Our County is getting recruitment ready

From unit health checks to a County conference: Lynne Scales, County Commissioner for Lancashire South East, and her team are running with our Recruitment Bootcamp

When we saw the Recruitment Bootcamp pop into our inbox a few months ago, we knew we had to get on it!

Like many Counties, we know we could improve how we find and keep our volunteers. At the moment we’re firefighting a lot – we don’t always have a lot of notice when someone decides they want to leave, so we’re trying to work on encouraging a longer-term view of volunteering. This also involves encouraging people to plan ahead for potential departures and line up a reserve team.

The other goals of our recruitment campaign are to:

  • help units to build relationships with their volunteers so they’re keen to stay with guiding
  • start making the best use of our new volunteers from the recruitment campaign straight away

Step 1: finding our team

First we put together our A-team for our County – who all have different skills to bring to the game – to get us started.

  • Andy, Chair of Media and Communications – he’s in charge of the PR efforts and making sure we’re all on brand
  • Michelle, Chair of Guiding Development – she’s making sure that we’re able to give the girls the best possible programme when they join too
  • Naomi, Chair of Growing Guiding - she brings all of her knowledge and experience of the work we’ve already done to lay the groundwork
  • Nicola, Chair of Adult Support - she’s focused on welcoming and training up our new volunteer
  • Lynne (Me), County Commissioner! I’ve got an overview of what everyone else is doing so I guess I could be called the team captain

Next we needed to work out what kinds of volunteers we needed by creating a mini health check form for each unit, so that each unit has thought about their needs and can take charge of recruiting the right volunteers to fill their gaps. Plus by keeping an eye on the health checks we’ll know where to match new joiners in autumn.

You can do something similar for your unit or area by using the ‘Our Plan’ resources

Get started: find your team

Get started: find your team

Get started: find your team

Step 2: our volunteer warm-up

We think our training calendar to support volunteers is in a pretty good shape! We have termly trainings for volunteers from all across the County, so we’ll make sure all our new volunteers are invited to one of those – and they’ll be able to meet each other too.

We also hold regular drop-in sessions at venues around the County where volunteers can meet with Mentors and get one-to-one advice in an informal setting. This helps make the most of our Mentors and means people know when they can come to us with questions.

We’ll be encouraging people to really get to know new volunteers, and think about what skills the volunteer can offer and what they want to gain from volunteering, rather than only thinking about what we need.

Step 3: taking it to the next level

This week, we had a gathering of members from all across our County, where we looked at growth across our whole area. It really helped to assess the position we’re in to start with, share the gaps we all have and think about how we can work together to fill these.

We also started sharing some ideas for how we might help to amplify the national volunteer recruitment campaign in our own area. We’re going to get out there with gazebos, displays and leaflets, but we also have units who’d prefer to use social media campaigns instead – so we’ve got a real mix of approaches based on different needs.

Shout out loud: how you can amplify the national campaign

Shout out loud: how you can amplify the national campaign 

Shout out loud: how you can amplify the national campaign

The next steps

We know we need to be ready for autumn - the national campaign’s going to attract more volunteers so we want to make sure we’re able to make the most of it!

Now we’ve laid the groundwork, we’re going to start thinking about how we might monitor our campaign, as well as thinking more about how we’re going to promote our recruitment efforts – so we’ll be looking out for more Bootcamp tips in the coming months!