Your recruiting today determines the health of your unit tomorrow.
- Based on: Recruit Youth Members and Orient Parents
While recruiting should happen every day, your spring recruiting is the most important. By joining in the spring, new Scouts will be able to go to Camp this year. Your summertime calendar is packed full of trips, events, and camping. The spring roundup invariably is when you will also find some of your best new leaders.
Your fall recruiting event is important too. This is when you get another chance to recruit the ones you missed in the spring.
It is your program and your upcoming calendar that will sell them on Scouting. Make sure that your calendar is planned months or ideally a year in advance and stocked full of great events. Make sure to include all of the council and district events you can. Prepare a simplified, one-page calendar for recruiting. The most important sales flier you have is your busy calendar.
Your other tool will be a good recruiting flier. Your district executive can provide the recruitment fliers and posters.
Don't forget how flexible we are. If they miss a sports practice, they may not be able to play in the game. One of the best things about Scouting is how flexible we are. You can miss meetings or even a season and still be welcome in Scouts.
Find Your Prospect
A prospect will rarely find you. You have to be pro-active and invite them, often several times.
- The first group to invite are the friends of your existing Scouts. Ask each Scout to invite at least two friends and their families to the orientation meeting. Referrals are your best prospects. If his buddies join, your existing Scout is more likely to stay in too. Especially for younger Scouts, show them the Recruiter Strip they can earn.
- Also ask your chartered organization to take your fliers to youth that they know. Have your Scouts go to their meeting and show your charter organization all that you will be doing. Make sure to include your community service.
- Ask your committee to each take recruiting fliers to their other organizations including: PTO, Religious Organizations, Sunday Schools, confirmation classes, sports teams, Lions Clubs, Rotary, etc.
- Articles in your local paper about activities can be a great sales tool. A paper may let you include details of you upcoming orientation at the end of the article.
- Finally, youth from the community can sometimes be reached by announcements through area schools. Your district executive should have contacts with school administrators.
Promoting the Orientation
Attendance at the orientation meeting is very important. Don't call the meeting a "Sign-up" as this can scare off new prospects. Don't use jargon like "Roundup" as this too will scare off prospects. Call it an "Orientation".
Some ideas for promoting the orientation include:
- Your district will help you with Informational flayers. You have to have something to send home.
- Ask each Scout to give fliers to two friends and their families to the orientation meeting.
- Have Boy Talks in the schools on the day of the meeting, school open houses, and posters in schools.
- Your District has Radio & TV Public Service Announcements you can use.
- Call your list of prospects who have not joined in the past.
- Promote the orientation at area churches, playgrounds, and parks
Use your resources and brainstorm other ideas.
Conducting the Orientation
Hold the sign-up at the location where the unit will meet or at their school. Make it a brief, upbeat, and well-planned rally. The group presentation should take no more than a few minutes. Don't talk about the past.
As they come in, pass out applications, fliers, and your calendar. Ask everyone to fill out the forms. Have plenty of pens.
- Have them sign a sheet with Name & Phone information for everyone who attends.
- Don't be talking in a click among yourselves. Have a leader walk each prospect to a table and help them.
Open the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and very BRIEF remarks.
- Introduce your leaders.
- Let the Scouts tell about what they have coming up on their calendars: trips, camping, Summer Camp, etc.
- End the group meeting in a few minutes.
Unit leaders now fan out to meet with families one-on-one to answer questions.
- Register new youth members. Explain what they need to know one-on-one. Don't overwhelm them. "Do you have any questions?"
- Have unit t-shirts available as a gift or at a small cost. If they leave in your t-shirt, they will come back.
- Scouts with involved parents stay in Scouts. As you meet one-on-one with families, you need to recruit adults to at least help.
- Provide light refreshments such as punch and granola bars.
- Announce the unit's next meeting date. Better still have an orientation event already scheduled.
Make follow-up calls:
- Call everyone who signed up to again welcome them and confirm information.
- Call everyone who did not sign up in a few days and see if they have any questions. If they are not ready can you call them again in a week?
- Call your prospects again in a week. People often need to be asked several times.
- Call prospect again just before your next orientation. The ones you missed last time are the best prospects next time.
In the case of Venturing-age youth
- Have each youth complete the Venturing Activity Interest Survey.
- Brainstorm with youth their ideas that might not be on the survey.
- Review the potential for crew program based on the Program Capability Inventory and the chartered organization.