Recruitment

Platoon Recruitment


Recruitment is one of the most important tasks for a Platoon Leader, and it’s also an area where some new Platoon Leaders struggle. The purpose of this section is to provide a quick, easy reference for your early recruitment efforts.

Membership Types

Platoons are divided up into three types of members. This allows you to better track where your members are coming from, their background, and level of involvement.

  • Platoon Member - an active member of the Platoon, who has served or is currently serving in the United States military.
  • Platoon Community Member - an active member of the Platoon who has not served in the military.
  • External Volunteer - any individual who has participated in a Platoon event, but is not has decided not to be a member of the Platoon. 
We also track memberships based on active and inactive. Active members are those who have participated in at least one event in the recent past. Inactive members are those who have signed up and not come to an event, or have not been active in the Platoon for a significant amount of time. 

It is up to the Platoon leader to keep tabs on their roster and place individuals in the inactive roster that they have not seen for a long time. 

Three Principals of Recruiting


There are three basic principles that you should always keep in mind when recruiting:

Recruit With a Purpose


When you talk to someone, have a clear invitation for them to attend your platoon’s events. Use those events to find out about their needs, and see what skills they bring to bear for your Service Platoon. If you don’t have a reason for recruiting, create one. Ask new members to take a specific action that includes them in your community.


Remind veterans they are joining a new team of dedicated Platoon Members taking action to build a stronger nation at home, changing the perception of this generation of veterans, and dedicating themselves to a new mission. They can even have some fun while doing it! This is an opportunity for them to build camaraderie and gain valuable volunteer experience.

An individual that becomes a great volunteer is one that uses their skills and passion for the mission, not one that is meeting a job description or criteria.

When recruiting an individual, the most important question you can ask them is:

"What do you want to do to help out?"

Let them determine their first step into the program and use that as a foundation to grow a great volunteer.

Use Your Network


As a Mission Continues Platoon Leader, you are part of a large network - use it! The first people you could recruit are your friends, colleagues, and other Alumni in the area. They can recruit their own friends and colleagues. They can also help you connect with larger recruitment sources like nonprofits, military bases, and local leaders who can get your message out to hundreds or thousands of potential Platoon Members. If you’re stuck, talk to your members and ask, “Who do we know?”


Follow Up


This one is best explained with an anecdote. When Service Platoons were in the pilot phase, a Mission Continues staffer called through all of the Alumni in Orlando to get them to sign up. Seven Alumni answered during the first round of calls, and all of them agreed to join. Each Alumnus received an email with a sign-up link within 5 minutes of the call. For 36 hours, none of them signed up. These were people who were excited about the program, knew the people running it, and wanted to be involved. After 36 hours, the staffer sent each Alumnus a reminder email. Within 30 minutes, 5 out of 7 were signed up. It’s all about follow-up. A little persistence makes the difference between recruiting success and failure.


Recruitment Techniques

Attention

We cannot get veterans’ attention unless we are visible in the public and on social media. 

How do we gain veterans’ attention?
  • We are a unit
  • We are doing something different
  • We are professional
  • We are visible to the public

Interest

We have to engage veterans one-on-one to get them interested in joining the Service Platoon.

How do we gain veterans’ interest?
We tell them our mission

Decision

Don’t let them walk away. A lot of people wait for a personal invitation. 

How do we allow the veteran to decide?
  • We ask them to join
  • We ask them to come to a specific event
  • We ask them how they want to contribute
  • We show them how to become a leader and empower them

Action

Getting a veteran to join is 10% of the success. Making sure a veteran is engaged is the other 90% of the success. This happens at events.

How do we get veterans to act?
We invite them to specific projects

Platoon Member Recruitment

The main goal of recruiting is to grow your Platoon. But, recruitment is not a numbers game or a quota. It is about creating and executing awesome service events and building a strong team so veterans can feel that same sense of camaraderie they had in the military. In order to do that, you have to not only have enough people on the books, but have enough people actively engaged in your Service Platoon. Successful Platoon growth may also encourage the launching of new Platoons in your community. Once a Service Platoon gets too large, it is practical to create a new Platoon and have two or more mission focuses for our veterans to engage with. Note: Final decision to launch new Service Platoons is up to the leadership at The Mission Continues.


Using the model Attention, Interest, Decision, Action (AIDA), you can lay out your model to successfully recruit. It should be noted that all of these steps can happen in a variety of situations and take various amounts in time. Having a solid message, a clear mission, and an updated calendar of events will always result in positive recruitment outcomes. While we do track how many people sign up every week, the true result of a successful recruitment is the number of people who attend events.


New Member Patch Ceremony



At every Service Event or Support Event, we have the Patch Ceremony. At the end of the event, the Platoon Leader will ask all new members to step forward. Whether or not you want to go formal and have them stand in a row or just gather around is up to the Platoon Leader. The Platoon Leader will then present the new members with the Shield Patch, City Chevron, and Platoon Chevron. You can also use this moment to give the new members a chance to say a few words and introduce themselves.

Depending on the event, this might also be a good time to thank specific members for the work they did and recognize them. This can be done with a pre-selected gift or item from The Mission Continues. This will show how appreciative you are of the people who helped plan the event and recognize the hard working volunteers on the day of the event. Some Platoons may have a Volunteer of the Month or some other type of award that can be presented at this time. 

This is also an opportunity to bring up a distinguished VIP who was at the event, a corporate sponsor representative, or the person who is in charge of the site that your event was servicing. Make this as formal or as informal as you want, but be sure you take the time to build the Platoon camaraderie and to let them know that they are a part of a new community of veterans that is making a difference. 

Patches

Our logo not only tells the world about The Mission Continues, but also tells the story of each veteran and their work serving the community through a patch system similar to those used in military service.

  • Houston City / Platoon: Veterans receive two unit chevron patches after joining a local Service Platoon. 
  • One represents the community the Service Platoon serves. The other denotes the specific platoon with which the veteran serves.
  • 2014 Fellow Class: Veterans who serve as Fellows receive a unit chevron patch at fellowship orientation after taking an oath of continued service. This chevron patch represents the fellowship class with which the veteran serves.
Patches can be ironed or sewn onto most fabrics. We recommend veterans apply them to the left sleeve of their Mission Continues t-shirt. If members have additional shield patches, they may affix them to other apparel, but their main shield and chevron patch are to only be put on Mission Continues gear. For example, many members put a shield patch on a Team Red, White, and Blue running shirt, but this is not to be the main shirt they wear to Mission Continues events.