How one county commissioner is recruiting volunteers
We always need more volunteers but COVID-19 has made the need evermore pressing.
We’re getting ready to start a national volunteer recruitment campaign – coupled with local recruitment activity – from May onwards. Our volunteers have lots of experience in recruitment so we’re sure they’re going to get some great results, but it’s always nice to seek a little inspiration before getting started.
We spoke with Amy, a County Commissioner from Lincolnshire, to see what she’s planning. She’s fairly new to the role of County Commissioner, but brings more than 13 years of Scout experience to the table.
Have you done much recruitment before? How’s that gone?
Since I’ve been in post, I’ve been focusing on recruiting the County team. At this level, it’s rare to get someone in from scratch so I’ve mainly filled posts through the existing membership. I’ve asked people to nominate someone who they think could be a good fit for the role so that I can then approach them and say they’ve been recommended – this has worked really well, helping us to identify brilliant people who might not have applied otherwise.
However, I’ve also made sure to advertise all vacancies as I think it’s important to have a transparent and open approach – rather than just bringing people in who you already know. I list the vacancies on our county website – using the vacancy pack from the national Scouts website – promote the adverts on social media and email them out to people who might be a good fit.
I know there’s a perception that you can only do a role in the district you’re located in, but I’ve been advertising across districts as it’s really valuable to get a fresh perspective – plus, we can do lots more online now, too. I’ve been challenged about this, but I do really believe you can end up with someone that can bring more to the table if you’re open to trying new things.
What roles are you looking to recruit now?
Our priority is to recruit section leaders to help deliver activities for young people, but we need a variety of volunteers across the patch too, including executive and management positions and activity leads – so, we’re looking to get people in to understand their skills and help them find the right role. We’ll select individuals with outstanding engagement skills to have the initial contact with potential volunteers, putting them front and centre.
Our other key focuses are to see how we can retain people who might want to take on reduced hours or a different role and making sure existing volunteers are compliant with essential training requirements.
How have you planned to recruit?
We’re running a Development Day in May to reenergise and train members in our County (we stole the idea from Norfolk). We’ll focus on key areas like inclusion, being more youth-shaped and of course, recruitment – the Regional Services Team are doing a ‘Zoom to the room’ briefing about adult recruitment. The idea is for this day to be the launch of a month of targeted focus on recruitment.
We’re planning to:
- Encourage every member and parent to put up at least one poster in a public space
- Fund some social media advertisements targeted by postcode, as well as free media posts – we’ll ask leaders and parents to share everything too
- Send out letters, posters and emails to all major local businesses to find people with specific skill sets
- Trial advertising on supermarket billboards for a month to see if it works
- Work with the local radio station on their community impact day
- Engage further with local Universities and Colleges to attract more 18-25 year olds
- Run family activity days
Off the back of that, hopefully people will come through in June/July. We’re trying to standardise and enhance our on-boarding, so anyone who expresses an interest goes through the same experience.
So that we don’t lose momentum over the summer months, we’re also organising a series of skills weekends just for adult volunteers. We’ll run a variety of activities so people can learn Scout skills and see what all the fun is about.
Which tools are useful?
We’ve used the brand centre a fair bit, like short videos that we’ve top and tailed to personalise them. We’ll email these to schools to use in assemblies and help us bring in more young people. We’ll also send leaflets for book bags, which is where we can put messaging about adult support, too.
Finally, what’s your top tip for others to consider when recruiting volunteers?
We need to open to bringing in wider skillsets and different people. I don’t disagree with recruiting from the parent population, but we should be brave and broad in our reach, too.
Thanks Amy for this really interesting insight into your plans to recruit in Lincolnshire. We’ll check back in a few months to see how things have gone.