budget was used to create care packages to donate to an undersupplied elementary school! Surprisingly, donating care packages can be extremely expensive. If you haven’t started fundraising months prior, I’d caution you from choosing to donate supplies, directly.
Donation-drive types of Eagle projects are common but can get a bit pricey due to the number of items one would be needing to purchase. However, there are a few ways you could lower these costs, which I’ll be getting into after you check out the following budget:
The idea behind this type of care package is the donated backpacks will hold all of the supplies you will be donating to the elementary school! Of course, you could always just put the school supplies into a plastic bag if that works out better for your project.
When doing such a project, one way to lower your overall budget is to buy in bulk. The prices I put in this budget are sourced from a website that sells wholesale school supplies!
Another way you could lower your overall budget is to gather donations from your community. You could even set up donation boxes at local community centers or schools, asking for donations of certain types of school supplies for your Eagle Scout Project!
Finally, my last tip for reducing costs is to consider splitting up packs of items, such as pencils and erasers. In a perfect world, you could give each student a pack of five pencils, but that may not work due to your budget limitations. Splitting up your items is a good option if you can’t afford to give more than two or three pencils per care package.
Whether you’re planning a low, medium, or high-cost Eagle Scout Project, a detailed, organized budget is an essential part of your planning process. You’ll be referring back to this budget throughout your entire Eagle Scout Project, so it’s important to have it be as complete as possible!
I hope this article has been of help to you! If you’re in need of some inspiration on what type of Eagle Project you want to do, be sure to check out my other list of 99 Amazing And Creative Eagle Scout Project Ideas! After considering some ideas, you can use this article as a guide to come up with a rough budget for the ideas that seem the most interesting to you!
Best of luck with your upcoming Eagle project! Thanks for reading ScoutSmarts and, until next time, be the best scout you can be. 🙂