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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

A warmer welcome

How we're planning to create a warmer welcome for everyone.

How we're planning to create a warmer welcome for everyone 

A new digital tool to help recruit volunteers 

  • Recruiters will be able to create adverts and opportunities easily and reach new people 
  • Potential volunteers will be able to explore opportunities, enquire, be matched to their roles and follow their progress

Redesigning the current appointments process into a welcome conversation

  • The new welcome conversation will involve two existing volunteers meeting with the new volunteer. One person will work directly with the new volunteer, such as a member of the Group leadership team. The other person will be from outside the volunteering opportunity, such as a volunteer from a Support Team or Section in a different group. 
  • Both volunteers will need to complete related, self-led online learning to get ‘permission’ to be involved. This applies to roles in Districts and Counties, as well as to roles in Groups.  
  • The chat will normally happen in the usual meeting place of the new volunteer or via video call when suitable. This may involve those leading the Welcome Conversation watching the new volunteer having a go at their role. It should be informal, feel supportive and put the new volunteer at ease. 
  • It’ll take place no more than six weeks after the start of volunteering. The suitability of this timescale will be tested through working with the co-design County for the Welcome project 

Why we need to create a warmer welcome 

  • So that we can attract new volunteers and keep the ones we have 
  • So that we can grow our movement and reach new communities  
  • So that we do less admin and have more time for the things that matter most  
  • Because volunteers told us the welcome process can be off-putting 


The appointments panel is usually made up of the old guard […] who sit there and talk about their day. And this new person who’s really enthusiastic just completely gets put off straight away.


The impact on volunteers

  • Group / District leadership teams – you’ll be able to track the progress of volunteering applications (meaning less admin!) 
  • Appointments secretaries, administration roles and Group and District managers – manually adding references to the membership system will be a thing of the past 
  • Appointments panels (could change to not including the full remit and responsibilities of the Appointments Advisory Committee) – the remit of these roles will be affected as a different group of people within the Group and District, leadership and development teams will complete and digitally record the welcome conversation 
  • Volunteers within Scouts who want to change or develop into a new role  
  • Current volunteers who are responsible for the welcome, like appointment and induction – new processes will make things smoother for everyone involved
  • New volunteers – it’ll be a much more welcoming and transparent joining journey for them 
  • An approach that’ll be transparent, flexible and streamlined, and give consistent information to volunteers 
  • Easily find suitable roles for new volunteers 
  • Track and follow up on expressions of interest 
  • A greater level of consistency across Counties/Areas/Regions and Districts 
  • Recognise safeguarding concerns sooner 

Digital access

  • We recognise the need to ensure those with digital or other access needs can use the solution, so we’re developing an adaptation to make sure that there are non-digital methods where needed 

The digital first approach excludes potential new volunteers  

Digital first, doesn’t mean digital only. We know that a digital tool isn’t the only way to reach volunteers. A new digital tool will help us to extend our reach to people who look for opportunities online - people we don’t know yet. However, it should be used in combination with other volunteer recruitment methods, as we know face-to-face chats can often be the best way to get new people on board.  

Changing the process doesn’t address the existing challenge of finding new and/or diverse volunteers  

There are lots of changes that need to be made to help us reach new people. The digital recruitment tool will help us increase our online presence, but we also need to keep up our volunteer recruitment campaigns, such as #GoodForTwo, and try out different recruitment methods 

We know there's more for us to do to become more inclusive and welcoming at Scouts, which is why we’ve prioritised our race equity work. We’re working towards changing the way we think and do things so that we can become a movement that gives everyone what they need to thrive.   

In the end 

Volunteering and welcoming new volunteers will feel easier. 

Picture a world where: 

  • You can monitor where new volunteers are on their volunteer journey – and easily spot where things might need progressing. 
  • You won’t need to enter data twice into unconnected systems.  
  • Anyone can update their details in the digital tool, and they can use the existing information to apply for another role in the movement. 
  • You can enquire about and make reasonable adjustments for the needs of the volunteer through the welcome conversation. 

New volunteers can: 

  • Take control of their volunteer journey, joining at their own pace and using any accessibility tools they’ve installed on their own digital device. 
  • Get direct access to our disclosure documents, values, promise and initial learning. 
  • Experience a friendly, easy to complete, supportive, inclusive and clear joining journey. 

We think this will be the process for references in the end, but we’re just firming this up: 

  • A reference request would consist of a maximum two questions sent to a minimum of two referees.  
  • The new volunteer would have the option of adding the details of more than two referees if they feel this may speed the process up. Only two of these referees would need to reply to the request.  
  • The new volunteer would enter the details of the referees on the self-service digital tool. A reference request will be sent directly to the referee. This removes the current need for the referee to be contacted by an additional volunteer who they haven’t previously had contact with.  
  • If the referees reply positively to the questions posed to them in the volunteer’s reference with no additional comments, these references will be automatically verified by the digital tool.  

Don’t worry, there’ll be learning and guidance to help us all get there.  

What will stay the same 

We’re committed to following the NSPCC Safer Recruitment Guidelines, which means that there’s a mandatory requirement to meet these as Scouts.  

These are the elements of the recruitment process which will stay the same: 

  • Process of providing at least two references as a new volunteer 
  • A disclosure check to be carried out 
  • A CE check to be completed 
  • A minimum of two people having a conversation around suitability and safety for the role with the new volunteer 

Who’s leading the welcome project 

  • Alison Fell, Volunteer Welcome Theme Lead 
  • Celia Wilson, Collaboration Programme Manager (Volunteer Welcome)
  • Heather Smith, Volunteer Journey Executive (Volunteer Welcome)

Positive volunteering everyday

How we'll simplify how we volunteer together for positive volunteering every day.​

How we're simplifying volunteering

More engaging learning

How we’ll create a more engaging learning experience.​​

Discover the new learning experience

Digital support

How we’ll give you more digital support to help get things done.​

Find out about the new tools