Choose your challenge to help us keep members

Whether you have five minutes, one hour or a whole day, you can make a huge difference

Fliss Callanan, Deptury Lead Volunteer for Membership Growth and Retention
12 Oct 2016

Despite brilliant recruitment initiatives by our members across the UK, we're not growing our numbers

For every 100 girls and volunteers we welcome, 100 different ones are leaving us. We want to put a stop to this, but we need your help! 

Deputy Lead Volunteer for Membership Growth and Retention Fliss Callanan shares her top tips for keeping volunteers and preventing girls from leaving at key transition points. 

Keep volunteers in guiding

If you’ve got five minutes

Say thank you to another volunteer by sending a text that says what they did to help and how grateful you are to them.

Fliss says ‘I was having a really bad day - I couldn’t print the forms I needed and half of my guides didn’t turn up anyway because something was on at school. When I got home there was a Volunteers’ Week Thank You postcard from Girlguiding Midlands on the doormat. Just knowing that someone had taken the time to thank me for what I was doing made a huge difference to that bad day!’

Get more ideas for saying thank you that are tried and tested by members.

If you’ve got one hour

Make sure you give the right support and training to volunteers in your leadership team by getting to know our new role descriptions.

Fliss says, ‘At a recent training in my County, it was clear that sometimes our volunteers don’t know their responsibilities and they were feeling a bit overwhelmed by the pressures of running a unit! The role descriptions let volunteers know exactly what they’re signing up for and who is there to help – as well as making it easier to job share roles, by being able to divide up responsibilities.’

You can also use the role descriptions to make sure that everyone – including you – is in the right role.

If you’ve got one day

Organise a fun and friendly outing for volunteers in your district or division to help build relationships within the team.

Fliss says, ‘Our unit team have a Facebook chat thread to make it quick and easy to communicate – and we use it for fun things too, like arranging to go out for a curry or for afternoon tea!’

Keep girls in guiding

If you’ve got five minutes

Find out what’s coming next for older girls in your unit by getting in touch with the Leader of the next section and inviting them for a chat over coffee.

Fliss says, ‘Ask the Leader about plans for the next term and any special events or activities that they have planned. Maybe they could invite older girls from the previous section to a special event or give a copy of their programme to the new girls and parents so they can see the exciting things coming up!’

If you’ve got one hour

Take some time to think about the programme you’re offering to girls. Read (or re-read!) Good Guiding Is…and our website section on ‘Planning your programme’for advice on how to make things even more fulfilling and exciting.

Fliss says, ‘Always ask yourself what you can do to make your programme better. We decided to focus on providing more residential opportunities last time we looked. Ask the girls to help you with what could make guiding an even better experience for them too.’

Try evaluation and participation activities with girls to find out what they think about their programme too.

If you’ve got one day

Make moving up to the next section less scary for girls by organising for a group from the next section to speak at your unit. You could take some of your girls to the section below too!

Fliss says, ‘Make transitions easier for the girls by planning a taster visit, having girls from the next section visit your meeting or alternating meetings between the two sections. They see some familiar faces at their first meeting and have something to talk about together!’

Lauren, Guide, 13, went to a Welcome to The Senior Section Taster Weekend. She says, ‘I enjoyed meeting new people, exploring The Senior Section and trying it out. I learnt that Senior Section gives you a sense of responsibility and independence. A lot more than I thought.’