Berkshire Scouts provide an adult recruitment workshop. If you would like to book a workshop please ask your District Commissioner to contact: Volunteer Development Officer (VDO)
This page is intended to supplement the adult recruitment workshop and contains links that, we hope, will prove useful in recruiting more adults into Scouting.
The key stages in adult recruitment are:
- Getting your Group ready
- Engaging parents
- Having the conversation
1. Getting your Group ready
Ensuring your Group is ready for recruiting new volunteers is an important first step in the process.
Do you know which tasks need doing and what skills are missing from your team?
This is a helpful process to target tasks to the right people and be able to present a simple ways for people to get involved that are not necessarily time consuming.
Is the Group open and inviting for volunteers?
If a section and its leaders are welcoming, friendly and regularly involve parents then it is likely word will spread and people will feel comfortable helping out or even offering their time regularly.
What happens in your group when someone volunteers?
Who receives and deals with the request, what are the next steps and how are they inducted and welcomed to the Group? Who mentors them? Keen volunteers may not stay if they feel unsupported or underutilised and out of their depth so it is a good idea to get these processes in place before starting recruitment. Looking at the volunteer journey is helpful in understanding the steps:
2. Engaging parents and potential volunteers
Do you have a social media presence?
Social media is an excellent tool to promote awareness and keep connected but there can sometimes be confusion regarding what can and can’t be posted. The Scout Association has provided clear guidance and advice on how you can use Social Media sites to your advantage.
See also the Berkshire Scouts webpage on social media.
Shout about the great work you do!
Use the Brand Centre to find and create posters, invites, flyers etc. You don’t have to buy them, you can download and print at home. Display these in your Scout headquarters, but remember to update them every now and again. Put them up in local supermarkets, doctor’s surgeries, bus stops, shopping malls, etc. The Brand Centre, also offers excellent guidance. These are the current Scout Brand Guidelines.
Contact local newspapers, magazines, parish newsletters, etc, when you have a good news story or exciting event. They always need content and may well be willing to support/feature it.
Attend local events, offer to have a fundraising or activity stall (you may even make some money!). You may not get a lot of recruits this way but you are raising the awareness of Scouting and you never know!
Advertise to a wider audience
Many volunteer websites offer useful information in addition to advertising roles. If you feel advertising on a volunteer website would be effective for you then please discuss priority vacancies with your District Commissioner (DC) for them to feedback to the Volunteer Development Officer (VDO).
Getting parents through the door
Have an open door policy, invite parents in at the end of the session to see what goes on, it may just demystify Scouting! Make time for someone to chat to parents at the beginning and end of each meeting. Have a ‘Bring a Parent’ evening so that the parents can really see what happens at a Meeting, make sure you include lots of games and hands on activities.
Have a parent rota and make sure that every parent is introduced and feels welcomed. Give them something engaging and fun to do, rather than just the washing up!
Offer The Four Week Challenge to parents, other family members and friends. This is a good way to persuade people involved as it gives them an opt-out if they decide it is not for them. You can find posters on
Invite parents on visits and excursions, larger adult numbers are always welcome when travelling away from the Scout headquarters. Invite parents to family camps, camping is fun! Give parents specific jobs to do eg: camp photographer, cook, first aider, shopping, water collecting, woodpile management if they do not yet feel confident engaging directly with young people.
3. Having the conversation
A great starting point for asking someone to volunteer is to understand why some people volunteer and why others don’t.
It means you can try and position your ask to promote tasks, a time commitment and benefit that is specific to them, that will attract them to have to go, eg:
- to make new friends and have a sense of belonging;
- to increase experience to help get a job;
- build self-confidence;
- to learn new skills or meet a new challenge;
- to make a difference and give back to their community
– or they may just want to have fun!
Equally, some people don’t volunteer because they fear that they don’t have the required skills or knowledge, they worry it may be costly or time consuming, or they just have never been directly asked.
Take a minute to look at our Volunteer Stories page. You’ll find short videos of volunteers talking about specific aspects of volunteering. These can be very useful to show to potential volunteers who perhaps have a particular concern and need reassurance.
Who should ask?
Ideally, the person who does the asking should be a friend or know the person well. They are more likely to say ‘yes’ to a friend rather than a stranger, and will feel more comfortable discussing the options. If this is not possible, then aim to build a friendly relationship before making the ask. This means that you should understand a little more about their possible motivations, time commitments, reservations and which benefits of Scouting would be relevant to them.
Invite them to have a conversation when there aren’t too many distractions. Let them know why but don’t go into the details about the role/ tasks, etc. At the meeting let them know what is involved with volunteering. Talk about tasks rather than roles (roles can often be off-putting until you know what is actually involved). Let them know why you chose to ask them to do it – their skills, background, experience etc! Talk through the benefits – what’s in it for them!
Don’t forget to promote the training scheme and support structure for volunteers. Scouts and employability is an extremely useful guide that helps translate adult volunteering experience into CV language and skills. This is a really good tool to show people how volunteering can directly benefit them and improve their prospects.
Get Ahead – Scouting and employability is an equivalent document for young people too.
If you are looking to recruit more students then take a look at this blog article from The Scout Association: Top Tips for Recruiting Students.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask them directly!
Remember to be flexible and willing to discuss and alter the role description/tasks to fit them, their time and what they want to do. You need to strike a balance between selling a really positive image of Scouting, and ‘over-selling’, and sounding desperate!
Remember you can find all kinds of resources at:
The Scout Association website.