Skip to main content

A warmer welcome for everyone

Watch the video about what we propose to change and let us know your views

A new digital experience for recruiting volunteers

To watch in full screen, double click the video

A new digital experience at the welcome stage 

The Volunteer Welcome is a collaboration project between Girlguiding and Scouts, funded by the Pears Foundation. We recognise that Scouts and Girlguiding have shared challenges in recruiting volunteers. Both movements face significant demand from young people with more than 100,000 on waiting lists across both organisations. Also, our volunteering opportunities need to be more inclusive and diverse, ensuring accessibility and support for adults from different socio-economic, cultural and educational backgrounds. We are committed to diversifying our volunteer base as this is fundamental to engaging and enabling young people from all communities to participate in our movements. This will make our organisations truly representative of the communities we serve and society as a whole.  This project aims to improve volunteer recruitment and on-boarding, resulting in increased numbers of volunteers across both movements.  

The overall scope of this project is to make people aware of opportunities within Scouting and make it simple and easy for a new volunteer to join, and for you to manage. This includes a welcoming appointment process for volunteers and a warm induction into the right role.  

How will we create a warmer welcome together? 

By March 2023, we aim to have a new digital experience that works for both Girlguiding and Scouts, providing personalised volunteering opportunities, an easy way to monitor volunteers’ progress and the ability to streamline vetting and joining tasks where possible.  

To do this we have structured the ‘welcome’ into three stages for potential volunteers- 

  • Initial awareness of the organisation’s purpose and method, the wide-range of voluntary roles available and allow potential volunteers to explore options before they join. 
  • This is then followed by joining, registering for an opportunity and matching to a role that suits the new volunteer’s needs. Once the right role is found they can be appointed.  
  •  The journey will then continue into beginning their induction, being safe and prepared and importantly recognised for the time they have already given to  complete their induction.  

The key ambitions for the new digital experience are: 

  1. We need to make sure that there is a positive volunteer journey which meets the needs and expectations both of you and new volunteers. To do this we need to ensure that new volunteers are doing tasks that work for them, and that they are matched into the role that is fit for their personal needs and requirements.  
  2. We need to be inclusive and accessible to volunteers from a diverse range of backgrounds, making sure they are supported and guided appropriately. We need to make sure that our volunteer base better reflects the diversity of the communities we are in and additional communities where we can make an impact.  
  3. Reduced administrative burden for you as a current volunteer. We want to make sure you are equipped and feel able to support recruitment in the welcome journey, as well as having the tools and guidance you feel you need to do this. We want you to feel excited about this process.  

The welcome section of 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. 

What do you think? 

We will be looking at how we can test the new digital experience when it’s ready. We are looking at working with Counties Areas and Regions to see how we can make these changes possible in the first instance. 

Double click the video to watch in full screen.

We’ve stopped gathering specific feedback on A new digital experience as we’re using what you’ve already told us to adapt the solutions. You're welcome to provide comments on here however please note the teams may have already moved on to developing the solution based on what we've heard so far. If you still want to comment we’d love to hear your views. Head to our overall feedback form.

A welcome conversation instead of an appointments panel

To watch in full screen, double click the video

Double click the video to watch in full screen.

We currently have appointments panels in Scouts to welcome a new volunteer into their role, ensuring that they are aware of and accept our values, policies and promise. The appointments panel supports volunteers to understand their role requirements and is able to point them in the right direction of support. It's an important process intended to keep young people in Scouting safe. 

When we asked members (and non-members) we were told that the current appointment process is intimidating, unclear and rarely as welcoming as it could be. It can be off-putting to potential volunteers. The new process will confirm not only if a new volunteer is a match for us as an organisation, but more importantly that we are the right match for them, putting them at the heart of the process.  

Why change? We’re committed to meeting the NSPCC guidelines around safer recruitment, so we need to make sure that new volunteers are ‘safe’ to work with our young people. We currently do this through disclosure checks, references and training.  

The guidance is in place to: 

  • Minimise the risk of appointing someone unsuitable 
  • Ensure you select the right person for the role 
  • Make the process fair 
  • Make sure there are records of the process for future reference.  

We know that appointments panels excel at introducing new volunteers to the wider movement and allow us to understand if the opportunity is a good fit for the potential volunteer.  

However, members have said there are current challenges:  

  • Appointment panels don’t make people feel safer  
  • They’re not a warm welcome for a new volunteer, because they usually happen after that volunteer has been acting in role for several weeks
  • Safeguarding concerns are likely to be identified through conversations and working with volunteers rather than in a structured panel
  • If a potential volunteer has needs that mean they cannot take up a role with the movement this should be highlighted before they start a volunteering task, if these emerge later then they should be raised in the normal safeguarding manner.   

To overcome these challenges, we’re proposing to introduce a welcome conversation. This would be a meeting between a new volunteer and two key members – one from the group and one from the District. This will be extensively tested and designed to replace the traditional format of appointments panels. This is so that:  

  • The conversations would give a space to discuss how the task/ role/ opportunity can be adapted to meet the needs of the volunteer, like flexible time, date and location options. 
  • We also know that we want to provide the opportunity to clarify the next steps in the Welcome journey for the new volunteer – including disclosures, references and mandatory training. 
  • We want to make sure that the new volunteer has the chance to meet existing volunteers outside of their current role and be introduced to the overall movement. 
  • We hope this would provide a more welcoming experience for new volunteers. It’s important that we’re friendly, meet in familiar surroundings and at a time which is convenient for them.  

Please let us know your thoughts about having a welcome conversation instead of the appointments panel through the feedback button on this page.  

We’ve stopped gathering specific feedback on A welcome conversation instead of an appointments panel as we’re using what you’ve already told us to adapt the solutions. You're welcome to provide comments on here however please note the teams may have already moved on to developing the solution based on what we've heard so far. If you still want to comment we’d love to hear your views. Head to our overall feedback form.

Stay tuned

Stay tuned for details about more things we plan to change, such as:  

  • Flexible volunteering   
  • Matching volunteers to roles- focussed on matching individuals, moving roles within the organisation and young leaders transitioning into adult roles  
  • How we advertise our roles   
  • How we induct new volunteers   

If you want to get more involved with this project, you’re welcome to be a part of our joint volunteer group. We’re inviting around 100 volunteers from both Scouts and Girlguiding to join regular monthly updates, check-in on our progress and give your feedback.