A perhaps unprecedented decline in contributions to a Salt Lake-area Boy Scout council could result in jobs being lost next year.

The Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which covers Davis, Summit, Salt Lake and Tooele counties, may be short up to $700,000 by the end of this year due to fundraising efforts that haven't panned out.

"I've never seen a situation like this in 30 years of professional Scouting," says council spokesman Kay Godfrey.

And the local council is not alone.

All over the United States, Scout councils have taken a hit because corporate giving has declined and fundraising efforts have slowed, Godfrey

recently learned.

The stories are probably similar to the Great Salt Lake Council's.

Starting in the spring, the Great Salt Lake Council failed to receive some of the grants it normally receives and counts on. For some fundraisers, the council couldn't get the best keynote speakers to draw the biggest crowds and in some cases, couldn't get the necessary underwriters.

Godfrey said he's confident that the council can loan itself enough money to finish 2008 on budget.

"We're looking at some very innovative approaches," he said.

But all the innovation in the world isn't going to change the reality of fewer donations, he said.

And in 2009 the council is taking a conservative view of things, he said.

"We're going to have to really scale things back considerably," Godfrey said.

The council will likely trim staff positions from next year's budget, which is unfortunate, he said.

"The people are not only your biggest expense but also your greatest asset," he said. "We need to be careful that we're not going to affect the quality of program we provide the youth."

In the future, fundraising efforts will likely have to become more creative, but the support needs to come from the community for Scouting to thrive, he said.

The council still has one large fundraiser left in 2008, and if successful, it would ease the burden of this year's shortfall.

The annual holiday auction is scheduled for Nov. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Salt Palace Convention Center and registration is still available for corporate tables, as well as individual seats.

Corporations may sponsor a table for 10 for $1,500, or individuals may purchase tickets for $50.

The program will include live entertainment, live and silent auctions, a buffet dinner and critical support to the Scouts.

Various gift items, including toys, games, electronics, tools, accessories and housewares will be available.

More information is available at www.gslc-bsa.org.

E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com