I’m Emily, a Growth and Development Worker for Girlguiding Scotland. I’ve been working with volunteers across the country over the past year to get girls off waiting lists and into places. One way that I’ve been doing this is through volunteer recruitment events.
Last September, myself and volunteers from West Lothian ran a recruitment stall at the West Lothian College Fresher’s Fair. We had been planning recruitment for the county, and initially thought of the Fresher’s Fair as a great way to reach a wide range of people. We also chose this to specifically reach people on childcare courses, as we can offer experience with children, often needed for these courses.
I contacted the college through the Fresher’s Fair page on their website. However, there are other ways to get in touch with your local college or university about this. Look out for adverts; colleges and universities will start to advertise their Fresher’s events in August and September for groups to book stalls at. You can also get in touch with the student union, you might be able to find a direct contact for Fresher’s events on their website, but if not, the student union can put you in contact with the right person.
For us, the college provided tables, so we took equipment to decorate it and the surrounding area. We took:
- A pop up banner.
- Girlguiding branded tablecloths.
- A decorated display board with badges, programme materials, and quotes from volunteers.
- A paper campfire and marshmallows as a freebie and activity to get people talking.
- Our recruitment resources such as “overcoming common barriers to volunteering” and “guiding on your CV” to answer questions that students may have about time commitment and skill development.
- Plenty of flyers to giveaway!
We also had access to tablets. Having a tablet or mobile phone connected to the internet is a great way to get potential volunteers to sign up then and there. We explained that by registering their interest, they hadn’t committed to anything more than a chat with a local commissioner to learn more and see if becoming a volunteer is right for them. Most people who came to talk to us did take leaflets with them, but we managed to get 3 people to sign up on the spot. It was very motivational for us to have those instant enquiries!
Our top tips for recruiting students:
- Ask them about any previous experience they had with Girlguiding. We found that a lot of the students had been Brownies or Guides themselves, but didn’t know Girlguiding was still going strong, or that there would be a role for them.
- Highlight the opportunities that adult members can take part in like Inspire, and international opportunities with WAGGGS. This can encourage students to learn more about volunteering with us.
- Have engaging displays and an enthusiastic team to highlight how much fun it is to be a leader!
If you have a college or university nearby, consider attending their Fresher’s Fair or other events for recruiting students. It can become such a mutually beneficial relationship, as they volunteer to get girls into guiding, and we can offer experience with children, wider opportunities, and a community for those who may be away from home.