Recruiting is a Year-Round Process
Posted on August 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Barbara Buckner
There’s always a push for Units to hold Open House or setup recruiting booths at local events, but let’s remember that recruiting isn’t a “one-time-a-year” type of event.
In order to keep the flow of members coming into your Unit at a steady pace that is manageable, and keep those members engaged (remember: Retention begins as soon as Recruiting ends!) you need to recruit all year long. How? Let’s revisit the “Calendar of Recruiting” setup on the National Headquarters website (http://www.capmembers.com/cap_national_hq/member_services/recruiting/community_involvement.cfm) and add some more suggestions:
JANUARY – “Start the new year off right by planning your recruiting and public awareness events several months in advance and preparing for the staffing that will be required.”
*Does your Unit have a Recruiting Plan?
Have you ever sat down and really thought about putting one together or do you just “wing it” as the year goes along? We have talked in the past about how important it is to have a plan for setting up and advertising your events, so this is a good month to formulate a game plan for the rest of the year. Most organizations and community events (such as Air Shows and EAA Fly-Ins) are posted well in advance so do some research on their websites for dates and how to apply to secure a booth space. Look at Community Calendars…local school events…parades…places where your Unit can hold recruiting events. Start making contacts now before you get too busy and forget or the events fill up. Plan your Open Houses as well – in between all these events – so that you are spreading out your events. Get everything together into a calendar, start pulling materials/pictures/personnel for the events, and let your PAO know so he/she can have it on their calendar to help advertise as the event dates get closer.
FEBRUARY – “In honor of the founding father’s birthday (George Washington), work with your local newspaper and get something in about
*Start a new trend in your community with a “The History of Civil Air Patrol” month! If you have members from the community that have been a part of
MARCH – “Hold a Recruiting Open House at your squadron meeting place. Have nametags, soft drinks and some small snacks and publicize it in the local newspaper. If people have been undecided on whether or not to visit, this may help them to decide.”
*This is an ideal time of the year if you are looking to recruit new cadets. They are still in school and parents will be looking for something for them to participate in over the summer, especially if they don’t plan on taking a family vacation. This gives you enough time to get them recruited by April and through their Curry Award before the summer hits – getting them “into the groove” with meetings and activities so that they will stay engaged over the summer and want to stay active once the new school year starts. But again, make sure you plan out the Open House event! Have activities for the potential members to interact with and information about your Unit and activities it has participated in available for display.
APRIL – “Start planning your summer activities since it can be difficult to track people down during the summer months. Get commitments early and often for attendance and participation at recruiting events
*Everyone agrees: Membership and attendance dips considerably over the summer months. Either people get involved with family vacations or cadets take part in some of National Cadet Activities and encampments. Don’t forget you have to keep those who won’t be attending busy with activities! This is a great time to plan some ES training, O-rides, field trips to places such as Airport Control Towers/local colleges with aviation-based programs, etc.
*Participating in parades is a get way to get exposure. Many Senior Living Centers will also hold special Memorial Day events for its Veteran-residents and would be happy to have
Recruiting doesn’t mean just setting up booths and handing out applications – its letting people know who we are and that we are in their community. The more exposure your Unit takes advantage of with events such as parades and press releases, the easier it will be to get people to want to hear about
JUNE – “On Flag Day (14 June), have cadets hand out little flags at a heavily trafficked area in your community.”
*Add a simple sticker or business card to the flag with your Unit’s information for them to learn more.
And don’t forget: Your Unit can fundraise for Wreaths Across America
JULY – “July 4th…these possibilities are endless! Parades, Big sales at shopping centers with LOTS of customers, Community events! Get out there in uniform and be visible and make a good impression in your city or town. When someone stops you and asks what group you belong to, hand them a
*This is probably the hardest month for Units to keep their members engaged. And because of the weather, most members may not want to sit in meetings every week – so make July your “get out and do
AUGUST – “Back-to-School time! Put up a
*Get the Cadets involved in recruiting! Remind them that they only need to recruit two new members in order to qualify for the Cadet Recruiting Ribbon! But make it a goal for them to strive towards: set it up as a “recruiting drive” that they not only have to recruit two new members, but also serve as their mentor through their Curry Award before getting “credit” for the recruit. It helps the new Cadet “fit in” to the Unit and get involved by getting through their Curry and teaches the current Cadets that its more than just signing people up, its about helping each other succeed.
SEPTEMBER – “Still Back-to-School time!”
*This is another good time to host an Open House….not only to recruit students, but parents and teachers as well.
Yes - don’t forget to talk to the teachers! Encourage them to join as Aerospace Education members by introducing them to our Teacher Orientation Program (TOP flights – formerly called Fly-A-Teacher).
OCTOBER – “Hold a Parent’s Night at the Squadron so that parents can get to know each other as well as the
*Partnership with parents is a vital for the success of a cadet program. Building trust with the parents and keeping communication lines open not only helps keep them informed, but also helps keep their Cadets engaged in the program and spreads the word to attract new members.
Remember the annual “Safety Down Day” we were required to have every October? Well, why not still continue to have a “Safety Day” but turn it into a community event? Host a class at your Unit and invite the community to attend! You can even partner with your local Fire Department to do a joint presentation.
NOVEMBER – “Organize a group of members to wear their uniforms and attend any Veterans Day celebrations or events and hand out
This is also a good month to hold a “Year-In-Review” meeting at your Unit and invite family and friends of members to attend to see what your Unit has been involved in all year, listen to the stories that Cadets and Seniors can share about those activities and talk about plans for the next year.
DECEMBER – “Two opportunities here: 1 December is
*For Seniors, wear your uniform to work (if you can) on December 1st and strike up conversation about