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Adult retention

Follow these top tips to keep your adult volunteers and retain the valuable skills and experiences that they bring to Scouting.

Welcome and induction
Welcoming volunteers to their new role is essential and a friendly induction should not only ensure that the new recruit understands their role and the support available to them, but also how the Movement works and who can help them. Consider appointing a buddy to show them the ropes and introduce them to the wider team.

Involvement and feeling part of the team
Make sure your new volunteer gets fully involved as soon as possible, so that they feel part of the team and that their contribution is making a difference. Check that they don’t feel out of their depth and that they are enjoying the interaction with both the young people and the other members of the team.

Training, learning and meeting needs
Most appointments come with learning opportunities, both formal and informal. Where training is a role requirement, ‘talk up’ the advantages of getting trained and see that a competent Training Adviser is on hand to validate any training.

Setting goals
Many people respond well to being set a realistic challenge. This will vary from individual to individual but don’t underestimate the positive impact that a ‘common cause’ will have on getting everyone to pull together to achieve results.

Information and communication
Most people like to feel informed and up-to-date. How this is best achieved will vary with the role and the individual, but good communication is part of the culture of an effective team.

Appreciation and feeling valued
It’s important to value those that give freely of their time. This can range from a simple ‘thank you’ or remembering a birthday, to other more imaginative events and presentations. Don’t forget The Scout Association’s own awards scheme.

Make sure volunteers have the tools and the necessary support structure to carry out their role effectively. Show them the relevant resources that are available including those online. Ensure any out of pocket expenses are reimbursed promptly.

Support and reviews
Find time to meet one-to-one with all your team at least once a year. It’s your chance to check they are still in the right role and still enthusiastic. It’s a good opportunity to hear their take on the local situation and an ideal time to set some new goals and say ‘thank you’.

The volunteer experience
Those that play together, stay together. Everyone likes having a social life and people enjoy opportunities to have fun together, away from their role. This could vary from a meal together to a residential event.

Keeping in touch
If people do leave, keep in touch. Send them a regular update, invite them to special events. They may well remember just how much they enjoyed it and come back!


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Charity Numbers 306101 (England and Wales) and SC038437 (Scotland).
Registered address: The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, Chingford, London, England E4 7QW