Recruitment and Leadership Development


Recruitment Overview

Recruitment is most fundamental part of any campaign.  It takes people to make things happen.  Recruiting a group to work with gives you:

  • more grassroots power
  • the resources to accomplish your campaign goals
  • the opportunity to educate more people about your issue 
  • leadership experience

Recruitment Principles

  • Plan so that all stakeholder voices in your community and on your issue are represented in your group.
  • Cast a wide net – reach out beyond typical avenues in order to find people who wouldn’t normally get involved
  • Use multiple recruitment methods – websites, various contacts and organizations, flyers at schools, tabling at school/community events
  • Establish a simple recruitment message and use it consistently 
  • Take the time to get to know everyone, and work with those who have the most potential
  • Ask everyone to do something – lots of people is important, but its equally important that they all have meaningful roles
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel, collaborate with other networks
  • Have all materials and messaging ready before you start recruiting
  • An important mantra of any campaign is to always be recruiting.  More people involved = more power

Planning for Recruitment

Figure out how many people you need for your campaign and organizational goals to be successful. Think of many meaningful roles as possible. Consider the following realms:

  • Program (ex. School Board elections)
  • Community Relationships
  • Visibility 
  • Chapter leadership

Take into account different levels of availability. What’s the average amount of time a volunteer will be able to dedicate?

Recruitment Algorithm

Develop an algorithm to figure out how many people you need to make initial contact with in order to end up with the amount of volunteers you need. The rule of halves often works. Here is an example:

  1. I need 15 volunteers for my campaign
  2. To end up with 15 dedicated people, I need about 30 to come to an initial meeting
  3. To get 30 to come to a meeting, I need 60 say they will come
  4. To get 60 people to say they will come, I need to contact 120 people
  5. Thus, I need 120 people’s contact info

Keep in mind that some of those 15 will be people who are already involved, which can cut down on your numbers a lot. In this example, every 1 person already involved is 8 contacts I don’t need.

Some places where you might find people interested in participating in an arts education campaign include:

  • PTA meetings
  • Arts Organizations
  • After School Artist Instructors
  • Other community groups
  • School Advisory committees
  • Arts Coordinator’s contacts
  • Local businesses
  • Student leaders 

If you already have a group assembled, make your recruitment efforts a leadership development opportunity and give everyone a role. Some examples include:

  • Going to other group’s meetings
  • Contacting other group leaders
  • Maintaining our chapter database/email list
  • Planning info sessions
  • Running initial trainings

Set a time early in the campaign by which you want to have recruited all the volunteers you need, but remember, always be recruiting.

Maximizing Recruitment

Once you get someone involved, give that person something to do right away and make a follow-up plan. Pitfall here is to have an info session, get to know each other then set another meeting to figure out the action plan. Have an action plan in mind already and give them something to do.

Have a kick-off meeting. Get as many of your new recruits in a room at the same time. Make it fun. Leave the meeting with everyone having an action plan.

Leadership Development Overview

“the only real training for leadership is leadership” – Anthony Jay

Good leadership is not about having followers, it’s about developing more leaders. Any good campaign serves more than the campaign goals, it also enables leadership development. Roles should always be meaningful and build upon a person’s skills and experiences.

In order for a group to grow, you need more than lots of volunteers. Without sufficient leadership, your group won’t be able to handle the growth or use its person-power effectively.

Process for developing leaders

  • Look for leadership potential in everyone
  • Motivate people to act on their concerns – lots of people care, but many don’t know what they can do to make a difference
  • Create opportunities for people to take on more responsibility
  • People stay involved because they feel challenged and feel they are having an impact
  • People take on more responsibility because they feel needed – their roles must serve a specific and necessary function to the cause they care about
  • Thoughtful feedback is what enables leaders to develop – don’t just continue to assign tasks, take time to reflect and help people understand their strengths and weaknesses
  • People stay involved because they feel part of a community and a movement

The "Leadership Ladder"

It’s important to have a plan for how you can develop volunteers into leaders.  Every campaign can be broken down to roles of progressing levels of responsibility.