We changed how we welcome volunteers

Development Worker Lynne tells about a great event that welcomed new volunteers into guiding in North West London

As a result of the event, we opened a new Rainbow unit - set up by three volunteers who became friends at the welcome event - and filled some of the vacancies in the area too.

Thanks to a very successful recruitment drive involving posters, recruitment stands and online adverts, we had a large number of prospective volunteers. But the question was: how do we welcome them all into guiding? Rather than have a Commissioner meeting with each prospective volunteer individually, we decided to work with local volunteers to arrange a welcome event.

Planning the event

We secured a free community venue and put together a programme that we felt would introduce people to the fun of guiding, and inform them about local volunteering opportunities. We then sent out invites to all our potential volunteers on Join Us, as well as advertising through our local volunteer centre, council, colleges, Twitter, coffee shop noticeboards and websites such as Gumtree, Indeed and Eventbrite.

How the day went

Nearly 20 people registered to attend and 12 people turned up. Many of our prospective volunteers (and helpers) were coming straight from work so we kick started our event with a buffet meal. Current volunteers introduced themselves and chatted to each new arrival to make them feel welcome. We had a recruitment stall with information leaflets as well as lots of lovely pictures and volunteer case studies.

The Commissioner welcomed everyone and gave a little introduction to guiding, after which we showed one of Girlguiding’s promotional videos. This was followed by a team role model quiz as an icebreaker, some speed dating between current and prospective volunteers, a game introducing the range of different roles in guiding, and Leaders explaining about the different sections. The Leaders also talked about an adventurous activity they had done with girls, and the impact they felt they had on the lives of the girls they volunteered with.

Telling people about volunteer roles

We outlined some of the main volunteer role vacancies we were trying to fill and talked about the need to find Leaders to open a new unit. Most of the volunteers signed up to visit a local unit the following week, and we sent everyone away with a little thank you and information bag.

A lasting impact

As a result of the event, we opened a new Rainbow unit - set up by three volunteers who became friends at the welcome event - and filled some of the vacancies in the area too.

Welcoming new volunteers

A friendly and informative welcome is key to getting the best out of your volunteers.