Keeping amazing volunteers
You’ve landed a great bunch of adults who work well together. Now’s the time to keep them feeling happy and motivated
Give a warm welcome
Think back to how you were welcomed into Scouts. Were you introduced to everyone? Was the time commitment explained to you? Were you told about the training and support available? Made to feel part of the team?
If the answers to these questions is ‘yes’, you already know what you’re doing. If the answers to any of these is ‘no’, follow these simple steps:
Get the basics right
- Smile and use positive language
- Make sure your volunteer feels comfortable by being open and welcoming
- Ask about their interests, skills and motivations for volunteering, so you have an idea of what they might enjoy doing from the get-go
- Give them a job to do right away so they feel useful
Give them all the information they need
- Be honest about what to expect – including the tasks volunteers can expect to do when, the commitment required and the training available
- Give them a copy of the yellow card
- Give them a welcome pack, so they can access all the information they need in one go – including things like contact lists, policy cards, useful links, parent guides and a list of acronyms they might see at Scouts, like GSL, ADC and DC
- Add them to any group chats or social media communication channels you use
- If your Group uses OSM, make sure they have access and know how to use it
Make them feel valued and included
- Introduce them to other volunteers – particularly the Group Scout Leader, who can explain policies like expenses and health and safety
- Introduce them to the young people, highlighting any specific needs they should be aware of
- Share contact details so they know who to go to if they have any issues
- If you use names like Akela, make sure they get one too
- Check in regularly and give them a buddy who’ll support them
Most importantly, make sure they feel needed and valued – whether they're a tea maker, minibus driver, activity planner or Exec Committee member.
Say thank you
We should always take the time to thank and reward people for their efforts and achievements. This might mean recognising a job well done, celebrating a permit or top award or simply saying ‘thank you’ for helping out.
Here are some great ways to celebrate with your Group.
Check in regularly
Happy volunteers stick around. And the key to understanding where they’re at is to simply talk to them.
Have a regular chat over a cuppa to find out if they’re enjoying the tasks assigned to them (or if they fancy a change) means you can notice potential problems early on and make sure everyone’s getting what they need from being a volunteer.
Every volunteer also needs a more formal review to talk about what they want to do in the future. This isn’t a performance review – it’s a chance to chat about what they enjoy, what they don’t enjoy and what new skills they’d like to learn. There are some great tools to help you with this:
- Finding out how volunteers are getting on
- Appointment review form
- Adult training – independent learning modules
Make the most of the volunteer journey
Use the volunteer journey to explain the path new adults take when they join. It’ll show them where they can find the learning and support they need to become amazing leaders and how the Group and District can help them.
Every adult at Scouts should:
- Feel part of the team
- Know what’s going on
- Know what’s expected of them
- Know where they can go next