Getting a bunch of adults in a room and talking to them about the fun we have at Scouts, can be all you need to do to get them signed up for a life-time of activity planning and marshmallow roasting.
When should I do it?
How about after a weekly session, at an open evening or taster event, at family camps or Group get-togethers? In fact, you could do it anywhere where you have a gathering of people who might be persuaded to volunteer.
Invite the adults via letter, email, text, phone – any way that gets the message across. The talk should be under an hour, any longer and people are bound to get restless and lose interest. It’s important not to get into the details of volunteer training, appointments etc. - you just want to give them an overview at this stage. Have a look at this session plan.
There’s also a presentation which is helpful if you’re starting a new section or Group.
Some people can’t commit to weekly volunteering, so make sure you think of ways you can get those people involved too. It takes a team of people to lead – not everyone has to be there every week.
Remember, talk to them about:
- flexible volunteering – you’re only asking for help not uniformed leaders, unless of course, they want to be one!
- how they can become part of the team - leadership roles, the executive committee or helping out with tasks every now and then
- the amount of time needed to be a volunteer
- doing tasks not titles or roles.
- Some young people in your Group might be in care or looked after by extended family so think about the language you use – talk about ‘adults’ rather than ‘parents’.
- Be ready to deal with negative concerns from adults and bring the focus back to the positive benefits of volunteering.
- Don’t worry about how many people turn up – it’s about quality not quantity.
- Don’t forget, you’re looking for people to do tasks that fit within their skillset, not to take on specific roles.
- Always follow up, people forget things pretty quickly so it’s worth giving them a call afterwards.