What’s the easiest way for potential members to join your Scout unit?

BeAScout.org!

It works even better if your unit information is up-to-date. Now, if you update your pin, your Scout unit could win!

Just make sure your unit BeAScout pin is updated anytime between June 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020, and your unit will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $500 Scout Shop Gift card, or one of five $100 Scout Shop Gift cards. See the full rules for the giveaway here.

Need help updating your pin? Find a complete set of step-by-step instructions on how to update your BeAScout pin in this guide, and/or watch this “Setting Up Your BeAScout Unit Pin” instructional video.

As we move into join-Scouting season, now is the time to be Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, and Kind by doing a Good Turn and updating your pin so people who are looking for a great Scouting unit can find you! You just might win something in the process!

Dear Scouting Family, 

With more than half of the year behind us, it’s natural for us to look back at the challenges we have navigated in the past few months, as a movement and as a country. But it’s even more important that we look ahead at the opportunities ahead of us.

This is the time of year when we band together with our volunteers to introduce Scouting to youth and their families. And even though many things may feel different right now, bringing Scouting to life for millions of young people is one thing that should not change. Sure, it might look a little different this year, but it is a calling that deserves our energy and attention right now.

We now have the opportunity to welcome hundreds of thousands of new youth and families into Scouting at a time when we are needed most. Youth, families, and communities need Scouting as a partner to help build character and leadership in young people during these uncertain times. While many other programs may not be possible during this school year, Scouting can and will continue.

To give families a taste of what Scouting can bring to life, we’re hosting Family Fun Fest, August 8 and September 12. Not only are these interactive, online events an ‘open house’ for Scouting, but they’re also a chance for families to break away from the at-home routines to enjoy a Saturday escape. Those of you who participated in the National Camp-In can attest to the fun these virtual festivities offer, as well as the family time they can create.

Family Fun Fest takes the excitement of Scouting activities, and kicks it up a notch with new faces, new skills to learn, and new experiences that families can enjoy together. The events will feature interviews with NASCAR drivers and astronauts, interactive games and activities, fun with pets, prizes, and in the spirit of Scouting, a service project supporting schools that everyone can participate in from home.

As fun as this event will be for all of us in Scouting, it is even more important to get the word out to our friends and family not yet in Scouting to join us for this virtual celebration of Scouting. This event is for families with Scout-aged kids who are looking for new ways this fall to prepare their kids for life. 

I ask that we all take a step out of our comfort zones this week and invite friends and families around us who could benefit from Scouting to join us for Family Fun Fest. If you have some famous friends that would like to lend their support, that too is welcome, but kids and families are the real stars here.

For the full details on Family Fun Fest, visit scouting.org/familyfunfest, where you can register for emails so you’ll get updates and be entered for a chance to win some great prizes.

Better yet, get in on the fun by downloading the Family Fun Fest Adventure Log to get the word out.

See you at Family Fun Fest on August 8th and September 12th – so we can show America how to Scout On!

-Roger Mosby

Please join us in congratulating Jared Pickens, who will serve as Scout executive of the Cherokee Area Council in Chattanooga, Tennessee, effective September 1, 2020.

Jared began his Scouting career as a district executive and then senior district executive at the Great Smoky Mountain Council in Knoxville, Tennessee. He moved on to the Last Frontier Council in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to serve as the director of development, and most recently as the director of field service/chief operating officer.

Jared is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow who enjoys spending time with family, playing soccer, hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Jared and his wife, Ashley, have one child, Theodore.

In the comments below, please help us send Jared our well wishes as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Cherokee Area Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

As the school year begins, it’s time to encourage everyone to use social media to spread the word about Scouting.

You can start sharing right now with a few simple items like hashtags or ready-to-post social content.

Be sure to visit the BSA Brand Center and use the official logos, social media images, videos, and other assets like the ones available for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Exploring, and Sea Scouts. Also direct people to Scouting.org or BeAScout.org so they can learn more or join!

As a reminder, focus your social posts on the value of the programs of the Boy Scouts of America, and never criticize other youth activities/organizations or those who may not share your perspective.

HASHTAGS

Incorporate one or more of the hashtags below in short social posts about your unit’s open house, a positive personal Scouting experience, or why this opportunity is meaningful to your family.

  • #ScoutMeIn
  • #ScoutsBSA
  • #CubScouts
  • #Venturing
  • #SeaScouts
  • #Exploring
  • #BeAScout
  • #BoyScoutsofAmerica
  • #BSA
  • #Scouting

READY-MADE SOCIAL POSTS

Facebook

  • When it comes to adventure, you just have to get your feet wet. Scouting will give your son or daughter the skills they’ll need to make waves in the world.   
  • Scouting will help your son or daughter see that nothing is impossible when you’re Prepared for Life. Learn more at Scouting.org.
  • Help your son or daughter earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Find a Scouts BSA troop near you at BeAScout.org.
  • Scouting can give your kids the tools they’ll need to succeed now and throughout their lives. Find out more at Scouting.org.
  • We’re inviting all boys and girls ages 11-17 to say “Scout Me In” to Scouts BSA! Experience fun and adventure while learning life skills and giving back to the community. To learn more, visit BeAScout.org.

Instagram

Use these text options to complement photos of the incredible adventures Scouting has to offer. You can find some great photos to use in the BSA Brand Center.

TIP: Instagram does not allow links in captions so be sure to add BeAScout.org to your bio and reference it in your captions. Remember to use hashtags.

  • Sometimes the road less traveled isn’t a road.
  • It’s a big world. Explore it in Scouting.
  • It’s not just something I do. It’s something I am. #Scouting
  • Scouting is learning to be your best.

How will recruitment work this year? If you haven’t asked this question yourself, you’ve likely heard it asked at least several times over the past few months. With many communities practicing social distancing—or even stay-at-home orders—it’s no secret that introducing more families to Scouting could be a challenge, but Scouters are ready! Now, more than ever, the world needs Scouting, and the organization is at a pivotal moment to grow and find new opportunities to unite our communities.

There is no question that the impact of COVID-19 has created a unique and unprecedented challenge for recruiting new members to the Scouting movement, but rising to the occasion is what Scouters do best. In recent weeks, BSA professionals from across the country have been sharing their knowledge of what works well in their councils. These insights, as well as the new ideas they can inspire in your own council, will help us deliver the benefits of BSA’s programs to more youth than ever before.

Take a look at these Fall 2020 recruitment ideas, curated from councils around the country, and your creative process will be rolling before you know it! Also be sure to follow the hyperlinks under each section to get the full scope of each Scouter’s perspective.


Longhorn Council district executive, Paul Verwers suggests:

  • Track your recruitment data. Know how many Scouts each school/unit recruited at its sign-up nights the year before. This will let you know if the pack is on track or underperforming on expectations.
  • Communicate with your fall sign-up chair and district membership committee. We have great volunteers in the BSA, but they still need support and guidance. Verify that everyone knows the sign-up night location [or URL], schedule, and any local health guidance.
  • Are you are doing virtual Scout talks or sending previously recorded videos to schools? If so, ensure that the schools have the capabilities to share those videos and that the videos have the correct info on how to join BSA. (Find downloadable Scout Talk videos for youth and 5 Questions about Scouting videos for parents in the BSA Brand Center)
  • Work with your training chair to set up new leader training. Have several training opportunities throughout the fall to help strengthen their skills and confidence.
  • Work with your commissioner core. Engage your commissioners to support your membership efforts. Having a strong commissioner team is a key to keep your units active and in good health.

Read more about Paul’s take on the road ahead in his piece, Fall recruitment strategies from the pros.


Faye Hammond, Assistant Director of Field Service at Atlanta Area Council recommends:

  • Encourage units to be ready to receive online applications.
  • Develop plans to deliver your buzz-up (video) via closed-circuit television – it may be your only avenue.

Occoneechee Council’s Family Scouting & Finance Development Director Gwangi Shipp gave this valuable reminder:

  • Are your units prepared for recruitment with items such as a unit program calendar, year-round budget, fact sheet about the unit, leadership contact sheet, and an updated BeAScout pin?

Peggy Durbin, Assistant Scout Executive of  South Florida Council proves her eye for strategy with these tips:

  • Call your principals to let them know Scouting has been active and promoting continuing education through our programs during these challenging times. Tell them we look forward to being able to reconnect again this fall…
  • Reach out to your unit leaders and families and ask them to produce short video clips of their Scouts engaged in the fun Scouting activities they have been doing throughout the lock-down and encourage them to share those videos with their family and friends.  
  • Both of these suggestions are also in video form that can be uploaded for a virtual Program Kick-off via Facebook.

Get the full set of tips from these three brilliant BSA pros in their post on fall recruiting strategies.


Connecticut Rivers Council Field Director Sean Fogle made this customer-centric recommendation:

  • Make content relevant: Our families at home are suffering in unseen ways. Providing relevant content into their homes and at their own pace is key. Everything we have done has been designed around healthy living tips or ways to make life at home more enjoyable. For instance, we interviewed a professional board game designer on his favorite games to play, and we encouraged a family game night to get away from the electronics. It is important to also make it fun through the whole process. Our virtual summer camp introduced in early May is called Camp Kinda-Like-A. We have a nice theme song and all marketing for it has been light and fun. We have a couple hundred kids signed up for it already. You can watch our Spirit Week videos here

Learn more about Sean’s approach to ‘forging the roadmap’ for virtual program delivery in his piece, 7 Steps to Success With Virtual Program Initiatives.


 Field Director for Last Frontier Council Carl Hanke’s tips are sure to inspire socially distant resourcefulness:

  • Host drive-thru sign-up events. If schools do not allow us to use the cafeteria due to cleaning policies, have a drive-thru sign-up in the parking lot.
  • Make videos to use as digital school talks/sign-ups. If we are not allowed to visit students in classrooms or assemblies, videos can be used to reach them.
  • Partner with online schools.
  • Partner with other digital events. Use other youth activities that hold online meetings to promote Scouting.

Check out what else Carl had to say in his article, Fall Membership Plans & Executions are More Important Than Ever Before.


That’s not all—keep your eyes open for a new playbook covering the basics of virtual recruitment coming soon!

Collaborate and make an impact

Remember, the keys to effective recruiting are to Be Prepared, inspire others, and provide recruitment ideas. Do you have any tips or ideas that have worked well for you? Share your success stories (or upcoming plans) in the comments below! You never know what new and exciting ideas your input might spark.

Because of COVID-19, parents simply aren’t involving their children in as many in-person group activities as they otherwise would have. Many of those activities, like youth sports, for instance, are largely impossible to conduct safely in some communities. Scouting, on the other hand, can conduct much of its programming through virtual means. With many other in-person youth activities unavailable, parents will be looking for activity options for their children, which makes now a good time to introduce people to Scouting and encourage them to attend virtual Scout meetings and do Scouting activities with their family.

Through online application tools, a Scout unit can hold a virtual rally, invite people to join digitally, and complete their registration totally online. 

In preparing to hold a virtual rally or meeting, the first place to start is this Digital Safety Moment that provides useful tips on how to conduct safe virtual Scouting meetings. 

Setting up your BeAScout pin and Online Registration Tools

Also, prior to holding a virtual rally, everyone should make sure to set up BeAScout pins and online registration tools. If you know of units that have not already set up their BeAScout pin or online registration tool, they can use the Unit Guidebook to Online Registration that will walk them through the process can be found with other key resources here: https://www.scouting.org/resources/online-registration/

A reminder that everyone should be sure to allow online payment features so that parents can use credit or debit cards to pay their registration fees to make this a seamless and touchless process from start to finish.

Virtual meeting rally recruitment plan

Step1:  Organization Meeting – Use a business-oriented conference platform that includes good safety and privacy features, including password protection. Hold a virtual meeting with your parents or older youth. If  you have a large pack, troop, or crew, hold the meeting with your unit leaders and have them hold the same meeting with parents from their den, or parents/youth in patrols.

The goal of this meeting is to get leaders and parents to think about who they know that has a child of Scouting age who is not in Scouting and to start a recruitment prospect list. Have your parents either: 

  • Provide the name and email addresses to a rally coordinator in your unit so that they can collect all of the names and email addresses and send the invitation to the virtual meeting.

or

  • Provide the parents in your unit with an email invitation for the virtual rally that includes the QR code or URL to the unit’s online application and ask them to forward it to the parents in their contact lists. (The downside of this method is reduced ability to know who is receiving access to the virtual meeting and an inability to easily follow up with these families later.)

Step 2: – Plan the Rally and Agenda – While you are collecting email addresses, start planning your virtual rally. Since many platforms are now limiting how long a meeting can last, and because you also want to be respectful of a parent’s time, you must have a detailed agenda about what is going to be covered and who is covering it during the virtual meeting. When planning the virtual rally decide:

  • Who is going to be the main speaker and who is going to control the virtual meeting – have a production team for the best results.
    • Have a person who knows how the virtual meeting platform works serve as the meeting coordinator. They should be the person who logs in as the host, controls the screen sharing, and mutes all except the main speakers.
    • Have other people be the main presenters. You might want to have more than one so that prospective parents can see the unit has a team of leaders who work together – it’s not just a one-person show.
    • Have a person who monitors chat questions and acts as the moderator during the Q&A session. This person can also reply back in the chat feature during the presentation.
  • Items you may want to include in the rally agenda:
    • Introduction of Unit leadership – who you are and why you are involved in Scouting (5 to 7 minutes)
    • Let the parents know that you will be taking Q&A through the chat and will be answering at the end of the presentation.
    • What you have planned for your unit over the next few months. (15 minutes)
      • Virtual meeting times
      • Virtual rank requirements workshops (remember these parents are not in Scouting, so provide a brief explanation of the skills or activities that the youth will be doing and what they will learn from the activity)
      • Virtual campouts – council/national or just your unit
      • A few ideas about activities that might happen outdoors after the shelter-in-place is lifted, but social distancing is still a practice – focus on keeping people safe and providing a fun activity
    • Cost of joining and what that pays for (2 minutes)
    • How the person can join your unit. Decide if you will be sending out email invitations with QR codes or the URL from Invitation Manager, or through the BeAScout URL. (3 minutes)
      • Parents can fill out the online application using their smartphone, tablet, or PC, and pay their national registration fee by credit card (if the unit has turned on credit card setting)
      • If you have a unit fee you will need to determine how that will be collected and inform the parents
    • Q&A from parents and wrap up (15 minutes)

STEP 3 – Send out the invitations to the rally

  • If you have collected the email addresses for prospective families:
    • Customize the invitation to include the virtual meeting URL and password for the event.
    • Let them know that a friend has referred them to join your unit and you are having a short meeting to explain the virtual activities youth and families will have available if they join the unit. Include a message that you are looking forward to meeting them virtually on this meeting.
    • Include the QR code or URL to your unit’s online application. This can be found in my.Scouting tools. Select menu and then Invitation Manager to download these two items. Full instructions can be found in the Unit Guidebook to Online Registration which you can find at https://www.scouting.org/resources/online-registration/.
  • If you have not collected email addresses from prospective families:
    • Send an email with the virtual meeting URL and password for the event.
    • Also include the QR code or URL for your unit’s online application.
    • Let the Scout parents know this email is for them to forward to their friends and contacts that have youth of Scouting age and that the QR code and URL are specific to your unit, so they should so they should keep that in mind when they invite people to join.

STEP 4 – Hold the virtual rally – execute your plan from Step 2.

STEP5 – Accept new members online

  • The Cubmaster, Committee Chair, or Chartered Organization Representative can open the Application Manager in my.Scouting and accept the new youth as applications come in.
  • The Chartered Organization Representative can also accept or reject new adult applications as they come in, so be sure the COR knows your plans and is ready to take action as well.
  • The system will automatically send the family a welcome email upon your acceptance of their paid application. And, if the unit has selected to automatically send a message, the unit welcome message will also be sent to the family within 24 hours.
  • New youth and adults who have been accepted will show up in your unit roster in Member Manager on my.Scouting within 24 hours of your acceptance in Application Manager.

Email and Social Media Peer-to-Peer recruitment plan.

This plan does not involve a virtual meeting, rather, it is just a grass-roots effort by your parents and youth to invite their friends to join your unit.

Like the plan above, it involves sending emails to all of your current families asking them to forward your email that includes your units QR code or URL to the unit’s online application. In the text of your email outline what your unit will be doing over the next few months and how fun it would be to have more youth and families they know take part in these meetings by joining your unit. Similar to the virtual meeting plan, also be sure the let them know that the QR code and URL are specific to your unit so they should keep that in mind when they invite people to join. Ask them to include a personal story about what their child has learned through Scouting and a personal ask for the family to join them in their Scouting adventure.

Once the email to your members is sent, follow STEP 5 – Accept New Members Online above to process the applications that come in through the online registration system.

Article Submitted by David Rico, Southern and Central Region Membership Growth Coach

Using tools like Facebook geofencing and Nextdoor events can be useful in the promotion of Scout recruiting events like Join Scouting nights — even if those events are virtual. In this article, we’ll discuss some best practices when utilizing those tools. First and foremost, while these tools can be very helpful, do not rely only on them as your primary means of recruitment. Use every possible method you have at your disposal to increase your effectiveness.

Using Geofencing to Promote Scouting

Geofencing is a tool within Facebook that enables a user to promote Scouting events (like joining nights) based on geographic criteria. It also allows users to promote virtual events, and, with COVID-19 representing a challenge to many in-person events in 2020, this may be useful.

Before you begin your geofencing effort, ensure that any unit whose joining event will be geofenced has updated its BeAScout pin and enabled online registration. You can find key information on those important tasks at the Scouting Online Registration Information site.

For step-by-step directions on how to set up a geofence to promote a Scouting event, use this guide. You can also find more information about using geofencing to promote your Scouting event in this article. Find additional information that details past results here. For instance, units that used geofencing for their join Scouting events saw a growth rate of 7.43% more new Cub Scouts than they did the previous year. 

Use these best practices for recruiting events that will employ the use of geofencing promotion:

  • Utilize images/videos with your local people when possible. If you don’t have local images to use, access numerous ready-to-use, approved Scouting images in the BSA Brand Center https://scouting.webdamdb.com/bp/#/.
  • When setting up the event info, ensure all details are correct, including the correct address of a physical location (if your current local health guidelines permit in-person events of this nature). 
  • With a virtual recruiting event, you will still have a physical address used to set up the geofencing parameters for the area you are targeting. On the event invite, be sure to provide a link to the virtual meeting. 

Stuart Goins, a Director of Field Service from the Quivira Council in Wichita, Kansas, has utilized geofencing in his council’s recruiting efforts and cites the following four key elements of using this tactic:

  • Geofencing provides the ability to reach a target audience in a specific geographic area, which allows you to focus on locations with a high population density of prospective Scouting families. 
  • It’s a highly cost-effective use of any promotional dollars you may spend toward recruiting.
  • The ability to focus your marketing directly on parents of Scouting-age youth is valuable. 
  • As a marketing tool, geofencing is only effective with unit buy-in, so connecting with your unit leaders about this opportunity is critical. 

Using Nextdoor to Promote Scouting

Nextdoor is a hyperlocal social networking service for neighborhoods. It can be used to promote Scouting in certain neighborhoods by creating and posting events; however, in many cases, that event creation will need to be done by the Scouting volunteers who live in those neighborhoods. That way, they can answer questions that may arise from their neighbors on those posts.

Below are few useful links that may help in the use of Nextdoor to promote Scouting events.

Use these best practices for promoting events on Nextdoor.

  • Identify volunteers who live in targeted neighborhoods and are willing to post information about Scouting joining events. 
  • Provide help coordinating and promoting those events, and provide answers to questions received on the event invitation. 
  • Ensure separate units that are in the same neighborhoods communicate with each other to avoid confusion between how they post details about their event dates and times on Nextdoor. 
  • After the event, be sure to follow-up on Nextdoor with anyone who has questions or may have missed the event and is looking for another joining opportunity. 

Scouting Wire would like to thank David Rico for submitting this article. 

Congratulations to Mark Kraus, who will serve as Scout executive of the Connecticut Yankee Council in Milford, Connecticut, effective August 16, 2020.

Mark began his Scouting career in 1990 as a district executive at the Central Ohio Council in Columbus, Ohio. He moved on to become the senior district executive and then finance director at the Miami Valley Council in Dayton, Ohio. Mark left the profession in 1997 and then re-entered in 2007 as the director of development of the Lincoln Heritage Council in Louisville, Kentucky. Since 2015, Mark has been successfully serving as Scout executive of the Verdugo Hills Council in Glendale, California.

Mark enjoys golf and spending time with his family.

Mark and his wife, Joanne, have two grown children, Abbi and Alex, and one grandchild.

Please join us in the comments below as we send our well wishes to Mark as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Connecticut Yankee Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

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