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We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

Name generation exercises

The perfect way to find the perfect volunteer for the role or task

What’s it all about?

When we’re looking for someone to take on a more specific role within Scouts – like a Group Secretary, Treasurer or Group Scout Leader – we might find it difficult to know who to ask.

But these roles require specific skills. And generating a list of names of people who may have those skills can help you find the right person for the task. 

The basic idea behind name generation exercises is to get people thinking about the people they know and the skills they have. It can be useful to invite people from outside Scouts to participate – making it clear that you’re not asking them to commit to a role, but instead just want to pick their brains and explore any contacts they may have or networks they’re aware of.

You can run a name generation game however you’re meeting at the moment – it doesn’t matter if you’re coming together virtually or face-to-face

How does it work?

The process starts when you invite a number of people who aren’t connected to the group to a name generation evening. It’s really easy to do. The group doesn’t have to just be made up of existing Scouts – try inviting other members of the community, like the head teacher of a local school, PTA members, or the local PCSO. Don’t forget: Explorers and Network members will also know lots of potential volunteers. 

Encourage people to be objective with name generating. Just because one individual doesn’t see eye to eye with a candidate, it doesn’t mean they’re not a great fit. It’s also easy to make assumptions about the time people have to give – let them determine how much they could offer, and instead consider the different flexible options that are available.

Check out the tips below to get started. 

  • Meet somewhere everyone feels relaxed and comfortable – in person or online.
  • Explain the aim of the exercise is to prompt people to think about different ‘types’ of people they know – it in no way commits anyone to taking on a role.
  • As a group or individually, think about different ‘types’ of people you may know, and the skills they might have.
  • Encourage lots of discussion about the skills needed and the people they know that have those skills.
  • It can be helpful to have some prompts, like a role description, a list of local people, the phone book, or the Scout directory.
  • Make a note of any names that are generated.
  • Pass the final list to the Search Group, along with any necessary contact details. These lists can be referred to when the Search Group come to shortlisting, or if they find there is a low number of applicants for the vacancy.
  • Be open to role-sharing – you may find you can recruit a few people to carry out the tasks you need doing rather than one person for a specific role.

Use a pack of sticky notes to complete this activity, or an online platform that allows you to do something similar if meeting virtually. You can then move them around a table, chart or webpage until you create a structure that works for you. 

Start by putting your manager role on a note, and then listing the tasks that you are able to do.

Then, on other notes list the tasks that you would like someone else to do. Think about how many people can do these tasks and then cluster them around the role to find deputy or assistant roles. Then focus is on generating names, based on the skills of individuals, in line with the tasks.


Within Scouts Outside Scouts

People in your group


People in your section

Local ‘dignitaries’

People in your District


Local advisors/ trainers

School staff or governors

Executive members

Local businesses: managers, workers, owners

SAS members

Your own family and friends

Fellowship members

Friends of friends 

Those with no regular appointment currently 


Occasional helpers





People in local societies/community groups/clubs


Local youth group leaders

Members who’ve been to uni recently and returned to the area