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.
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.
Network, Network, Network: You will be surprised at the network you already have!
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?”
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.
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
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