The Scouts required a volunteer vacancy portal which could be freely administered by members of the Scouts – both voluntary and paid. It needed to de-centralise volunteer recruitment giving ownership to groups at a local level. It had to be easy to use, require minimum manned intervention, fit closely with the Scouts Cymru brand and be attractive to volunteers with business skills as well as those with traditional scouting skills.
Having worked with Scouts Cymru on a previous web project, James Good had the opportunity to build on their existing relationship and create the online volunteer vacancy portal.
The Scouts are a well-known organisation, respected for working with young people, offering activities and experiences to build confidence and life-skills whilst having fun. It is a model that depends on a small army of volunteers to succeed. Attracting the right people to fulfil a variety of different roles had become increasingly difficult, particularly when trying to fill the more strategic roles.
As well as looking for a significant number of Scout leaders at grass-roots level, there was also an on-going requirement to recruit a smaller number of professional people for their business skills and experience. The volunteer vacancy portal had to appeal to these people, with more strategic skills, such as financial planning, business development or fundraising as well as youth leaders.
Everybody knows that the Scouts recruit leaders who want to work with young people, it is much less well-known that each local group also requires volunteers with a whole raft of business and management skills.
Creating a website that would attract business leaders as well as youth leaders presented a few challenges. As an organisation with few paid members of staff, the portal needed to be easily administered by volunteers with minimum effort … and little margin for error.
James Good created a website that is straightforward to use and provides standard templated adverts which can be ‘put live’ by individuals across the organisation without the need for moderation. The system enables recruitment to be implemented and maintained at a local level, removing the pressure on a very small team of centralised paid staff. The data base is also self-cleansing – adverts are posted with an expiry date, at which point the person who posted the advert is alerted by email. They can then choose to extend the post or remove it – this automated system means that the site will never be plagued by long-forgotten out of date posts.
The look and feel of the portal reflects the Scouts Cymru brand, showing volunteering with the Scouts as a rewarding and positive experience. Because there are templates for each volunteering role all the information presented meets the same standard and is consistent in content and style. There is little room for error as if an advert is uploaded with additional information it then goes through a moderation process.
The finished site is a user-friendly resource for Scouts Cymru members looking for volunteers. The design looks great and it has enabled an approach to recruitment that empowers people at a local level without compromising on standards.
If you think your skill-set could be of value to the Scouts – perhaps you’d consider volunteering a little of your time – vacancies.scoutscymru.org.uk.