Thank you everyone, this has been VERY helpful!
So to sum up, a good DE is:
1. There to listen and help as he or she can without overpromising or underdelivering. He or she also knows what they can and cannot do and relays this to the volunteers.
2. Someone who will communicate with District level volunteers and unit volunteers about the status of relevant items (membership, FOS, charters).
3. Able to find balance between what is right at the district level and what is expected at the council level. This seems like a tough item.
4. Understanding that volunteers run the program and they are there to support them. Humble in their role yet honest enough to convey needs and expectations from council.
5. Committed and will do what they can to stay for at least 2 years to provide consistancy.
6. Often confused because the goals of the local units and the main goals of the council may not have the same sense of importance attached to them. One of these groups, the volunteers, influences how well the DE can do their job, and the other group, council, influences whether the DE has a job. This is another tough item to figure out as a DE if these two groups do not agree.
These posts are very enlightening, thank you all for posting and continuing to post.
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- Aug 2008
As a former DE, here's my $.02 worth.
1) Very organized and has great time management skills. This can be a challenge with a DE's schedule.
2) Has great communication skills. If you do not communicate with folks, you won't know what's up, and it will become VERY frustaring to all involved.
3) Has the ability to work with and motivate others. If you haven't been to PDL-1 yet, you will hear the term "Multiply yourself," then get use to the term. Even in a small district like the one I was in, a DE cannot do it all by themselves.
4) Works well in crisis mode. At least in my district with all the problems I faced. I was constantly reminded of the olf Pro saying, " Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, when volunteers can't, the professionals must."
Now to your questions.
1. Visiting unit meetings - some have said they like to see DEs there, others have said they show up invited and unwelcome...any thoughts?
OH HECK NO!!!!!!!!!! You are going to be running around with ya head chopped off adn will not have the time to visit unit meetings. Unless you are there for a purpose, i.e. picking up applications, dropping off advancement, invited to the BnG or COH, etc STAY AWAY FROM UNIT MEETINGS!!!!!!!!
If you want to get a pulse of the units besides what the commissioners say, visit the units at district/council activities, you'll be there anyway, and get active with the OA. True story, best "in" with volunteer leaders was when I went to an Ordeal, worked my butt off to the point that I was covered in mud, sweat, and rain with the chapter's ceremony team, and when the team got back with the rest of the chapter, havign the adviser state ' we got ourselves a real DE now!" and explain the work I was doign and the discussion I had with the ceremony team.
2. FOS - we all know it has to be done, what would a volunteer recommend to make it less stressful? Are there ways to make it better (easier for families?)
If you got leaders who are experienced and/or willing to help do the presentations, let them do it. Let them set it up and help you.
3. District officers - apaprently some interaction between the DE and district officers seems "stormy", how would a volunteer approach creating the "perfect" district committee? What about improving commissioners?
This is a challenging one. The situations that the volunteers have been in the past are the factors that have influenced their interactions. I came into a district with a lot of problems and a lot of troubled history. Some of that is STILL evident after 12 year since I first encountered it AND almost 30 in regards to some incidents (yes folks have long memories). Long story short, I built relationships with the folks. Heck one of the biggest "trouble makers" I was warned about and was advised to find a replacement for, turned into one of my biggest allies. Another leader with a VERY big anti council bias, and after doing some "investigating" with very good reason, turned into another ally, and again I was told to find a replacement for him.
As for commissioners, I'd find some of the folks who have "been there, done that, got the patch and t-shirt" who have the KSAs to help units succeed.
4. Fundraisers - without changing the products, like popcorn, how to get people excited and involved...what would you recommend?
Again every area is different. One problem is that it seem as if everyone is doing some type of door to door sales at the same time. So think outside the box on this one.
Thank you for the above reply and advice!I appreciate your taking time to write as much as you did.
- Mar 2009
FOS -- In our area, I've not understood why FOS is not done in direct appeal mailing to the database (perhaps there isn't one?) of scout families and alumnie at their homes? A mailout could not cost much.
Maybe not in DEs job -- but worth considering.
Return phone calls and emails of volunteers (really, have a system and method to take care of this), or they will not have time to help you in your goals in the future.
Remember, that brand new tiger cub leader might be involved in scouting as a volunteer for the next 12+ years.
Good luck in the new job -- AK
I've mailed out FOS solicitations to people who missed the pitch at pack meetings. I don't think I ever got one returned with a pledge.
The bottom line is that a good FOS solicitation by a leader you know and respect, done while you are digesting a nice Blue and Gold dinner, is a lot more likely to produce a donation than a solicitation received in the mail.
- Jul 2012
Not being a whiner about all the work and packs/troops you have to support -don't whine to volunteers with families, professions and large packs/troops about how busy you are and how you are overworked
Be professionally polite in communications, written and spoken
Be willing to listen to a volunteers question before biting their head off with the answer
When you show up at summer camp to visit try asking the scouts if they are having fun, rather than asking the adults if the kids are.
We have a DE that when invited to pack meetings wont come and when invited to the blue and gold, rather than saying 'no thank you or I have another commitment' said 'No I don't go to pot luck dinners'. Guess what, the district commissioner drove 30 minutes to attend.
- Mar 2008
Not defending the bad ones.....
It is a job, bottom line. they work long hours and are not compensated very well. He needs time off just like you and I.
First, I would not invite the DE to a Pack or Troop event. Why?
Second, I understand that he is stretched very thin and also needs time with his family. DE's either better be single or he will end up divorced.
Far as the snide comments about potlucks, could have been better stated. I won't eat them either got sick at one, along with a number of other folks... One at work.
My expectation....Is answer my question whether I call, email or txt. Don't pitch FOS every time I see you.....Look me in the eye when I shake your hand, Just makes me feel better.
- Jun 2002
- Apr 2008
"Quote' the professionals work FOR the Volunteers not the other way around'."
Not quite. Professionals do not work for the volunteers. Professionals work for the Scout Executive. A District Executive is the Executive Officer of the district and person who is responsible for its overall success. The District Executive works in support of, not for, his volunteers.
If you have either a group of district volunteers who think they manage the DE or a DE who thinks he is the boss of his district and his word is law, everyone involved needs to sit down and receive a wake-up call from a successful TEAM of district leaders.
Yes, I think aquaticeagle is right.
I know that as District Membership Chair I do not work for the DE. My preference is to work as a team with the DE, with each working on aspects of the membership issue as is mutually agreed upon.
That's the way I worked with the two previous DEs.
With the current DE not so much. He does what he wants and has little interest in planning activities together. So he does what he does and I do what I do.
That still works, although not as well.
- Oct 2009
If a DE is going to be considered "program" for tax purposes for this non-profit organization (where it is my understanding that there are supposed to be a limited number of people on the payroll to be considered non-profit), then for me I expect a good DE is one who fulfills his/her role in being "program". But unfortunately, program is what the DEs in my council do very little of if at all. In fact, we have an abundance of DEs and have been told that there will be even more.
Theoretically, my council should soon be booming with an abundance of outstanding program.
Cant wait for the service.