Badge: Recruitment Basics

RecruitBasics_04URLWhen individuals and organizations need help, they recruit for the services needed. For non-profits, this often means volunteers.




1. What do you need?

Before you start recruiting, be sure you know what position needs to be filled or services that need to be done. Create a list of positions and / or tasks as well as the skills that are needed to complete the task.

2. Skills versus characteristics.

Skills are things like knowing how to proofread, effectively lead a group or make a campfire. Characteristics can be as important as skills. Keep an open mind if you find someone who has the characteristics you need and is willing to learn the skills. Some characteristics you may find useful include:

  • Flexibility
  • Endurance
  • Patience
  • Drive / passion
  • Confidence
  • Willingness to learn
  • Forward thinking

Create a list of characteristics that will be helpful and / or necessary in your volunteers.

3. Define jobs / services.

People looking to volunteer are often overwhelmed with the need they find. By being specific about the person or skills you need, you have a greater chance to recruit people. For example, if you are looking for a one-time project, you are more likely to get people who don’t have a lot of time and can schedule a single project into their life. Scout leaders are often recruited for a long time. The fact that their children are in their troops is an incentive in getting volunteers. Further define the positions / skills you need so you can be specific in your requirements.

4. Provide information.

Not only are you looking for someone to fill your needs, your potential volunteers want to know about you as well. Providing information may include flyers, a web site, emailed items, etc. You need to sell your organization. Consider the following items for inclusion:

  • Mission statement
  • Organization / personal history
  • Current advertising / marketing
  • Stats on how your organization helps the community
  • Recruitment message

5. Benefits.

Ask yourself what the benefits are for your volunteers. If you don’t know, ask current volunteers. You know what you’re looking to get out of your volunteers, but if they can’t see the benefits to themselves, you will have difficulty recruiting more.

6. Ease of entry.

Be sure that it’s easy for your volunteer to move into your organization. This might be supplying a mentor, providing a list of expectations or having meetings on a regular basis to help answer questions. Be prepared with a strategy to get your potential volunteers up-to-speed as effortlessly as possible.

7. Identify barriers.

Ask yourself what may deter someone from volunteering with you or your organization. This might be cultural, fear, physical / mental limitations, financial, etc. You might also come against competition for the volunteer’s time. Brainstorm ways to overcome or adjust your needs for these barriers.

8. Teams vs. individuals.

Recruiting more than one person allows your new volunteers the ability to share experiences as they become part of the organization. They help each other, encourage each other and do more than a single person can. Review your needs and see if a team would do better at the position / task than an individual and recruit accordingly.

9. Current volunteers.

Asking current volunteers to help recruit allows your potential volunteer to learn about you from “the inside.” Recruitment is about relationships. Your potentials will be asking themselves not only can they work within your organization, but with the people currently involved with you. Be sure your volunteers are positive about you and / or your organization.

10. Honesty is the best policy.

Always be honest about your organization / individual. To completely ignore any “bad press” or rumors will only hurt your recruiting efforts. No one gets along 100% of the time, but showing an effort to resolve the issues means you’re willing to work with your volunteers. Think of a few negative issues that happened and how they were dealt with. Could the issue have been dealt with better? How would you address accusations to someone looking to volunteer with you?

11. Message.

Is your message an attention grabber? Does it carry over different types of media? Are you conveying it to everyone the same way? Be sure to use language everyone understands. Make your message short and memorable.

12. Materials.

Recruitment materials are very important. They allow you to share information easily with multitudes of people. This includes brochures, slide shows, web ads, posters, contact cards and more. When designing these keep in mind:

  • Consistent design
  • Easy-to-read fonts (no more than 3)
  • Engaging and relevant photos
  • Graphics that support, not distract
  • Where you plan to place materials
  • Clear contact information

When you have created your materials, provide them so that others can easily reference them.

NOTE: Some organizations provide recruitment materials for you. Be sure to take advantage of these items.

13. Diverse strategies.

If you plan to have a single event at a local school to find volunteers, your audience will be extremely limited. However, if you also put a story in the newspaper the week before, the number of possible volunteers goes up. People need to see / hear the same information three times to remember it. Look at these strategies and determine which you can add to your recruitment efforts.

  • Word of mouth
  • Newspaper ads / articles
  • Radio ads / interviews
  • Television ad
  • Web site drive
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo! Groups, Google +, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
  • Information table (festivals, schools or community events)
  • Post flyers / information at libraries, stores and other local gathering places
  • Speaking engagement at events
  • Direct mailing
  • Permission marketing / email
  • Reinvest in non-active volunteers

14. No vs. never.

If you are told “no”, does that mean “never?” Often it means “not now.” You cannot know how someone’s life is going. It is up to them to decide if they can do justice to a volunteer position. If the person is enthusiastic, but cannot commit now, ask if you can contact them in the future for projects. Implement a way to do so.

15. Numbers.

Recruiting more than you need is a good plan. About 25% of the people who are interested will not follow through. Many drop out shortly after accepting. Our lives are constantly changing and your volunteers may not be able to follow through.

16. Volunteer support.

Do you have a plan to support your new volunteers? Do you have staff or other volunteers that they can continue to contact after they’ve completed the entry process? Brainstorm ways you can support your volunteers. Find one or more you can implement.


Sites to Explore


To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_Recruitment Basics

Disservice to Our Kids

I’ve been listening to my high school daughter telling me about the kids in her classes who are not doing the work. Not passing the class. And even worse, not caring about it.

She asked me, “What are they going to do after school?”
My thought is “How have we gotten here”?
Parents are so concerned that their kids are rewarded so they don’t feel left behind . . . even when they don’t earn it. How many times have you sat through a ceremony for your kids and the ones who made honor roll get as much recognition as the ones who “improved”?
These kids are not getting a view of the real world.
Do they think they will get an award for going to class? If you want to succeed, you need to work. You need to find where your passions lie. You need to look at high school as a starting point.
That’s why I believe in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, etc. These program expose the kids to the world. They get to try things that are not available through a traditional education. They get to find out what they like, what they’re good at and an idea of what to do with their life.

Badge: DNR – Project Learning Tree

PLT_URLProject Learning Tree (PLT) is an environmental education program for kids from preschool through grade 12. It is from the American Forest Foundation.





1. Project Learning Tree (PLT).
Project Learning Tree is designed to get kids outside. The purpose is to teach kids HOW to think about the environment. Explore the Web site to learn more.

2. GreenWorks!
GreenWorks! provides the framework for service learning in cooperation with businesses, non-profits, etc. Review the guidelines and brainstorm ways you can incorporate PLT activities / service into your current programming.

3. GreenSchools!
GreenSchools! encourages positive environmental action of schools and communities. Review this program and decide if you want to reduce your school’s ecological footprint. These activities can be incorporated into normal school days. How much can you do to help the environment?

4. Try an activity.
Free activities are available online. Try one or more to see how the program works. Is this something you can use with your youth troop / group?

5. Take a PLT workshop.
Search for your state coordinator and / or events to find out when workshops are being offered. Sign up and take one.

6. Earth and Sky radio show.
Earth and Sky is a daily radio show that highlights a range of environmental topics. Go to the Earth and Sky Web site and look through some of their offerings. Do a tutorial if you are interested in this resource.

7. Focus on forests.
Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on Forests module is now available. Learn about forestry. Explore the links and resources to find activities you can use with your youth.

8. Look through the curriculum.
Review the curriculum to find other items not specifically called out in the steps of this badge program. Are there more areas you’re interested in learning about? If so, find out more.

9. Additional resources of PLT activities.
Under “Curriculum”, explore the additional activity resources for both PreK-8 and Secondary.

10. Incorporating PLT with Girl Scouts.
PLT has activities that work with all levels of Girl Scouts. Look through their provided lists to see what activities you can incorporate into your Girl Scout activities.

11. Incorporating PLT with Boy Scouts.
Look through activities to find out how to incorporate PLT activities with Boy Scout activities.

12. Create an activity box.
Create an activity box based on the program / youth you work with to introduce adults to Project Learning Tree. Include instructions on how the activity works and where adults can get their own materials if they are interested in learning more.

13. Environmental education.
PLT provides even more educational support. Check out their site where they encourage others to share their PLT materials.

14. Become a trainer or coordinator.
Find out what you need to do to become a trainer / coordinator for Project Learning Tree.

15. Explore ways to share PLT.
Find ways to share Project Learning Tree with others beyond the steps above.


Sites to Explore

All links are provided within the steps above.


To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_DNR_Project LT

Badge: DNR – Flying WILD

FWILD_URLFlying WILD deals with migratory birds – conservation and environmental awareness.

Flying WILD is a part of Project WILD.





1. Flying WILD.
Flying WILD has over 40 activities focused on birds. They explore conservation and environmental issues through contests, quizzes and hands-on projects. Review the table of contents to see what this program has to offer.

2. The Birding Beat.
Review “The Birding Beat” activity available online. Is this something you can incorporate into your programming?

3. Gulf Oil Spill resources.
Review the materials for the Gulf Oil Spill resources.

4. Explore birding links.
Explore the extensive list of links to additional birding resources.

5. Participate in a Flying WILD workshop.
Find and participate in a Flying WILD workshop. Review all of the materials you receive free at the end of this workshop. Explore one or two activities that you can use with others.

6. Incorporating Flying WILD with Girl Scouts.
Look through the provided lists to see what activities you can incorporate into your Girl Scout activities.

7. Incorporating Flying WILD with Boy Scouts.
Look through activities to find out how to incorporate Flying WILD with Boy Scout activities.

8. Create an activity box.
Create an activity box based on the program/youth you work with to introduce adults to Flying Wild. Include instructions on how the activity works and where the adult can get their own materials if they are interested in learning more.

9. Service.
Explore how you can do a service project with a group or individually — based on Flying WILD. Plan and do your project.

10. Become a trainer or coordinator.
Find out what you need to do to become a trainer, coordinator or volunteer for Flying WILD.

11. Explore ways to share Flying WILD.
Find ways to share Flying WILD with others beyond those listed above.


Sites to Explore

All links are provided within the steps above.


To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_DNR_Flying Wild