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DeanRx

Anyone get hit up by their DE for a second FOS presentation this year?

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As I posted in another topic, I got hit up by my DE at roundtable last week asking if he could come to our next pack meeting and "re-pitch" FOS after the FOS district chair has already pitched it to the families in the pack last month at the B&G.

 

Anyone else running into this issue?

 

Frankly, I was left almost speechless. I mumbled something about our pack meeting being the last Thursday of the month (without confirming w/ him the actual date and time) and continued with a comment about how most of our families that could afford to contribute already had done so at B&G.

 

If he does happen to show up at the pack show, can I tell him not to re-pitch FOS? If he does, I'm afraid that not only will it result in little to no additional contributions, but may very well have a negative impact on our unit's membership numbers. People don't like to be asked to give twice, especially if the tone of the message is that you didn't give enough the 1st time around.

 

Your thoughts?

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Times are hard, very hard. But I have not heard of a DE asking to do a 2nd presentation, until this post.

 

Now what my council IS doing, especially since they lost direct funding from another UW agency, is 2 things. #1 is the council is producing a special edition temp insignia for those who send a copy of a letter to the editor in reference to BSA, UW,and funding. If your UW is giving, thanking them, if UW only does designated funding, tellig people, and if your UW was the one that recently rejected the council's proposal, informing the public of their actions.

 

The other thing is that they created a special CSP for those who either gave $50 more than last year, or up their 2009 pledges by $50. I beleive this CSP is in addition to the regular FOS CSP with the next point of the Scout Law in it.

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Dean,

 

I understand your point of view on this matter and I think the pack's committee chair would be well within rights to place a friendly call to the DE to explain why the pack would prefer the DE not return with another FOS pitch, if that's the case. (I forget, are you the CC?)

 

On the other hand, while perhaps the DE might have been a little smoother in his/her delivery of the request to you, I don't think this is something to be offended by. Even DE's are human and this individual probably just got chewed out by their boss for having lower-than-average FOS contributions this year. So now they're scrambling. Yes, it would be nice if they had answered your questions more effectively first but from what you described, I doubt there was any malice afore-thought in the way they responded to you.

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I think I'm with Lisabob.

Some SE's are not the brightest light on the Christmas Tree.

Some are lazy little toads.

The goals that they set are at times just silly.

If the money does come rolling in? It means less work for them. - However to be fair, some are very intelligent and are under pressure from the Board to bring in the dough!

 

It might be that a poor DE has voiced his opinion that going back isn't going to work and he might just be going through the motions to prove to his boss that it really is a waste of time.

Over the past few years the Council that is lucky enough to have me has sent letter to ask people who haven't donated to donate.

This is dressed up as ensuring that they have the opportunity to donate! Some people see it as a bit of arm twisting.

The more I think about it, the more I think that it's time for Councils to charge a membership fee and do away with all this messing.

This would force SE's to come up with budgets that make sense and free a lot of professionals to work in areas other than fund raising. (It definitely would mean that more effort would be put into membership.)

Eamonn.

 

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The only thing I'd do is promise to remind Pack parents that FOS is still on-going and they can see Bob the DE after the meeting if they would like to contribute.

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What Lisa said. Our Council does call bank nights ... a lot of them. If you have a kid in the program, you will be assimilated contacted.

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Lisa (and everyone)-

 

Thanks for the input. I'm the CM by the way. But I've spoken w/ our CC on this issue and we are in agreement.

 

I guess I'd just like to know the 'true' cost per scout and then be told to fund raise around that figure. We had a banner popcorn sale last year (around 24K gross in a unit of 50 scouts). That put roughly 8K into the council right there from our single unit. That means our unit already pumped in $160 per scout to the council on popcorn sales alone this year! Our scouts and parents hustled to make that kind of sale. Yes it directly benefitted the unit, but its at least a win-win for the unit and council.

 

FOS is just the council asking for money with no requirement to be forthright in how they intend to earmark or spend it. I'd love to see an actual breakdown of how many cents per FOS dollar goes towards salaries, legal issues, and actual program for the boys (i.e. camp upkeep, improvements, etc...). I doubt BSA wants to share those numbers with its all volunteer army of fundraisers, it might create some disention in the ranks.

 

I agree that our DE was probably not malicious in his approach to a follow-up FOS presentation. However, it did seem odd how fast a request for information by me (a volunteer at the unit level) got turned around into a fundraising sales pitch by a DE (the professional scouter at the council level). Just left a really bad taste in my mouth.

 

Ultimately, it makes me not want to interact w/ district and council on any issues, because my questions will not likely get addressed and I'll get pressured to raise more money for them.

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My DE's approach has been to ask eveyone to ask 5 people around you to donate. They have even ask volunteerd to come to the council office in the evening and telemarket contributions. Their main target is calling people who gave last year but not this.

 

One thing our council does for donors is if you pledge $125 you get a special edition CSP. It changes every year and each year it is a different point of the Scout law. If you donate $250 youe get the CSP and a coffee mug . Seems to get people to donate.

 

The $125 comes from the question above. The council says it costs $125 to support a single Scout for one year.

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Fellow Scouters,

 

Here are my thoughts.

 

Some people refer to the FOS drive, as the DE begging for their paycheck.

 

Some councils do have a wealth of scoutstuff sales, fundraisers and corporation sponsorship. Some councils do not. Some councils and district have low income rural families. Some have districts with thriving businesses, good economy and a philanthropist millionaire in every district.

 

I do understand that most councils financial records shows that FOS averages a decent percentage of the operating budget. So even though it is fund raising for the council, it is legitimately put to use, by paying someone for their services or paying someone for a product.

 

Unfortunately, Ive seen executive staff decrease in two councils, primarily due to poor FOS drives. Essentially, the lowest FOS district executives were not renewed in their contract. So, yeah, a Scouter may say that their DE is begging for their annual salary, it may be true to an extent.

 

So, while my family plans or determines what charitable contributions to different organizations we will make throughout the year, we plan in BSA/FOS. I see that my contribution to FOS allows that I have a DE that will deliver to my doorstep, instead of me driving a hundred miles to go visit them.

 

I appreciate the changing economy, or that some families just cannot financially support Scouting anymore. Sometimes these families have worked out arrangements for dues, uniform cost, and event registration payments with the own pack or troop. I can be empathetic, but if Im gonna contribute to FOS, all my fellow Scouters in my district should have the opportunity to give or to at least hear an FOS drive and then say no.

 

Whether to make a contribution or not; that is a personal and family decision. Whether to listen to an FOS drive; that should be a Pack or Troop decision, and I just cant see a reason why to refuse.

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21_Adv

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DeanRx,

 

Everything you just voiced in your most recent post is valid. Ask your COR to voice those concerns to your DE. The Chartered Partner is the agency to whom the Local Council owes fiscal transparency: The are the licensee of record of your Scouting program.

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After DeanRxs statement about info on where the FOS money goes, I went to guidestar.org and got the most recent IRS Form 990 for my council. It doesnt break out FOS donations from other donations, nor does it give as detailed a description as Im sure some of us would like. But it does provide some interesting food for thought.

 

- The council reported 0- on the expenses line for legal fees. Are legal fees paid by National?

 

- Of the $1.6 million that came in from program service revenue basically money generated from running programs - $1.4 came from camping and $200,000 from activities. It took in $1.3 million in donations and grants and the like.

 

- It spent $2.8 million on program services, $465,000 on management and general, and $392,000 on fundraising.

 

- Wages and salaries add up to about $1.6 million about 40 percent of the overall revenue picture.

 

- Camperships received $8,087 - enough money to cover half the cost of summer camp for about 50 Boy Scouts.

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Crew21-

I understand what you are saying, but my question is whether or not I should approve of a second request for a FOS presentation. We had about 95% turn out for the B&G, probably the best attended event of the year even better than PWD. So the issue is that most families in our unit have had the sales pitch once. Should they be forced to hear it again? Should I be inclined to allow the pitch from someone who doesn't "deliver to my doorstep" when I as a unit leader has questions or need contact information?

 

John-in-KC -

We're a "Concerned Parents of Pack XXX", so technically our CC is our COR. I don't think I want to ask her to take on the council on the units behalve asking for transparency of records. Might find it hard to recharter next year :)

 

shortridge-

I'll have to check that website out and see if I can find our council's numbers. It would be nice to know.

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DeanRx,

 

 

Concur.. Don't take my previous comments as confrontational. That's why my comments were directed at Fellow Scouters. Sometimes even seasoned Scouters, don't see any reason for allowing FOS at all.

 

I feel at least every unit should allow FOS at least once annual. Allowing FOS to visit twice; yeah, that is a decision for the Cubmaster/Scoutmaster or Committee Chair. Its not really up to a forum member to answer though.

 

But sometimes reading about FOS on the various Scout forums or newsgroups, fellow Scouters can become afraid, offended, or cynical of FOS. Whereas some other Scouters do see FOS as a contribution, and still going to a good cause.

 

Fellow Scouters,

 

I don't think you can ever predict the outcome of an FOS drive. Some families and units are generous, some families and units don't really understand what FOS pays for.

 

As a commissioner, years ago, I attended a Court of Honor for a small (one patrol) troop. The Scoutmaster and just a few families were friends of mine. Upon arrival I learned that they canceled the Court of Honor that evening on short notice, but they still wanted the FOS drive that night. Okay, only two parents were present so I gave the FOS drive; 15 minutes later, two more parents arrived; again, 15 minutes later, two more parents arrive. I guess the FOS drive lasted an hour, saying hello and explaining FOS throughout the entire hour. Out of ten families, they contributed approximately 3000.00. I was truly surprise at how much those families contributed per capita.

 

That same year, I drove sixty miles to a Pack event. There were about sixty Cubs and over a hundred family members. After explaining FOS and what they were paying for, and the incentive programs. I received only one pledge sheet back for ten dollars.

 

I joked with my fellow commissioners and district committee. Why the difference in FOS drives? I have no clue. I gave the same pitch. The families just shared different attitudes and opinions about FOS.

 

More recently, during a local Pack's Blue and Gold, out of 50 families, only two pledge sheets were returned. The FOS team raised less than fifty dollars from only two families returning pledge cards. Hey, Blue and Golds are a busy ceremony, sometime placing FOS at the end of a 2-3 hour ceremony (but that is when the FOS team was invited and they scheduled us).

 

As a member of the district commissioners team, I asked that same Pack if I could visit them a month later to conduct another FOS drive. They allowed me to attend for that purpose. I only received two additional pledge sheets. Only four families out of fifty in that Pack decided to give this year. Hey, it is a tough economic year, and at least they listened to two quick FOS pitches. Surprisingly, during the second visit, one of the four families contributed more than a thousand dollars. Whoa!

 

Was it a second FOS visit during the same year. Yes. But the subsequent visit did help pay a few more district and council budget items.

 

Oh and by the way.. In our district's FOS drive, we have some units that contribute significantly and we then have some units that refuse to allow any FOS campaign. I am just happy when they listen; and during good economic times, they contribute.

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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Crew21-

 

I appreciate your response. I didn't take your original post as confrontational... just wanted to make clear that this was not our unit saying no to an FOS presentaiton, it was about allowing multiple solicitations in the same FOS season.

 

I agree every unit should have a FOS pitch at least once a year (at the units request and perhaps at the DE's requesting). I just don't see much value added and in fact would guess a detrimental efect to unit moral and maybe even drop outs caused by a 2nd FOS push. (no hard data to back this up - other than how I feel just by being asked after I already pledged this year)

 

Thanks for the feedback.

 

Dean

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