Recruitment is not just a day or a season; it is always ongoing. Recruitment must be something we spend time on all year round and not redirect our focus from. This is why recruitment is an “all hands on deck” activity.
To help you be successful in your recruiting efforts this year, we have put together some helpful tips, essential resources, and possible ideas. You can also reach out to our Vice-chair of Membership, Bridget Koller, at firstname.lastname@example.org and our District Executive, Tyler Roman, at email@example.com for supplies, assistance, and support.
There are tons of resources out there to ease recruitment.
Yard Signs: Yard signs are one of the easiest, passive ways to recruit Scouts. All you have to do is gather signs at the York Service Center, add your information, and post them around your community. You can post them around your meeting location, school pick-up line, busy intersections, and much more. The goal is to be as visible as possible.
Posters: Community boards are all around our neighborhoods between township buildings, shopping centers, and parks. Posters are another great way to get the word out with little energy; it’s another leave it and forget it recruitment method. Posters can also be picked up at the York Service Center.
Flyers: Putting something in someone’s hands increases the chances of action on their part. Flyers can direct someone to a sign-up night, a meeting, or an upcoming pack activity. They make for the perfect handout at a table or another passive promotion in school. Contact Tyler Roman, District Executive, at firstname.lastname@example.org to get flyers printed.
Webinars: The New Birth of Freedom Council Membership Committee has been working tirelessly over the past few months to provide quality webinars to ensure your recruitment success. Recordings and copies of the slide deck from these webinars can be found at https://newbirthoffreedom.org/2022/08/25/all-hands-on-deck-membership-kickoff/.
BSA Brand Center: The hard work of preparing marketing materials have already been taken care of for you. This year’s marketing campaign is #adventureon! Resources provided by our National Office can be found at https://scouting.webdamdb.com/bp/#/folder/10377141/, including peer-to-peer cards, posters, photos, and more.
Our digital recruitment and outreach are just as important as our physical, in-person recruitment. Our core marketing audience, young adults with young children, are predominantly engaged on social media. Using your pack’s social media platforms expands your outreach to more significant boundaries. You can be as simple or elaborate as you want.
Updating your cover image with one from the BSA Brand Center is a great start. This helps give you a fresh look while providing families with the direct link to beascout.org. You can use the provided photos or your own, combined with the supplied captions, to begin regular outreach to your followers and the local community. The provided captions also recommend hashtags to expand your outreach better.
Posting a pack sign-up night or upcoming activity as an event on Facebook is an easy way to let your pack families know what is going on and let those in your local community know you are active and ready for them to join. This also gives your Scouting families something easy to share on their social media feeds.
Sign-up nights are one of our most traditional recruitment types. Sign-up nights make it easy to bring prospective families together with current Scouting families to see what it is all about and to get them registered. These nights are just as much about recruiting Scouts as it is about recruiting parents. After all, these new dens will need Den Leaders, adult support, and made a meeting location.
Our Council Membership Committee has put together a great resource that walks you through the sign-up night, keys to success, sample ideas, and how to prepare for the night. The guide can be found at https://newbirthoffreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/2022-New-Birth-of-Freedom-Council-All-Hands-on-Deck-Unit-Guide.pdf.
A video has also been published by the Boy Scouts of America on recruiting nights at https://vimeo.com/742755068. This video compliments the guide well and might give you some additional ideas.
In addition to a sign-up night, you might want to do a bring-a-friend event later in the fall. This could be an already scheduled activity or something unique the pack plans to bring everyone together and show what Scouting is all about. A peer-to-peer card is a simple way for your Scouts to share the word with their friends (and their parents) about something upcoming. Fillable cards can be found at https://scouting.webdamdb.com/bp/#/folder/10681632/.
Recruiter Patch: Scouts love getting patches. A sometimes forgotten patch, but maybe one of the most important is the recruiter strip. The patch only has one recruitment! Recruit a friend into Scouting. This can be tied to your fall recruitment or Bring-a-Friend event and is a cool patch to present to Scouts. On Scouting has a great article about the patch and making a friend invite at https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/03/06/most-important-patch/.
Following Up on Leads
Prospective Scouts and their families come to us from multiple directions. You might meet them at your sign-up night, get an email via beascout.org, or receive a comment on one of your social media posts. Following up with these leads is critical to engaging new families and finishing “the sell” in getting them registered in Scouting.
When meeting families in person, gather their contact information and provide your own. Doing so gives them direct contact to ask questions and prepare for joining the pack, but this also gives you information to follow up with if you do not hear from them. Following up on quiet leads is vital to assist families and draw them in.
Checking your beascout.org portal regularly is also essential. As mentioned above, many of our community’s families are increasingly engaged in the digital realm. They can look up packs, reach out to you, and learn more about Scouting from the comfort of their home on one of their many devices. Checking up on these leads is critical to engaging prospective families and ensuring their desire to join Scouting does not go unanswered.
Like beascout.org, social media comments and messages are essential to check regularly. Set up a notification if you have not done so already. Facebook may be the only place they have seen you and the only place they know how to find you, so do not let the technology go to waste.
Welcoming New Families
It is critical to ensure families feel welcomed and supported when they enter the pack. Start off on the right foot by preparing the necessary materials for new families, having fun programs planned, and spending just as much energy on the parents/guardians as you do with the kids. A great video about welcoming new families can be found at https://vimeo.com/741988928.
New Scout Packets: New Scout Packets are a great source of information to warm up your new Scouts and their families to the Scouting program. These packets can be picked up at the York Service Center and contain helpful resources like applications, popcorn and nuts packets, Scout Shop discounts, and introductory information. Packets can be handed out to Scouts and their families when they begin the registration process or when they come to their first meeting.
Popcorn and Nuts Sale: It does not hurt to start new Scouts immediately. Currently, a great way to get new families involved and help them earn their way in Scouting is to get them started with your Popcorn and Nuts Sale. They do not need to go all in immediately, but starting them off with their popcorn and nuts packet is a great start.
Recruitment doesn’t stop after our core recruitment season at the start of the school year; recruitment should always be happening. There are plenty of opportunities through the fall, winter, and spring to continue to welcome in new Scouts and their families.
Bring-a-Friend: As mentioned above, Bring-a-Friend events can be very successful. Scouts want to do things with their friends and people they know. This natural desire makes it easy for them to invite a classmate, neighborhood friend, or teammate from sports to join them at a meeting or Scouting activity to see what it is all about. Using the peer-to-peer cards referenced above, Scouts can pass these out for specific times in your pack calendar that best lead to fun and adventure.
Fairs/Carnivals: Our communities hold numerous fairs and carnivals in the fall and Spring or May Days in the spring. Try looking for events going on in your local area to see where you might be able to get a table set up. A table, some flyers/promotional materials, and a fun activity are great ways to simultaneously assist the carnival/fair and recruit.
Halloween: Halloween is another great passive recruitment avenue. Between neighborhood Trick-or-Treats and local Trunk-or-Treats, this is a great way to pass out some informational cards with candy to recruit Scouts and have a Scouting presence.