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Covid Response – Making the most of your volunteers

Now is the time to re-connect, re-engage and re-energise your team. In challenging times, it is important to make the most out of all our volunteers, adapting to their needs and giving support when needed.

We may come across a number of challenges:

  • Volunteers reluctant to deliver online or face-to-face
  • Shielding or vulnerable volunteers
  • Volunteers are disengaged from Scouting and teams are low on numbers
  • Volunteers may not want to come back after a break
  • Volunteers dealing with bereavement
  • Volunteers being keyworkers
  • Changes in circumstances

All these scenarios can lead to depleted teams and staffing gaps. How can we support and plug these gaps?

Great communication from leaders is key. Restart regular leaders’ meetings, if they have stopped. Make sure everyone gets the chance to re-connect and most importantly, listen.

Ask if anyone’s circumstances have changed, so you can adapt and prepare appropriately.

Right people in the right roles

Volunteering needs to be adaptable. As people’s lives and circumstances change, so can their volunteer role. Make volunteering work and use the skills within your team.

 Make sure the right people are in the right roles to support the return of groups:

  • You could complete a skills survey with everyone in the team to find out who is good at what
  • Include Young Leaders and Youth Commissioners
  • Create local champions or experts
  • Utilise Scout Active Support Units

Once you have an idea of people's skills make sure they are in a role that utilises their skills. Work with them to find a role they will enjoy and fits with their circumstances while making the best of the skills they have to offer. It can feel like a job moving people around roles but in the long run you will get so much more out of volunteers if they are in a role that truly suits them. 

Consider allocating new roles and responsibilities to people on a short term basis, in order to support or train others, share knowledge, skills and best practice.

What can Counties and Districts do to re-engage volunteers?

Make sure volunteers feel connected to the District or County and have a good communication network. It's important that volunteers are aware of opportunities and support that is available as well as getting advice on the fast-paced changes that are happening with COVID-19.  

 Some options to help re-engage are:

  • County or District team building and training opportunities 
  • Seek support from other Counties or Districts
  • Buddy or mentor systems
  • County or District-led events and support
  • Reward and recognition of your team is vital 
  • Appoint a Wellbeing Champion or Mental Health First Aider 
  • Hold webinars or online calls for updates and Q&A sessions
  • Regular newsletters via email

Ensure you are providing ongoing support for your team

Everyone can face struggles in life which can affect someone’s volunteering role. It’s important that we can be a support in these difficult times and find the best solutions to help.

 This could mean:

  • Taking a break from volunteering – keep in touch with them though
  • A change in role – they may need more time / less responsibility
  • A listening ear – a chat on the phone or a (COVID-safe) catch-up coffee
  • Signpost to support – check out some of the links to the side for specific support
  • Regular check ins – if they want to carry on in role, check in with them. Show you care and are willing to give extra support if necessary

It’s time to re-energise and re-engage your members and their families

Re-engaging families

Building your programme Keeping everyone engaged after COVID-19.

Building your programme

Scouting is needed more than ever – find some tips for recruiting young people and adults.

Filling the gaps

Making sure Scouting is prepared for the future.

Long term sustainability

Check out these ideas for how to raise additional funds to deal with the impact of COVID-19.