Relay For Life University
Week 3 | Recruiting & Retaining Volunteers
Volunteerism - Recruit, Engage, Retain
Alright, this week is all about getting out into the community and practicing recruiting volunteers. Last week you heard a bit about the importance of volunteers to the organization and to Relay. Every Relay For Life has the same foundation, but we must learn how our volunteers operate in their different communities. We do this by learning about our communities demographics and putting together a community profile. This week we will also learn specific recruitment tools, and practice some community time recruitment pitches.
What you will focus on for Week 3...
What is a Community Safari?
The Community Safari is all about getting to know your RFL from both a logistics standpoint as well as understanding the culture of a given community. At the end of a successful Community Safari, we want staff to communicate their findings and feel deeply oriented to a given community or portfolio. We want you to spend time researching and observing things like:
- How do I navigate to and within my portfolio and the communities therein?
- What and where are key locations in my portfolio?
- Who are the key volunteers that I need to meet and what is the culture of their community like?
- What are key areas for leadership volunteer recruitment?
- What are the values and culture of a given community in my territory?
You will be assigned your Community Safari project documents through Society Pathways or you can download them here through Relay Nation.
Working in Your Territory
An important part of the job of the staff partner is spending quality time in their Relay community. What does quality time mean? It’s all about relationships. Cultivating current constituents in order to keep them engaged with the American Cancer Society, recruiting new people to join in the fight against cancer as well as educating others in the programs and services available through ACS are all aspects of quality time in the community.
When it comes to recruitment, your primary purpose is to find those that have been touched by the issue of cancer (personally, family member, friend, co-worker, etc.) and let them know of the opportunities to become involved in the fight against cancer. Spending full days in the community make the most of your time. Plan ahead, schedule meetings before you go and be sure to create a plan for your day. Showing up in the community without a plan can lead to getting stuck and wandering without a purpose.
- Set up 2-3 appointments ( ie: Mayor’s office, committee members, civic club leaders, corporate sponsors, local pastors, business leaders, team captains, etc.)
- Set a of goal of setting up 2 group recruitment presentations
- Make list of places to stop for drop in visits and determine your objective. Determine if your visit is to ask for something, say thank you, or build your relationship (or all three)?
Decide who will participate in the community day
- Go alone – the community gets to know you. You are building the relationship
- Another ACS Staff – for feedback or guidance , may have contacts, help open doors
- A volunteer – knows the community, help open doors, builds your relationship with that volunteer , establishes ownership of the events recruitment efforts
Create A Plan For the Day
- Every time you’re out in the community is an opportunity to talent scout
- Work with your volunteers to determine a list of potential talent. Make appointments with or drop in on these people.
Recruit Corporate Sponsors:
- Work with your sponsorship chair to target sponsors that need a personal follow-up visit to secure their sponsorship or drop off new packets to potential sponsors
Recruit Potential Teams
- Visit Banks ,churches, businesses, fitness centers, schools, and other worksites
- People spend most of their time at work. Making appointments or dropping in during business hours is the best way to connect with community members. This is a great way to find committee members, teams, and sponsors.
Cultivate Existing Volunteers
- Make a list of your Top 10 Teams and drop in on the Team Captain and thank them
- Make a list of your Top 10 Individual fundraisers and drop in to thank them
- Make a list of your cash sponsors and drop in to simply say thank you
Distribute Relay Materials:
- Survivor brochures at all doctors’ offices and other health facilities
- Luminaria forms at any business in town to have available to the public
- Relay Brochures at any business in town to have available to the public
- Posters at any business in town to have available to the public
- Schedule of Events at any business in town to have available to the public
Visit local Newspaper and tier two media outlets
- Pick up the local newspaper as it can be a great resource of new contacts and information on meeting times, community calendars, etc.
- Work with your promotions chair and other volunteers to determine if the time is right for a press release or Relay focused news story. Stop in and chat with the staff in person about your promotions plan
Visit local Chamber Office (even if you are not a member)
- Ask for a new member list (beware that some list cost money to get…)
- Ask what is the best way to network if you are members
- Pick up local business cards to get contact names for businesses
- Pick up local brochures that might give you new leads
- Be sure to get a business card or contact information from everyone you meet.
- Thank all new contacts and those you had appointments with during your field day
Typical Day In the Community
Observe and Research
Get to your community early and have breakfast and read the paper to get a feel for what is going on and is important to the community. Prepare for lunch and interact with people. Always be ready with who you are and what you do and invite them to join you.
Schedule 3-6 Meetings
Meetings with top fundraisers to check in, team captains, potential volunteers, lapsed sponsors...anyone who has a connection or could have a connection to Relay For Life. Meetings don't need to be long, but they do need to have a purpose.
Gather business cards and contacts. If you are meeting them for the first time formally, follow up with a thank you note for their time. If you are collecting contacts from cold calls, follow up via email and schedule when you or your community volunteers will follow up with them via phone to schedule a meeting.
Observe and Research
Schedule 3-6 Meetings
Words to Read
Actions to Take
Words to Read
- E-Learnings this week via Society Pathways include Recruiting Volunteers and Retaining Volunteers as a part of the Volunteer Staff Partnership Series.
- Continue to spend one day a week in the community with your manager. This week you will shadow your manager as they model cold calling and relationship building activities. Be prepared to practice what you see.
Actions to Take
- You've been practicing for two weeks. It is now time to share your elevator speech with the world! Take the week 3 challenge and record yourself telling someone about American Cancer Society and Relay For Life. Upload it to your Cohort group and learn from others!
- Complete the week 3 Personal Reflection and Learning Log through Society Pathways.