How Army Cadet Force volunteers learn to share their passion for volunteering

New resources are available to help existing Army Cadet Force volunteers share their passion volunteering and encourage new volunteers to take part. 

Working with the Army Cadet Force (ACF) Marketing team since 2016, YES, a marketing agency based in Staffordshire, have developed a useful framework of tools and resources to make it easy for existing volunteers to get new people interested in volunteering too. 

New Adult Instructors, Officers and Civilian Assistants are needed on a continuous basis to plug gaps in provision and allow for growth and expansion. There are currently about 750 adult volunteers in East Anglia in the Army Cadet Force, across 150 locations managed by the East Anglia RFCA. 

Every volunteer provides an exceptional experience for cadets, providing skills training, instilling values and building character to help release the potential of young people, every week and many weekends. Some adult volunteers spend decades with the ACF. Others, due to personal circumstances, can only give a few years. Nationally, one third of volunteers leave the ACF every year. Bringing in new volunteers is critical to the longevity of every voluntary youth organisation. 

The ACF Grass Roots framework empowers volunteers locally to recruit new volunteers. 

Some national campaigns exist to encourage new people to join, but volunteers at county level are best placed to understand the needs of their own ‘patch’ and to identify the best ways to reach key target groups of potential

“Grass Roots” is a term that refers to the main body of an organization’s membership. Here it illustrates that people locally are empowered and encouraged to identify, plan for and deliver activities and initiatives to attract and retain new volunteers.

There’s even a regular Grass Roots Recruiting newsletter with guidance on how to promote events and updates on national training and events. Anyone can opt-in to receive it

Workshops are being run to build confidence and familiarity with the Grass Roots framework. 

The ACF is running workshops around the country on topics such as Recruitment Marketing, School Engagement or Engaging the Public. These workshops can be delivered locally at evenings or weekends. They are led by David Patrick and Chris Braithwaite from YES. Chris and David have a wealth of experience in ACF recruitment having worked with ACF marketing on grassroots recruitment marketing for the last 3 years. 

CFAVs from GLSE Sector ACF, May 2019

Several counties have attended workshops, tackling every aspect of cadet and adult recruitment. Richard Ayres, The Commandant for Cheshire ACF said:“The workshop has forced us to take a much closer look at recruiting – the idea of targeted social media advertising was new to us and is something we would like to investigate.” 

The workshops typically last for two hours at times to suit the volunteers, and they are funded by the ACF national marketing team. County workshops for 2019 include:

  • Engaging the Public: How to talk about the ACF, reflect its values and deal with common misconceptions.
  • Connecting with Parents: Engaging parents and carers as volunteers.
  • Media Campaign Planning: Managing traditional and digital media to help recruit locally.
  • Running Great Induction Events: How to convert interested enquirers into passionate volunteers.
  • Managing the Recruitment Process: From initial enquiry to the Familiarisation and Assessment weekend.

The workshops can bring together the County Public Relations Officer and all those volunteers with an interest or need for training and recruitment. Email David to express interest in scheduling a workshop near you.

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