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Whose responsibility is adult recruitment?

Prompted by a question raised on Escouts, Wayne takes the opportunity to expand upon the importance of adult recruitment and the need for us to build on what we already know, but to think a little differently too.

And the answer is...

The actual question posed by Richard on Escouts was fairly straight forward: 'Should District and County play a much bigger role in adult recruitment?' The answer, as he suggested is of course 'yes', but the same could also be applied to HQ.

The question raises another interesting point, the bottom line of which is that while we could continue to claim to be successful (adult recruitment after all is presently growing at over 3% per anum, significantly better than most other organisations), at this rate we will clearly not make any difference to our joining lists. 

Making a real difference

As Richard observes, we often cite the 6 Step Process as the key to success.  I truly believe that this continues to be the case. All of the evidence we have suggests that personal contact at the coalface, whether Group, District or any other level, remains the most successful means of recruitment. 

Clearly, however, we must be able to do something significantly different to create the right atmosphere and environment for such requests to be more favourably received. 

In some respects my blog of 6 June was along similar lines, explaining my search for 'the game changer'. You will be pleased to know that this is progressing.

So what’s the strategy?

Our recruitment and retention strategy, which has been at the very core of our actions for the past five years or more, has had a number of significant benefits already. Our general brand awareness, through appointments such as Bear and the Duchess of Cambridge, together with our successful external media work, has helped transform the image of Scouting for many people. 

Direct support for local Scouting is available through the brand centre, where you can prepare a number of tools for local use such as posters and signage for meeting places. Vacancy board templates are also available from the brand centre, allowing you to easily promote vacancies in your meeting places specific to your Group.

The new website's 'get involved' process is another step to make the local process more efficient and you can obtain some detailed information through the website

Scouting highlights

I appreciate that this is all very much built upon 'more of the same', so what are we doing to make a real difference?

Over the past year or so we have been undertaking a number of development projects and strategies, funded by the Development Grants Board (DGB) and others across the UK with the intention of collating the lessons learnt and sharing good practice. There are many examples of success across the UK but I believe a few are particularly worthy of highlighting. 

  • Our Greater Manchester initiative, funded by Youth United (HMG) and the DGB, is investing a total of £280,000 to support good local Scouting. Also, development staff overlaid an innovative integrated awareness campaign (advertising, promotional activity, digital and canvassing) that was successfully used to recruit 5,000 volunteer police officers in London.
  • In Speke, the DGB has 100% funded a Merseyside project using a Development Officer fully supported by the local District and a project board. The objective is to test alternative models, more suited to the local community. Initial feedback is great. A similar project funded by Youth United is underway in Bradford and we have already established Scouting in similar communities as well as rural areas.
  • Over the last three years a long-term project has been underway with five Districts. This has focused upon ensuring that there is an effective GSL in each Group. The project is drawing to a close, with the final RAG assessments being undertaken.
  • Early indications show that the project has made a substantial difference. Very few Districts now have GSL vacancies and the vast majority has grown at a rate above the national average. It is intended that work with a further eight Districts will start in April 2013. Nationally, we have increased coverage of GSLs significantly.
  • In Staffordshire, the Grow your Group project was created, which is a resource box for existing Groups. The box includes a wide range of support material including signage for HQ buildings, vacancy and photo boards and ‘train the recruiter’ and ‘engaging with parents’ resources.
  • In Avon and Devon, funding from a local company has enabled the employment of a Development Officer focused upon opening new sections and Groups. In the first six months of the project, seven new sections have been opened, including a new Explorer Scout Unit in a challenging area of Bristol.

The Greater Manchester Initiative is the ‘game changer’ I referred to in my previous blog and the one that possibly holds the greatest potential for significant impact in the way we recruit in the future. We will watch this with interest and roll out lessons learnt from each of these initiatives based on the evidence established.

This is rather longer answer to the initial question perhaps, but I know that there are many other successful projects locally also. It would be great to hear from those of you that have developed similar initiative locally to make the job of recruiting adults easier.