At this time of year, many Clubs and Projects are seeking to bring in new volunteer Leaders. As you know, leaders are the key to good developmental and enjoyable experiences for young people in our Clubs. About 1,000 new volunteer Leaders join Foróige each year, mainly recruited by existing Leaders. Most people who get involved in Clubs do so because another Leader has asked them. We say "Yes" to people we trust more easily than to strangers. Here is some advice on how to find more Leaders. It's not always easy - but this is what experts recommend.
Firstly, decide on the role for new Leaders. Remember - if you don’t have a real role with practical things for the new leaders to do, they are likely to drop out. Do this by talking to other leaders, members or staff. Read the role description for an Adult Leader. Answers to the following questions will give you a clear idea of the kind of Leader you are looking for.
- What qualities & skills do we want a new leader to have?
- Do we want someone ongoing – or for a particular project for a defined period?
- What are the main things the new Leader will be doing while they are here?
The next step is to identify all the people in your area who might fit that role. In your mind, visit each local street, road, estate. Go house by house thinking about who you know there and consider if they would fit in as a Leader, someone who has a lot to offer to young people. Sometimes we know people for years but may never have thought of them as potential Leaders. If you don’t know the area, get help from someone who does. Consider parents, students doing relevant courses, retired people, new arrivals in the community, past members and Leaders.
Remember that a leader can be aged 18+, right up to any age. A mixture of ages is a good thing. Consider too how will they get on with the existing Leaders.
- Work out who should to ask each person on the list, as most people respond better to being asked by someone they know and trust.
- Decide how to talk to potential Leaders about the Club. What good things have you done, what do the members enjoy, what are the future plans for the Club?
- Be positive and confident – you are offering a great opportunity for someone to get to know the Young People of the area. Talk about why the Club is important.
- Tell the person the good things you get out of being a Leader such as getting to know the Young People, seeing them grow, the social relationship with other Leaders, training for yourself and being part of Foróige.
- Listen to what interest or motivates them and respond. It is important that they get something out of being a leader e.g. experience, satisfaction, sense of belonging.
- Consider allowing potential volunteers to try out the Club under the supervision of a current Leader. Get some members to tell them about the Club and thank them for coming.
- Tell them of supports available such as training, other Leaders and Foróige staff.
When they say yes!
- Provide the Foróige volunteer application & the Garda Vetting Application.
- Give their contact details to the Foróige staff person/Regional Youth Officer.
- Arrange for them to attend an upcoming Level One training session and Child Protection training.
- No one can join as an ongoing leader until the Regional Youth Officer has checked references, etc.
Most importantly! Don’t presume the new person will know what to do. Welcome them, make space for them, encourage them, help them to get to know the members and to take on tasks.