Welcoming and inducting volunteers
Helpful ideas to welcome and include a volunteer joining your local area
Make sure new members and volunteers feel at home from their first day
When we're in an unfamiliar situation, the welcome we get often helps us decide whether we want to stay or not. That's why giving a great welcome to new volunteers and supporters is so important.
Here are some ideas for how you can help new volunteers settle in.
Ways to give a warm welcome
Respond quickly - if you’re responsible for getting in touch with new volunteers, when someone enquires show they're welcome as soon as possible by sending a short email or calling within seven days. It could just be a quick message introducing yourself, the opportunities available in your area and promising to get back in touch.
Use and adapt these template emails and phone prompts to help get back to enquiries.
Or here’s some text you could email to anyone interested:
Thanks so much for your interest in joining Girlguiding as a volunteer! We rely on amazing people just like you to bring fun and excitement to over 400,000 girls and young women
It’s fantastic to hear from you. We’ll be in touch really soon to learn more about what you’d be interested in helping out with – whether that’s working with girls in one of our units or supporting us in an admin or managerial role. You can find out more about some of the more flexible roles available in our fab video.
In the meantime, take a look at our welcome video to find out more about what guiding’s all about. And we’ll be in touch soon!
Once you’ve made initial contact, remember to mark them as ‘contacted’ on GO. If an enquiry is left uncontacted then GO will send you regular reminders that they’re still waiting. If you need extra support to manage enquiries, speak to you commissioner.
You can also send out welcome packs to new volunteers including a personalised letter, Girlguiding’s ‘Volunteer with us’ leaflet or a local newsletter.
Have an informal chat - Commissioners could try to meet up with them before placing them in a role, in a community venue like a cafe or library. Talk about the time they're willing to give, their skills and what support they think they'll need. Remember to explain who we are at Girlguiding and what we do. If you have several potential volunteers try running a larger welcome event to bring them together. Use our induction materials below to make sure they have all the information they need.
Do all the introductions - on their first day, take the lead as a unit leader or commissioner and make sure they're introduced to everyone. In some areas, there are members who go along with potential volunteers to units to help them feel welcome, so if you have these members in your area they could help a new potential volunteer feel less nervous.
Plan something fun for their first meeting – our favourite idea so far is human hungry hippos! Use the Activity Finder for inspiration.
Appoint a buddy - everyone is responsible for welcoming new volunteers, but as a commissioner, think about appointing a buddy, who can provide a named support to answer questions, explain how things work, make introductions and suggest opportunities for skills development within guiding. This could be someone in the same unit as the new volunteer or in the same section or a similar role within the district or division.
Involve them from the start - Unit leaders can give new volunteers specific responsibilities and tasks so that they feel confident about their contribution to the unit. Invite them to unit planning meetings and district meetings. Encourage them to bring along ideas and involve them in decision making.
It is never too early to recognise the contribution that a volunteer makes. Read our ideas for thanking your volunteers.
Plan catch ups - Commissioners can keep in touch during a new volunteer’s first year to find out how things are going, and unit leaders can check in to see how things are going and what opportunities or tasks your new recruit is interested in. Try identifying ways they can learn new skills and deliver a great programme.
New ways to welcome volunteers
Make sure your new volunteers get a warm guiding welcome - we've created some resources and fun films you can use to make sure new volunteers have all the information they need to get started!
Make your welcome even better
A warm welcome and induction makes a huge difference to keeping volunteers involved. To find out what else you could do in your unit, ask new volunteers how they felt when they started. It's also important to ask volunteers who are leaving why they're moving on. This will help you develop new ways to welcome, place and induct volunteers.