How can we improve your volunteer experience?
We need your views. Welcome to the testing hub.
An overview of our plan to create a great volunteer experience
As part of our Skills for Life strategy one of our key aims is to improve the volunteer experience at Scouts, so that we can attract and retain more volunteers.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, we spoke to lots of people - more than 5,000 - both inside and outside of Scouts, to understand what’s great and what’s not.
Based on what we found, we’ve identified four key areas to focus on as a start:
- A warmer welcome for everyone
- Simplifying how we volunteer together with new roles and structures
- More support to help get everyday things done: digital transformation
- A more engaging learning experience
We know there’s more that can be done to improve things further – like better rewards and recognition – but we can’t change everything at once.
For more details about the proposed changes and to feedback, explore the Testing hub pages to watch the videos from our staff and volunteers involved with the projects, and give your feedback on each video.
To watch in full screen, double click the video
Change 1: A warmer welcome for everyone
We’re going to make a better first impression for new or returning volunteers. It’ll be clear where to sign up, what to expect, and what stage you’re at. You’ll also be in control of moving this forward as much as possible.
This will be supported by a new digital experience which will be part of scouts.org.uk – so you can easily find everything you need in one place. All of the new digital tools we’re going to build there are being designed with your needs in mind and will be tested with volunteers to make sure they do what they need to do. The welcome section of scouts.org.uk will:
- Be as self-service as possible for new volunteers, reducing admin for our current volunteers and making the process quicker and smoother. This will allow our volunteers to focus on the elements that really need a human touch.
- Show personalised volunteering opportunities with the ability to apply directly.
- Help line managers and teams to post and edit opportunities, monitor volunteers’ progress as they join, and oversee recruitment. You’ll have clear oversight of who’s joining in your area and anywhere that things might be getting delayed.
- Help streamline vetting and joining tasks where possible, making it easier to welcome new people.
A warmer welcome means changes to our in-person processes too. These will include:
- A welcome conversation in place of the formal appointments panel, which will happen where the volunteer usually meets their group.
- Better support for inductions.
There will also be more support with recruiting new volunteers:
- We’ll continue to provide you with more resources and templates for local recruitment, supported by our national #GoodForYou recruitment campaign and other initiatives.
- Potential volunteers can already head to scouts.org.uk/volunteer which shows why volunteering at Scouts is #GoodForYou – interested people will go through to a new online volunteer enquiry form that can be accessed by managers.
Change 2: A more engaging learning experience
Our programme’s always been about ‘learning by doing’ to help young people develop skills for life. It should be the same for our volunteers.
We know learning needs to be flexible, accessible, and easy to deliver and record. We also know people learn best through a combination of online and in-person learning, so our approach will be digital first but will include workshops and ‘on the job’ stuff (these will offer networking opportunities too).
One of the new areas of scouts.org.uk will be a learning section that’s personalised to you:
- All of your past, present and future Scouts learning will be there – you can easily see what you’ve done, what comes next, and anything else that’s relevant to you.
- You’ll have great learning resources that are easy to find and access – whether on a computer, tablet or phone.
- You’ll be shown how learning is directly useful for what you’re doing in Scouts and supported to put it into practice.
A focus on learning that’s engaging, relevant and enjoyable:
- There are some things we all need to know, but the majority of learning will be optional.
- For the essential bits, you’ll be able to learn as you go, so it won’t feel too daunting.
- You’ll be able to customise and define your learning needs, so you’ll learn what’s relevant to you in ways that make sense to you.
- Learning shouldn’t be about spending time on administration and validation – we’ll cut this down to make sure the focus is on the practical stuff that helps all of us to be better.
- We’ll develop ways to recognise your prior learning or existing skills, so you don’t have to go over areas you already know.
- You’ll have the opportunity to chat to others who are learning about the same topics, so you can build a network of support.
Change 3: More support to help you get everyday things done
Our volunteering roles need to be clear, manageable, and flexible.
We know that asking people to become leaders (or other specific roles) doesn’t suit everyone. People need to be able to volunteer in whichever way they can and want to do, focusing on the areas they have skills or interest in – and without having to take on the world.
- Teams thrive when they share a purpose, share tasks, and support each other to make the most of their different skills, experiences and available time. So we’ll think about volunteering as teams-based. This means that tasks could be assigned based on who’s most interested or suited, opening up new opportunities and helping to make volunteering more flexible and enjoyable.
- It’s vital that we make sure every team, task or role is easy to understand, appealing, and needed.
- We’ll ask volunteers to read and use our volunteering culture guidance. This shares our mutual commitment to you and asks, in return, that we all live up to our values.
The new experience at scouts.org.uk will also include other everyday membership management tools that that better integrate with how we do things. This should result in a simpler, slicker, more joined-up process.
These changes will help us to make sure that:
- Every volunteer is welcomed.
- Every volunteer is supported.
- Every volunteer is valued.
- Every volunteer gains skills (and has a good time!).
- Every volunteer matters.
When things will start to change
We're still working on these ideas at the moment, which is why we really want to get your feedback on what sounds great and what we need to think about a bit more.
We'll then start testing and piloting these changes in practice with volunteers, so we can further refine things.
Don't worry, everything won't happen at once – we’ll roll things out steadily over 2022 and 2023.
2022 is all about preparing for the changes to come in Spring 2023 – for now please continue as normal.
However, fundamentally what we do in Scouts won’t change. We’ll still be delivering great programmes and skill for life for young people.