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bearshark

Ethics and FOS

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As a former pro, I can tell you that some FiDs, DFSs and SEs want you to use the hardnose approach. They want the money and don't care how you get it.

 

That said, I concur that the best approach is to be honest, humble, and informative. Tell the folks WHY it is important. Tell them where the money is going, giving specifics if known, i.e. it costs XYZ amount for a scout to go to camp, yet we charge ABC amount, etc. The DE, or presenter, should be prepared to answer any questions that come up. And if an answer is not known, say so and get back to them with the info.

 

In my experience Scouting sells itself, you don't need to pressure folks to give. One saying I picked from a very experienced fundraiser I use tio end every FOS presentation: "Don't give until it hurts, give until it feels good!"

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As a former DE and now a long time scouter FOS has always been a real bugaboo to me. At National during training DE's were instructed to join Rotary or Kiwannas in order to identify the big money people in your district and concentrate 95% of your FOS time going after them. The unit FOS we were instructed to find a well known scouter in your district and let him or her do the unit presentations, that way it supposedly didn't look like the DE was asking for money to save his job. The training the DE received consisted of very little other than to find out the main interests of your target and arrange for him to join you, for example on the golf course, a football game, etc., and in the middle of that activity pitch him the BSA needs your financial support and solicit his contribution. While this methodology is a common business practice it always made me feel a little sleazy. Still, in professional scouting circles the ends always justified the means.(This message has been edited by BadenP)

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To me it would be better (and more honest) to charge everyone the actual costs of going to summer camp. Let the market do its magic rather than practicing that communist approach of taking according to what they can give and giving it to the masses as a subsidy. It is better for the families to know the real costs and to pay for them. That will make them appreciate what they get even more.

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Perhaps I shouldn't admit it, but I don't give to FOS. In addition to being an ASM in a unit, I give an abundance of my personal time to scouting. I serve as a CampMaster and have been asked to chair a particular camp's maintenance committee. I work with our OA chapter. I've served on two WB staffs and will be serving again next year. I served as an ASM for the 2005 Jamboree ($1900 plus 3 full uniforms and spending cash) and will again in 2010 ($3000 plus 3 uniforms and spending cash). My son attended Jambo in 2005 and will again in 2010, so multiply that cost by a factor of 2. Then there is his 2 trips to Philmont, 1 trip to Northern Tier and 1 trip to Pecos Wilderness that were $1000 per pop. Add to that summer camp. By the time my son ages out on just under 2 years, I'll have probably spent about $20,000 on scouting. We got a lot out of it and have given back a lot in service. I didn't say all I did to toot my own horn. I made a personal decision that with all the dollars that scouting has cost me, my donation will have to be my time and service.....and I sleep just fine the night of the FOS presentation where I don't make a donation.(This message has been edited by sr540beaver)

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I missed the part in Bearshark's original post that the contribution list was out there "for anyone to see." Clearly, that's wrong.

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I don't know if anyone else has run into this but I am really getting upset with FOS because of it. Every time I talk to a paid pro (with maybe one or 2 exception) about a problem I need fixed for a boy they just change the discussion to FOS. I do not get the help I need for the boy because of this so I try another PP and the same happens.

I do not want to discuss FOS when I have a big problem that needs solving.

What happened to being for the kids?  Professionals reading this: DON'T turn every discussion to FOS! Help us solve the troubles and you will get hasppy scouters who will tell their friends and encourage them to support scouting. Much better than disgruntaled scouters who end up badmouthing pros as money hungery.

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Beg pardon, ev, Ecclesiastes 10:NINETEEN.

 

Need less awake time...

 

I view FoS as a necessary evil, to help buy & maintain property, etc. hope it doesn't really pay salaries., but, as has been stated here abouts, oft times the DEs mention it wrongly and without aforethought.

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I believe it is standard in our area for FOS reports to be generated and returned to each unit. Last one I saw listed the names of previous unit donors as well as amounts donated. What units do with it is unclear to me and could vary from unit to unit too. Not sure whether this is a recent invention or a long-standing habit, but I do agree it leaves a bad taste.

 

 

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While I know FOS is a necessary evil in scouting, and I do my part every year, I thank god I am not allowed to have anything to do with it other than donate.

 

 

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I am only sorry that due to the economy, I can not give more to FOS. Next to my Faith in God, Scouting has been the most important influence in my life. And I believe that as volunteers, what we do for the boys is truly Gods work. As I give both my talents and my gifts to my church, I feel it is right to do the same for Scouts.

 

Each year I do a few FOS presentations for my District. Every time I stand in front of those parents I speak only from my heart. I don't need any notes. Every word is honest and personal. I tell about the sense of accomplishment I had in earning my Eagle in 1976. I tell in gratitude how my first aid skills enabled me to save my choking toddler son- who is now a fine First Class Scout. I tell in thankfulness about the influence my Scoutmaster had in my development as a man. I tell how it is a pleasure to be able to give some of that back to the Scouts of today. I am glad to remember my Eagle Charge in which I was told that from those who had been given much, much would be expected.

 

Like others, Scouting costs me a lot of money. I've personally purchased most of the tents for our new troop. Many trips to the Scout shop are on my dime. Yes, I've been to Philmont Training Center and my son is going to Jamboree 2010. Lots of money. Lots of time. But every time i have given time or money, God has blessed me in return. My wife shakes her head, but she understands that I am never happier than when I am doing something with, or for, Scouts.

 

I'll dig a little deeper this year. And if you're in my District, I will encourage you to dig a little deeper. It is that important.

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As CM for a large pack, I receive an FOS giving report every Monday morning via email. It lists the names of people who have responded to the campaign. It does not list how much they gave (or if they gave at all, for that matter).

 

There are families listed in higher giving categories, so I know if someone gave more than $250, $500 or $1000 because they are listed in those categories, but I don't know what they gave exactly.

 

For everyone lower than the first "honor" category, they are listed in a single bucket.

 

Our Council gives benefits to units which meet certain goals. My pack met our highest "platinum" level this year, which means we had 100% of families respond to the campaign (not give), and more than $40 per family on average. I know for a fact that a few families returned cards that said $0 on that, and I told families this was ok. I had the $40 per family covered through 3 or 4 families which gave a lot, so I was looking for small gifts that people could afford from the rest.

 

But, I don't know what anyone's exact donation was.

 

=Melgamatic

 

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Glad I don't get a Monday e-mail FOS update as a CM for a rather "large" pack... I'd quit on Tuesday and make sure national knew why!

 

I agree with FireKat-

 

Yes, its a nessisary evil, but DE's need to learn there is a place and time and that the VOLUNTEERS do scouting because they care and want to help, not so we can pay the DE's salary.

 

Case in point - we had our annual FOS presentation at the B&G in March. Fine alls well, right? Nope.

 

I went to roundtable last Tuesday. I spoke to my DE before the meeting to ask about a point of contact for booth assignments at the council scout fair coming up on Saturday and to find out if our pack's request for promo fliers for Mays roundup had been processed (our CC asked for them 3 weeks ago).

 

DE's reply...., "I'll have to get you the name of the contact for the scout fair.... and you'll have to check w/ council office about the fliers, they should be done soon.... BTW you did such a good job with FOS last year, I was wondering when the next pack meeting is so we can do a follow-up FOS presentation, because its been a tough year in FOS giving and not everyone in your pack responded to the FOS at B&G...."

 

WHAT ?!?!? - I ask for two simple things 1) a point-of-contact for a council event that is happening in 4 days (b/c no one in our pack had been contacted yet, but we were signed up to do a booth) and 2) a response to our 3-week old request for flyers to RECRUIT new cubs at our round-up.

 

This was met with 1) I don't know the person off the top of my head, but I can find out (what? you're at council, the POC is at council, its a MAJOR council event and you don't know WHO's in charge of it?) and 2) You'll have to chase down the flyers yourself, b/c I can't follow up on it for you.... But.... can I come by your next pack meeting and hit your parents up for more money because I didn't get enough the 1st time around.....

 

I hate to say it - but most of the pros I've interacted with act like the units exist for them, instead of them existing to serve the units.

 

I gave this year, but am seriously reconsidering for next year (regardless of the economy). Especially if the strong arm tactics and lack of leadership follow through continues at this level. It makes me sad and pisses me off at the same time. If the majority of parents in my unit would have heard the conversation b/t myself and the DE at roundtable, I suspect I'd have far fewer scouts in our pack.

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I'm torn on the FOS issue. We have a couple of Scouts in the Troop that benefit from it every year. I have given for years. There is a Pack in our District that is an FOS pack - all the boys receive uniforms, handbooks, registrations through FOS.

 

In our Troop, we have a few generous parents that pay for other boys to go on outings and such. Husband and I pay out of our own pockets in an amount I'm afraid to calculate. Now, though, I'm going to start requesting FOS dollars more often. It's there, we should use it.

 

This year I helped with the District FOS dinner. Hosted a table and made the calls to get people there. I won't do it again. DE called me every week to see how I was doing, how much progress I'd made on invitations to the dinner, and what kind of pledges I got from those that declined the dinner invitation. I know raising money is hard and I found out very quickly that I don't like doing it.

 

Every year the units are asked to hold an FOS presentation at a pack meeting or troop court of honor. We've done it for the past several years, but I've come to dislike this practice as well. Again, we have some generous folks in our Troop and they give to FOS. But, many others, when hearing the FOS presentation, get that look in their eyes - "I just paid $180 for summer camp, just paid $100+ for a uniform, and you want MORE money"?

 

As to the original post - I've never seen a list of who has given to FOS in our Troop, the DE has given me a total. He has never compared it to any other unit. Although, at last month's roundtable he did announce how much was raised at a recent Pack meeting and I don't think that was appropriate. It shouldn't be a competition.

 

 

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"I just paid $180 for summer camp, just paid $100+ for a uniform, and you want MORE money?"

Nice quote, probably occurs often. We just give each family a piece of paper to take home and consider. No pressure. The page contains all the facts and figures.

 

If the marketplace was allowed to work, families would quickly understand that $180 for camp is cheap, cheap, cheap! If the marketplace was allowed to work, WalMart would have the uniforms for half the cost. OK, that last part is probably exaggerated, but the idea behind it holds. IF those of us who benefit from the services ACTUALLY PAID for them out of our pockets, not only would we appreciate those services (that we chose to purchase) even more than we do now, we also would stop taking Scout Camp for granted. AND we would have much, much more control over the types and contents of those services because their existence would depend directly on customer interest.

As it is, BSA essentially engages in precisely the kind of "spread-the-wealth" practice that I think most scouters already object to by the government, by pressuring those who CAN pay on behalf of overpaid executives and some families who can't pay. Perhaps this is one more delicious irony for my collection.

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