Recruiting adult volunteers

Many of us in Scouting could do with extra adult help, whether it is at Section, Group, District or County level.

This resource is about finding the adults you need now, and planning to recruit the adults you’ll need in the future. This is known as ‘succession planning’. This means, for example, that if your Cub Scout Leader decides they want to take on a different role in Scouting, there isn’t a crisis as to who should replace them.

Recruitment of Adult Volunteers (BS320030) (PDF)

Recruitment Prompt Card (PDF)

Active Recruitment (FS391003) (PDF)

Design and Deliver an Effective Recruitment Event (FS500017) (PDF)

Using our Brand to Grow the Movement (FS103833) (PDF)

Planning for recruitment

Planning is vital for any successful recruitment campaign. Think about how you are going to reach your potential volunteers, what you want them to do and how you are going to support them. Set goals and deadlines that are realistic and achievable and monitor your progress as you go along. This will allow you to adapt and change to meet the needs of your sections and your potential volunteers.

When you have decided to launch a recruitment campaign, the most important thing to do is to get your plan right! Your recruitment plan should contain the following:

1. What you want your volunteers to do

Think about what you need for your group, district or county/Area and break it down into specific tasks. For example, do you need someone to look after your group’s equipment or leaders for a new section? Do you need someone to do the accounts or someone to help with the cooking at camp? Or do you simply need an extra pair of hands on the occasional Wednesday night?

2. Consideration of any local issues

Think about any specific features of your area, for example high unemployment or new housing developments. Think also about possible sources of support – there may be businesses, the local Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) or volunteers organisations, schools or even the local media (radio stations, newspapers, etc) that could help you out.

Have a look at the following factsheets for some advice and guidelines on addressing local issues.

Factsheet FS185030: Know Your Neighbours – getting to know organisations and people within the community

Factsheet FS185019: Developing Scouting in Minority Ethnic Communities

Download factsheets for free or order a printed copy from the information centre (0845 300 1818)

3. What you will do to attract people to Scouting

There may be events or activities that you could invite people to help out at (make sure that any resources you need are available). Think about how you will advertise any activity or event and spread the message that you need more volunteers.

4. How you will support new adults

Don’t forget to consider how you will support any new volunteers. They will need advice and guidance over the first few months and it is important that they are supported through the various stages of the appointment process.

Six steps of recruitment

Step one: Define the job that needs to be done

Think about the specific tasks that need to be carried out, rather than which role you need to fill. It may be that one person can do them all, but far more likely that a number of people could share the tasks.

Think about what actually needs doing, what it will involve, where and when and who they might be working with to help define the job that needs doing.

Step two: Identify the skills and qualities needed

Try to describe the sort of person who could carry out the tasks you’ve outlined. Remember that a person may be ideal for one job but totally unsuited to another. Go through the key tasks, and think about what knowledge, skills or qualities the person will need to be able to carry them out.

Step three: Generate a list of who can do the job

Get together a group of people from different parts of the community, and ask them to help you create a list of people they know who might be able to do the job. Often we immediately think of people who are already in Scouting, but if we cast the net a bit wider then new people can bring fresh ideas and new ways of doing things into Scouting. We can also share the workload involved in delivering really good scouting.

Step four: Target the best choice

Now that you have a long list of people, start to compare their skills and qualities against those you identified for your ideal recruit. Be careful not to make assumptions about people. If you don’t know enough about them make a note to find out more about them.

At this point you might want to make a shorter list and decide who you want to approach, so try to put them into order of preference. The person at the top of your list is your ‘best choice’. Keep hold of your shortlist, just in case.

Step five: Ask someone to help you

You need to plan how you will ask your ‘best choice’ so that they are most likely to say yes. Think about who the best person is to do the asking, arranging a time to meet with them, what you will say at the meeting and agreeing the next steps with the individual.

Step six: Offer support and welcome them into Scouting

If they say no, then go back to your shortlist and ask the next person on the list.

If they say yes, then the next stage is to agree the next steps with them. What is the process from here on in?

Agree with them what the role they have taken on will entail.

Also, make sure they have all the support they need, and make sure they are properly welcomed into Scouting by starting on the integration phase.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls