Awards ceremonies: A showcase for recruitment

Use awards ceremonies for your programs to recruit youth, families and volunteers.

It takes effort to draw the interest of youth and families and inspire them to join a community, especially if they’re not familiar with the program. For volunteer-driven programs like a mentoring or a 4-H program, it takes considerable effort to successfully recruit caring, responsible adults to serve as volunteers to work with youth. Staff members in community organizations use different methods to recruit youth, families and volunteers to become participants in their programs. They create brochures, fliers, radio and television advertisements, and profiles on social media to market their programs. They also spend time going to different meetings and events to build relationships for programming.

Have you considered utilizing a program showcase to recruit youth, families and volunteers? A showcase, much like an awards ceremony that celebrates the participants in your program, can be used as a recruitment tool. These types of ceremonies are a celebration and show the best that your program has to offer.

Where can you start? As you’re recruiting, keep a database of the contacts you have made and send an awards ceremony invite to all of your contacts. Invite potential community partners and add a personal note inviting them to experience the impact of the program through firsthand stories.

To help inspire the potential youth, families and volunteers, Michigan State University Extension suggests incorporating the following into the ceremony to highlight how participants, volunteers and partners are appreciated and show what the program offers:

  • Honor all youth participants and volunteers.
  • Honor all programs you partner or collaborate with.
  • For the different awards, give a background description of the award to reflect its purpose and the type of accomplishments that are awarded in the organization.
  • Allow a youth participant, parent, guardian, family member, volunteer or community partner to share an impact story as a result of participating or partnering with your program.
  • Have a short video or slide show to offer a visual of the program in action.
  • Keep it as brief as possible.
  • Offer some refreshments.

Last but not least, follow up with the families, potential volunteers and community partners that were invited to see if they have any questions. Also, check and see if they would like a follow-up meeting to learn more about the program.

Recruiting takes a “best foot forward” effort. Take the time to showcase your program to the community for others to see the best in your program and influence them to be a participant or a partner for your program.

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