Longs Peak Council
Boy Scouts of America
Cub Scout Recruiting Ideas
- Cub Scouts and Leaders "sport" your uniform often. Wearing the uniform is like a walking billboard, and can grab the attention of youth and adults. The uniform also serves as a conversation piece. Scouts and leaders should wear their uniforms to school, church, the grocery store, library, sporting events, any place you can think of! The uniform is a great way to show the presence of Cub Scouts in your community and spread the excitement. Be sure that every member of your pack wears their uniform to school on the day of your recruitment night and to school the days of your pack meetings and den meetings. Remember that the uniform is not complete without the person inside. Be knowledgeable about what all of the patches mean and share the excitement of Scouting.
- Encourage Cub Scouts and Adult Scouters to talk about Scouting with their friends. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful and lasting forms of advertising. Kids talking to others about the fun they have is a great way to spread excitement among youth. Use the recruiter patch or another incentive program that rewards your Scouts if they bring a friend to join Cub Scouting. Cub Scout families consistently see the value of Scouting in their own lives and by this they are our best salespeople. Share Scouting's benefits and excitement with other parents. Most families are looking for programs filled with excitement and opportunities for leadership development and positive values. Most families are involved in lots of activities including sports and church. Use these forums to interact with parents and share Cub Scout stories.
- "Show and Tell". Encourage youth to use Cub Scouting as a part of their Show and Tell opportunities in school. Peer to peer recruitment is very successful and this is a great forum for Scouts to share their stories and the excitement of Cub Scouting. Be sure that they are prepared with a story or exciting information. If possible provide stickers or other handouts for the Scouts to distribute at the conclusion of the presentation.
- Develop a Pack Information Sheet. This is your chance to brag about your pack. Include items such as time, date, and location of pack meetings, list of upcoming events, Den Leader and Committee Member names and phone numbers, and other exciting details about why you are involved, including pictures. Provide your sponsoring organization a copy of the sheet so that they can answer any questions they might receive regarding your pack. Make sure that your pack committee and parents have copies of the sheet to distribute as well. Give a copy to your local District Executive.
- Recruitment Night Information Flyer. Work with your District Executive to order Council provided flyers, or create your own. Be sure to include the date, time, and location of your meeting and contact name and phone number. Plan your recruiting night within the first two weeks of the school year. Meet with your facility contact early to get your meeting booked. Order your flyers through your District Executive at your District's recruitment briefing or earlier. Before your recruitment night, deliver flyers to the school or schools and any other outlets including churches and neighboring schools that do not host packs, seven to ten days prior to the meeting. A second flyer should be distributed the day of your event, just as a friendly reminder! (The second flyer should be a different color and design, so teachers and administrators do not think it is a duplication of the first flyer.) If you are delivering the flyers to schools, offer to pre-stack groups of flyers for the individual teacher's boxes. This will save time for the office staff and help to ensure their delivery.
- Display Cases and Bulletin Boards. Promotion of Cub Scouting at the beginning of the school year is very important. This is the time of year when most families decide to join new activities. If possible the display should be maintained year around and changed monthly. Seek permission from the school, church, recreation center, or other organization to use the display case. Have a person from your pack responsible for setting up the display and changing it once a month during the year. Each month should have a monthly theme with catch phrases to attract attention. The display items should go along with the monthly theme. The display should be fun and informative and create a sense of excitement about the Scouting program. If access to the display case all year around is not possible, using it in the beginning of the school year would be the best time.
- School, Church, Community, or Business Newsletters and Websites. This may be a great way to get information or announcements out regarding your Cub Scout Pack. Speak with the person in charge of the newsletter to find out how and when to submit an article or announcement. If your school hosts their own website, post information there as well. Be sure to begin promoting your recruitment night two weeks prior to the date. Include information that will attract the reader's attention while also sharing logistical information regarding your pack. Continue providing information and announcements throughout the year.
- School, Church, and Civic Functions. Set-up display at all school open houses, Back-To-School nights, curriculum nights, carnivals, Parent/Teacher conferences, and other church or civic events. Secure permission form the school principal or church pastor prior to the event. Call early to secure the best, most visible location. Set-up display 45 minutes to one hour prior to the event to ensure completion before arrival of prospective families. Uniformed leaders and Scouts should staff displays. Leaders should be informed of pack operations to be able to answer questions. Leaders should introduce themselves to prospective families as they arrive and should invite the families to join at that time, or sign-in to receive more information. Make follow-up calls with those families that signed in to personally invite them to your recruitment night or upcoming pack meeting. These events are great public exposure for your pack program.
- Business Window/Counter Displays. This could be a year around project. Ask local merchants to support your recruiting efforts in your area by placing a poster in their windows or placing brochures in their organizations. Work with them closely on how long they will allow the items to be placed and any other requirements they might have. (Be sure to thank them with a can of Trail's End Popcorn.)
- News Releases to Local Newspapers and Community Cable Stations. The key thing to remember is that timing is everything! It is essential to find out when the paper you are working with is printed and what the deadlines are. An article too soon will be forgotten and an article too late will not be published. The first line of the release needs to be a catchy, clear statement. The information needs to be clear and concise. The article should have all pertinent information such as pack number, meeting location, directions if needed, time and contact name and number (with their permission). Make the release one page. A call to follow-up is always a good idea. The release can be used to promote your recruitment night or to feature a community service project, awards, blue and gold, pinewood derby, etc.
- Church, School, or Business Marquee. Identify a marquee in high traffic areas, schools or other organizations. Speak with the person in charge of the marquee or sign to post your message. Be sure to be clear on the duration of your use and any other requirements. Due to limited space, message can be as simple as "Join Cub Scouts Here Sept. 15, 7 PM" will catch people's attention. If a school has a scrolling sign in the lunchroom, messages may also be posted there. Post notices inside school busses, if possible. This could be a year around project, pick a different area of your community at different times of the year.
- Pack Website. Build a pack or den website including pertinent information regarding your Cub Scout Pack including photographs, program calendar, how to join, and the benefits and excitement of Cub Scouting. Be sure to be aware of and follow your Council's Unit Website Policies. Ask school, church and other community organizations (Chamber, Welcome Wagon, Social Services, United Way, etc.) to provide a link to your site and to publicize your address.
- Announcement in church, neighborhood, subdivision, company, city, school district, and recreation center newsletters. Ask the appropriate person how to get pertinent information regarding your Cub Scout Pack in each publication. Determine when the deadline for each publication is. Create something that is interesting to read! Make people want to join Scouting! Be sure to thank the organization for its support.
- Special Events. Plan a special event that you can invite families to attend. Start to plan for your event well before the chosen date so that you have plenty of time to ensure its success. Secure a location and date for your event. Make sure you have a dynamic agenda and activities. In inviting families to join, create and distribute the invitations. One idea might be to host a pinewood derby at the shopping mall and invite families from your school and neighborhood to participate using "experienced" derby cars. Other ideas include hosting a booth or activity at community fairs, festivals or other events.
- Yard Signs. Be sure to be aware of any regulations regarding yard signs. Identify a person in your pack that lives close to your school or in a high traffic area. Post as many signs as possible at strategic locations within the community including intersections and yards. If a school, church, recreation center, or other organization will allow it, post signs there too. Your yard signs should include a phone number, Cub Scout logo, maybe the date of your recruitment night, and location.
- Prospecting for Scouts. The best recruiters we have are the current Cub Scouts and their families. Interview each family to determine which families in the neighborhood are not currently members of a Cub Scout Pack. Interview each current Cub Scout to determine which classmates are not current members of a pack. Write down as much information as you can about those non-member families and classmates. Develop a list of prospect families, names, addresses, phone, etc., then visit with those families. Be sure to have this list with your pack's information flyer along with any other items that you feel will help in selling Scouting to your prospects. Wear your uniform.
- Personalized invitation or letter. Boys love to receive their own mail. Personalize a letter or card including a description of Cub Scouting, date, time, and location of your recruitment night, and contact name and information. If addresses are unavailable, or postage is too costly, seek permission to deliver the personalized invitation to the classroom. Make sure that cards or letters are individually addressed to each boy. If you have access to e-mail addresses e-mail the invitation. Secure your list of names and addresses, work with your chartered organization, PTA's, schools if allowed, sport teams, recreation department, and church directories.
- Telephone call to families. A telephone call to the parents of a potential Cub Scout is a very effective way to recruit new families. This personal contact works every well. Be prepared to answer questions they might have and share the specific benefits of Cub Scouting. Names and numbers may be obtained by using school, church, or other organization directories, telephone book white pages, or the Internet. Be sure to be courteous and identity yourself and what association you might have with them. For example, "our sons are in the same class at school". Due to the high number of phone calls, be sure to split up the list among the leaders in your pack. Develop a "Telephone Script" that tells the same story about your pack. You might include: "Cub Scouting is a family program", "Cub Scouts reinforces the values of 'doing your best'", "Educators call Cub Scouting the #1 extra curricular program in America today", "The program helps to reinforce the class curriculum", "Cub Scouting is fun"!