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howto District Membership Chair ?


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#1 ddubois

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 11:42 AM

First, let me quote myself from another post, to give some background:

 

For the record, all my efforts as membership chair were entirely unsuccessful.  :o    I passed out several hundred fliers at 3 different middle schools during their open house.  I called and emailed reaching out to three different Packs (with no preexisting proscribed feeding-to-Troop) to attempt to establish a relationship and offer the Troops' services to to their Pack.  I met with District Key 3.  I passed out fliers during fundraising efforts.  I went to an after-school program and gave a speech and threw out candy.  We tried to get our Charter Organization to start a new Pack.  During my tenure with the Troop, we got zero boys to join, except one sibling who turned 11, and now I'm yoinking my two boys, as we are moving north 2 hours.  I'm pretty distraught because with two boys aging out soon, this Troop, that has existed for 80+ years, will be down to 6 boys and this risk losing their charter soon.   :(

 

I now I am volunteering for the vacant District Membership Chair position at my destination!  I hope I can be more effective this time.   :unsure:

 

So, that said, please advice what I can do to be the most effective Membership Chair I can be?  What has worked for you?  What do you prioritize?  How do you get schools to let you "in", so you sell the program to the kids directly? Specifically, I like actionable items I can tick off and say I've done, or a work product I can demonstrate I have.  I would say most of the information I have found in my google searches are either vague job descriptions, or at a bird's eye view level of detail.

 

I do have the Membership Committee Guide: http://www.scouting....r/pdf/33080.pdf

and the Marketing and Membership Hub:  http://scoutingwire....membership-hub/

and I'm going through that slowly; there's a lot to read there.

 

YIS,

-Dan


Edited by ddubois, 06 April 2017 - 11:44 AM.

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#2 Col. Flagg

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 11:58 AM

In my areas the school district leaves how recruiting for such things can be done up to the principal. One school will allow table tops during back to school night. Another will only allow the kids to hand out fliers after school on select days.

 

Where we are, recruiting works best in elementary school. Forget middle or high school as it is never worth the effort.

 

Successful units will go beyond the whole "feeder" school/unit concept and branch out to a broader model.

 

What works in my area simply won't work in other cities or in rural areas.

 

There's no substitute for knowing the needs of your market and understanding how to plug Scouting in to that need.


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#3 qwazse

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 12:37 PM

The following may amount to a lot of work for a small yield, but if your district has any Crews, they may benefit:

  • Venturing has this Activity Interest Survey that is supposed to be circulated among high-school youth.
  • You might want to contact your crew advisors. Find out the nearby high schools. Ask if they'd like help surveying them.
  • Set up and run the survey (maybe a crew officer can assist).
  • Give the crews the forms with a challenge to follow-up.

Your in a new district and it takes a lot of work to get to know everyone, so frequent the round tables. Find out what your most active scouters are doing. Figure out who needs help, which doors haven't been knocked on for a while, etc ....

 

I'm afraid to say very little of this is boiler-plate.


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#4 Stosh

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 01:23 PM

When I was working part-time for a council, my primary duty was to help kick off the new and improved Exploring program.  Surveys were conducted in all the high schools of the council and through the work of volunteer businesses, these were entered into a database by interests.  The interest areas were then compiled by geographic areas and CO's were sought out in those interest areas in the geographic areas and mailings went out to the youth in the respective neighborhoods.  In one year's time, I was able to start 42 new Exploring posts some of which are still operational under the now revamped Learning for Life program and skimmed off Explorer general interest posts into the Venturing program.

 

It was a lot of work, but if one wishes to invest the time and talent, one can substantially increase the program with such efforts.  That year my numbers put that council at 147% of quota and more than covered the quotas of both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

 

One of the local high schools in our council does something similar with interest gathering so as to bring in guest speakers to talk to their students about such things as Law Enforcement, Medical, Engineering, Aviation, etc. as career choices.  I know how it worked because the same process I learned 40 years ago, I applied for that school's career program.  Data like that is invaluable to both the schools and to scouting if they cooperate on the project.  With today's technology, it's really not as hard as it was 40 years go.


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#5 David CO

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 02:07 PM

First, let me quote myself from another post, to give some background:

 

 

So, that said, please advice what I can do to be the most effective Membership Chair I can be?  What has worked for you?  What do you prioritize?  How do you get schools to let you "in", so you sell the program to the kids directly? Specifically, I like actionable items I can tick off and say I've done, or a work product I can demonstrate I have.  I would say most of the information I have found in my google searches are either vague job descriptions, or at a bird's eye view level of detail.

 

I do have the Membership Committee Guide: http://www.scouting....r/pdf/33080.pdf

and the Marketing and Membership Hub:  http://scoutingwire....membership-hub/

and I'm going through that slowly; there's a lot to read there.

 

YIS,

-Dan

 

Dan,

 

There is no way that I would allow you "in" my school to sell the program directly to the kids.  It simply wouldn't happen.  Don't take it personally.  You are just asking for something that my school would never allow.

 

To be effective, you need to learn the difference between what is actually possible and what is just beating your head against a wall.


Edited by David CO, 06 April 2017 - 02:17 PM.

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#6 blw2

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 02:23 PM

I'll preface by saying that I personally have no idea what I would do differently, except to encourage the troop(s) to embrace the "disorganization" of letting the scouts OWN THEIR TROOP.

   with the goal of encouraging them to run a program that the scouts themselves enjoy.

        if they don't enjoy it, why would they invite their friends?

that being the only recruiting tool that makes sense to me personally..... scouts inviting other scouts (and to a lesser degree happy parents inviting other parents)

Even though I couldn't figure out a way to really implement it well back then, I've had a gut feel about this idea for a long time, dating back to my days as CM and ACM in the pack....

 

and recently, I really liked what Clarke Green had to say on this topic of recruiting

http://scoutmastercg...ruiting-scouts/


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#7 blw2

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 02:27 PM

oh, one more comment about school visits...

back when i was CM, my best recruiting year was when the Field Director was filling in for the vacant DE position, and visited our CO's school for a recruiting drive. He was a really nice guy as I recall, and I guess he had good energy that day

and seemed to imply to the young would-be cub scouts that they could shoot BB guns all the time, and they even got to camp in the local NFL stadium or minor league baseball stadium and watch movies on the jumbotron.

Had a lot of scouts join..... then drop not too much later when they discovered that we don't do that stuff every week....or even every month......or even every year......


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#8 Col. Flagg

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 02:33 PM

Had a lot of scouts join..... then drop not too much later when they discovered that we don't do that stuff every week....or even every month......or even every year......

 

Good thing they didn't read the GTSS and see what else they aren't allowed to do. Squirt guns? Water balloons?


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#9 Stosh

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 02:52 PM

If one is going to be making promises, they had better Be Prepared to be Trustworthy.


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There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#10 MattR

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 03:52 PM

and recently, I really liked what Clarke Green had to say on this topic of recruiting

http://scoutmastercg...ruiting-scouts/

In a nutshell, to save you 10 minutes, what the guy said was ask your scouts and the parents of your scouts to talk to their friends and invite them on a campout. Skip the webelos, skip the pamphlets, skip the special meetings, skip all the meetings for that matter, skip the email. It's all about getting friends to go camping. It doesn't need to be anything special. Skip the paperwork, too. My take is it's more about making it personal and working with smaller numbers than shotgunning everyone. People get enough advertising that they just tune it out.

 

We do something similar. We invite webelos to camp with us. We're going to try something different this year. We're going to partner with some webelos dens and invite them to join us once a month starting this summer.

 

Since you're the district guy this gets harder. But it sounds like rather than selling scouts to random parents it would be best to sell this to units.

 

Now, for a bit of tough love. If you had some webelos visit and none of them joined then it might be time for some reflection. When my son joined boy scouts it was obvious where he wanted to go. It was the one troop that didn't put on anything special, but treated him special. He walked in the door and the SPL grabbed him and took him off and put him in a patrol. He joined the activities for the meeting and I finally got to see him again at the end. Ever since then I strongly encourage the scouts to treat visitors as special. When you're 10 years old visiting a troop with 11 to 17 year olds it can be intimidating. It has to be more than fun. It also has to be reassuring that you will fit in. As for parents, we also make sure there are plenty of parents in the troop that stop by and say high, answer questions, ask about the boys and what they're looking for. Parents want to know about how we run our troop and we will talk about it. We won't push it but if they ask we'll talk.

 

I hope this helps.


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#11 Stosh

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 04:01 PM

On a unit level this is the most effective approach, get your friends involved!

 

I also, as a District/Council level, one needs to look at the big picture and not just focus on just unit recruiting, one needs to seek out geographic areas of interest and be prepared to start new units.  It's a lot more difficult, but just standing around handing out flyers isn't going to cut it for either the District/Council level nor the unit level.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#12 Col. Flagg

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 04:41 PM

All sales have a hook. Scouting is no different. Ours is range sports. If you can throw it, launch it, huck it or fire it, we do it. Makes kids insane and they want to join us to do it. We never have to worry about recruiting.


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#13 Stosh

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 04:50 PM

All sales have a hook. Scouting is no different. Ours is range sports. If you can throw it, launch it, huck it or fire it, we do it. Makes kids insane and they want to join us to do it. We never have to worry about recruiting.

 

The Venturing Crew I started back in the late 90's was on the record as "Blackpowder".  It was our reenacting Crew.  We had no shortage of members.  We often took the field as a small company and our CO joined us at national events and fielded a standard sized company.  Even when we needed rifles for Memorial Day, we always hand enough.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#14 ddubois

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 01:06 AM

Dan,

 

There is no way that I would allow you "in" my school to sell the program directly to the kids.  It simply wouldn't happen.  Don't take it personally.  You are just asking for something that my school would never allow.

 

To be effective, you need to learn the difference between what is actually possible and what is just beating your head against a wall.

When I was in Aloha Council, it seemed pretty standard to get access to some room after school hours, usually the cafeteria, where we could put on our dog and pony show for maybe half a dozen families, after having had fliers passed out to the students, or maybe announcements made over the PA.  This was all arranged, AFAIK, by someone on the professional staff, who secured volunteers at Roundtable to do the actual presentations.

 

In South Florida Council, I've seen a much wider variety of access.  One woman has been committee chair for a local Pack for decades, and has a relation with a few schools where she, or one of her minions (including me), had the opportunity to actually enter each classroom of 1st to 5th graders and give a little 5-10 minute sales pitch / show'n'tell.  It was awesome!  Much more common is a table at an Open House, but even that level of access seems to be based on "who you know", for instance, the President of the PTA would be a good friend to have..  By contrast, at most of the other schools I've tried to approach, I can't even get anyone on the phone, or to return my calls, or to email me back.   the exception being my son's school, when I had to see an AP for a familial reason, she permitted me to sales pitch their after-school program.

 

So, it seems to vary greatly "what is possible", given the right people and the right relationships.


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#15 desertrat77

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 07:01 AM

It's all about getting friends to go camping. It doesn't need to be anything special.

 

Ever since then I strongly encourage the scouts to treat visitors as special.

+1

 

Matt is right on target.  So is Colonel Flagg and Stosh and the other scouters:  the unit that does outdoor stuff, and does it regularly, won't be forced to resort to a tiresome sales campaign.  The recruits beat a path to your door.  That's factor number one.

 

The second important factor:  a scout is friendly.  Recruiting events/open houses fail because of this.  

 

Recently, I saw a unit hold an open house that was well attended by interested youth and parents.  Net result:  zero sign ups.  The scouts already in the unit sat there, like lumps on a log, playing with their phones or in an adolescent "I don't want to be here" stupor.  If they did speak, it was only to someone they already knew.  

 

Having seen this dynamic before, I encouraged the youth leadership ahead of time to be friendly, welcoming, etc., and the impact it would have.  They shrugged it off, so they'll have to learn the hard way.

 

Flyers to schools?  Limited impact.  If they get passed out at all, paper products are not interesting to many youth today.

 

A real program, run by real scouts, is the best recruiting plan.


Edited by desertrat77, 08 April 2017 - 07:05 AM.

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#16 qwazse

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 07:30 AM

I think @MattR hit on a key point: youth recruiters.

 

Your council might even have generic "recruiter" patches. But ideally, there will be a two-way system. Scouts who recruit friends get patches/premiums, but also you read out their names and unit numbers at each round table, and post them on a board that you maintain. How this happens in a district depends on what folks in that district generally respond to (e.g., E-mails, visits at unit meetings, name in lights, etc ...).

 

But, at the end of the day, this all assumes you all have trained your boys on how to be friendly to complete strangers.

 

There is no Personnel Management merit badge. So you have to teach boys to think about being good "big brothers".

I have to do the same for my venturers. When, they fail to show strong friendship, our crew shrinks -- even if we're up to some fantastic adventures. When they work at fellowship, even fiddling with ropes from the knot box feels like the greatest thing in the world.


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#17 RememberSchiff

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 08:15 AM


 


 

There is no Personnel Management merit badge. So you have to teach boys to think about being good "big brothers".

 

Ugggh, you're killing me here. Scout law, Patrol Method.


Edited by RememberSchiff, 08 April 2017 - 08:15 AM.

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#18 qwazse

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 10:10 AM

Ugggh, you're killing me here. Scout law, Patrol Method.

Ten PM troops with 4 crack patrols is not automatically gonna get you 50 crack patrols the following year.

If each of those boys only applies the fourth point of the Scout Law to their circle of 8, it might not even get you enough recruits to maintain the existing 40 patrols across the district.


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#19 David CO

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 01:21 PM

When I was in Aloha Council, it seemed pretty standard to get access to some room after school hours, usually the cafeteria, where we could put on our dog and pony show for maybe half a dozen families, after having had fliers passed out to the students, or maybe announcements made over the PA.  This was all arranged, AFAIK, by someone on the professional staff, who secured volunteers at Roundtable to do the actual presentations.

 

In South Florida Council, I've seen a much wider variety of access.  One woman has been committee chair for a local Pack for decades, and has a relation with a few schools where she, or one of her minions (including me), had the opportunity to actually enter each classroom of 1st to 5th graders and give a little 5-10 minute sales pitch / show'n'tell.  It was awesome!  Much more common is a table at an Open House, but even that level of access seems to be based on "who you know", for instance, the President of the PTA would be a good friend to have..  By contrast, at most of the other schools I've tried to approach, I can't even get anyone on the phone, or to return my calls, or to email me back.   the exception being my son's school, when I had to see an AP for a familial reason, she permitted me to sales pitch their after-school program.

 

So, it seems to vary greatly "what is possible", given the right people and the right relationships.

 

Back in the 1980's, there was a lot of advertising taking place in the schools.  It wasn't just on scoreboards and concessions stands.  Advertisers were offering all sorts of free stuff to schools if they could put their logo on it.

 

McDonald's was hugely into this.  About half of my Health Class handouts and worksheets were designed by McDonald's, with the "Golden Arches" logo on every page.

 

All this free stuff was great for our budget, but many parents started to feel that their school children were being unfairly used as a captive audience for clever advertising campaigns. Schools like mine had to rethink their policies.

 

Parents and teachers were also complaining that too much valuable instruction time was being given over to assemblies, rallies, pitches and presentations to promote extracurricular activities (both in-house and outside organizations) and their various fundraising efforts.

 

Things were getting out of hand, and some changes needed to be made.  It is not easy now days for anyone to get access to our students during the school day, for any purpose other than instruction.  We feel that instruction time should be used for instruction.


Edited by David CO, 08 April 2017 - 01:23 PM.

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#20 Stosh

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 03:32 PM

If one has 5 boys or 50 boys, if they all recruit one friend the number of boys in the troop will double.   As much as I hate math, even this makes sense to me.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)





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