Recruitment, Leadership, Training Volunteers, & Planning Meetings

Recruitment and Leadership Development & Training Volunteers

Recruitment is the most fundamental part of any campaign.

  • 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

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?

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/Culture Organizations
  • After School Artist Instructors
  • Other community or neighborhood groups
  • School Advisory committees
  • Arts Coordinator’s contacts
  • Local businesses
  • Student leaders (student council, clubs, others)
  • Students in Higher education
  • Music venues, bookstores, gallery shows, film theaters
  • School administrators at an Art School

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.

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.

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.

  • 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

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.

The more people who have the skills to carry out a campaign and an understanding of the big picture within which you are working, the more likely you are to succeed.  Running frequent training sessions helps you to achieve this. Be sure to include accessibility when designing your training/workshop.

The more people who have the skills to carry out a campaign and an understanding of the big picture within which you are working, the more likely you are to succeed.  Running frequent training sessions helps you to achieve this.

Planning training is key to effective recruitment efforts.  Invite new volunteers to a training session right away.  As part of your recruitment planning, you should have a plan for what training you want to run to set people up for success.


Hold trainings on a regular basis.  People stay involved because they feel challenged and that they are doing something meaningful.  Training gives people new skills and empower them to take on roles in the campaign.

Plan a training session like an event.  Plan it and publicize it.  Prepare materials beforehand.

When planning a training, consider the following

  • Who is your audience?  What is their skill level?
  • How much time do you have for the training?  How will you prioritize?
  • What are the key principles you want people to take away from the training?  Set a goal and communicate it
  • Where will it take place?  Ideally somewhere with enough space and privacy for people to break out and practice
  • How can you use the training to develop leaders?  Ask people to help you run it
  • Consider a train the trainers workshop in the future once you have volunteers who want to lead projects

Sample training agenda

  1. Introductions and Agenda
  2. Campaign Context – what you’re doing and why it’s important
  3. New Skill – explain why it is important in achieving the campaign goals
  4. Review the skill – principles and methods
  5. Demonstrate the skill
  6. Setup the Roleplay – set goals and expectations
  7. Practice – have people roleplay the skill (should take the most time)
  8. Wrap-Up – what did people learn?  Questions?  Tips?
  9. Follow up survey
  10. Future action items and next steps

Running Effective Meetings

Group meetings are a great way to make group decisions, develop plans, delegate responsibilities, facilitate group trainings, etc.

  1. Intros and ice breakers ( keep it brief)
  2. Overview of agenda/goals
  3. Reports
  4. Discussion of plans for the week/month
  5. Skills training
  6. Delegate tasks
  7. Review plan and what was decided
  8. Understanding of what responsibilities folx have agreed to take on
  9. Announcements and set next meeting date/time
  10. Adjourn

(RACC acknowledges much of this Advocacy Tool Kit and information is inspired from Arts for LA)