Blog | Top tips for recruiting volunteers
We know that most Scout groups would always welcome an extra pair of hands, so for Volunteers Week, we asked our Local Development Officer Gary to share some of his top tips for recruiting volunteers locally.
“Working as a Local Development Officer within West Region and Forth Region, it’s my job to help local districts recruit new members and support existing groups with growth and development. I’ve gained plenty of hands-on experience of going out into communities to recruit volunteers, so I wanted to share just a few things that have worked well for me:
Make the most of social media
If your group or District is actively posting on social media, then use it to actively target volunteers within the community. With a small budget, Facebook enables you to target specific audiences by location, demographics and interest, and this can be a highly effective way to reach people beyond your page’s usual audience. If you are planning to reach out to more people, make sure your page has some recent and exciting posts to grab their attention!
Boost your profile
Raising the profile of your group within your community is a great way to reach new people. There are lots of ways you can do this. You can share stories on social media and through local press and community news channels. You can also try involving other community organisations in your programme activities. Remember to use the Brand Centre if you are creating any materials to support any local PR.
Use local support
Did you know that every Local Authority area has a Third Sector Interface, which can give you advice about recruiting volunteers? Third Sector Interfaces also run community or recruitment events that you can take part in. You can find your local Third Sector Interface on the Voluntary Action Scotland website.
Talk to parents
Don’t forget to talk to parents about volunteering. However, it’s important to emphasise that we’re not always necessarily looking for a weekly commitment; helping out occasionally, role sharing or assisting at events are much-needed ways to volunteer too.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
Before you recruit volunteers, here are some of my thoughts on what to do and what not to do.
Do be confident about the way we talk about Scouting. Check out the Brand Centre for lots of great resources and guidance.
Do make sure that we listen to how potential volunteers want to help and match them with the most suitable role for their skills and interests.
Do highlight flexible volunteering opportunities.
Don’t expect a volunteer to immediately step up to become a Section Leader – give them time to progress.
Don’t undersell the commitment you expect from a volunteer – if you promise a role will take one hour a week, when in fact it will take longer, it could affect someone’s ability to stay in the role. Be honest about what is expected, and you are more likely to recruit the right person.
Don’t be disheartened if someone says that Scouting is not for them! There are lots of people out there who will volunteer with your group, district or region.
If you are looking for more advice, feel free to get in touch with me or speak to someone from the Scouts Scotland team.