Every September, thousands of young people choose to get a further education.
Many of them are already involved with us. Others might never have heard about what we do. All would benefit greatly from volunteering while studying – making new connections, learning new things and improving their wellbeing.
Check out the tips below to help spread the word and bring brilliant students into Scouts.
- Consider the ages of the students you’re looking to invite to Scouts. Those over 18 are eligible to be adult volunteers.
- Use the Government search website to find universities, colleges and other higher education providers near you.
- What courses and extracurricular activities do they offer? What skills do they teach?
- If it’s a teaching training university, for example, you might find students who’d love the chance to gain practical skills working with young people. If it’s an outdoor vocational training centre, you might find people who’d enjoying mucking in and sharing skills on camp.
- Think about how you might want to target your advertising, looking at the promotion section further down this page for ideas.
Think about where your current links lie:
- See if any volunteers work at – or study with – a college, university or other education provider.
- Ask if there are District team connections already in place.
- Tap into any local Student Scout and Guide Organisations (SSAGOs).
Explore networking opportunities with your team:
- Consider Network members who either live/work in the area – or who may be moving into the area – to study.
- Contact specific course providers and departments. Students interested in childcare, youth work, social work or teacher training, for example, are more likely to be motivated to join you.
- Chat to specific volunteering departments.
- Talk to local student unions.
- See if any local students are looking for volunteering opportunities to complete their Duke of Edinburgh's Award and introduce the award to their place of study if they aren’t offering it already.
- Do a name generation activity.
Once you’ve decided who you're going to contact, here is an email template below to help you make the first move. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, either – you can often get a great response from an informal chat.
Use these questions to get the conversation flowing:
How do their students prefer to receive information? On social media? By email?
Is there space to advertise Scouts within their buildings? Could you use notice boards? Hand out flyers?
Are there volunteering events, freshers fairs or open days you can attend?
Can they link you up with the relevant course leaders and departments?
Are there any raising and giving, Community Action or Voluntary Groups on campus through the students union who you could advertise through? They often have lots of students signed up to emails and Facebook groups advertising volunteering vacancies who are keen to work within their local communities.
Remember international students too - Scouts is a great way for them to feel included and welcome.
Alongside events, freshers fairs and open days, every February there is also a national Student Volunteering Week, which could be a great time to connect with the local students and show them our opportunities.
Dear (insert name of contact if known) / To whom it may concern
My name is (insert name) and I am (insert role here) at the Scouts.
I am contacting you today to explore options to engage with Students at your university and let them know of potential volunteering opportunities that we have.
Week by week, our volunteers empower thousands of young people to learn new skills, make new friends and stand on their own two feet. They’re our everyday heroes. They shape young people’s lives for the better, and find out a whole lot about themselves in the process, too.
Today, there are nearly 60,000 young people on the waiting list to join us in the UK. We’re more relevant and more needed than ever, but it’s not always easy to keep up with the demand.
We at the scouts are always looking for volunteers who can get stuck in and would be a great fit for students who want to boost their CV or need placement opportunities.
It would be fantastic if we could arrange a conversation to discuss how we can support Students and think of ways that we could promote volunteering at the University.
Thank you in advance for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
(insert your name here)
(insert contact details – phone number and email address)
What to include in your promotion:
- What is Scouting/who we are
- Where we are based
- Skills they might be able to offer- keep this light-hearted!
- Benefits it can have on their CV
- How to get in touch with us if they are interested
Methods of promotion:
- Social media
- Advert on local volunteer forums
- Marketing pack to new students in prospectus (this is about planting the seed so that you don’t have to do it every year)
- Mass emails through their internal systems
- Try to attend their events- freshers fairs, volunteering fairs etc.
*This list isn't exhaustive - be creative in what works for you and the establishment
It's important to ‘strike while the iron is hot’:
- Reply within 24-48 hours to keep their interest while they are keen
- Pick the right person to meet face to face or online for the initial meeting - maybe include a young leader or network member who has similar interests or motivations.
- Meet them face to face as soon as possible - a place convenient to them, make them feel welcome and invite them along to meet some groups to give them a taste of Scouting. Make sure to follow safeguarding guidelines.
- Prepare the group - everyone can welcome new adults. Don’t forget to communicate to parents about new volunteers joining the group.
Don't forget to check out our six steps to recruitment.
Now that the students are on board, we need to think about support and retention. This is the start of their volunteer journey with you.
- Schedule a meeting to begin their training online - share the load by assigning a buddy or a Group or District member to support them.
- A well-meaning thank you goes a long way. By appreciating and understanding that students have a long summer break, exams and may need to be away from the section/group from time to time, will keep them involved in scouting. This doesn’t mean that they are any less of a volunteer and it is important to find meaningful ways to keep in touch whilst they are away.
- Agree on a task they could do over summer, maybe an admin task or something you have been meaning to do but just haven’t got round to. Why not try our task survey but tailor it for students?
- Keep in touch on the phone, or make sure they are kept up-to-date in the group chat.
- Invite them back for summer camp and allocate some support towards their travel costs.
- Try to consider the needs of student volunteers as much as possible to keep them Scouting with us. Be mindful of their time/money/travel capacity.
- Regularly check in with them - how are they finding it? Is there anything we can do to support them? Can we offer them additional training?
- If they are ready to move on after their courses have finished, it is a great opportunity to keep them in scouting by giving them a fabulous send off, coupled with supporting them to make links with districts where they will be moving to.
During this period, they may operate as any other Young Leader or adult leader with that section and will be required to complete the necessary training appropriate to their role. This will depend on their age and includes a minimum of either Module A of the Young Leaders’ Scheme or the Getting Started modules of the Adult Training Scheme to be achieved by the participant.
In addition to this, participants are encouraged to complete training appropriate to their role (there is no specific time requirement for additional training). Non-Scouting DofE Volunteers are not expected to wear the Explorer Scout uniform but can wear group-branded clothing if they wish to do so.
Young Leaders should be made aware of the resources available and be given a copy of the Orange Card (Young People First for Young Leaders).
Leaders should also be aware that the participant will require an Assessor Report, on paper or online, upon completion of their volunteering. This should be agreed before the young person starts their volunteering.
Top Tip: Non-member volunteers could become member volunteers if they enjoy their experience. Don’t be afraid to ask if they’d like to be a part of Scouting in the future. Could they also encourage others in their DofE group to volunteer with us in the future?
Connecting to education providers
Check out the list of ways you could connect to different education providersDiscover the information