Article produced with the help of Angel Martinez, director of Scouting relations and communications at the Alamo Area Council.
The Alamo Area Council began using the BSA online registration system in 2016. During that time, the council team has seen positive results in terms of happy Scout families, volunteers whose lives are easier, and greater efficiencies for council registration processes.
As the council team has worked to register Scouts and adults with the evolving system, they have gleaned valuable insights about why it’s a vital tool, and they’ve developed some strategies to help make online registration work even more effectively.
Leading this charge is Angel Martinez, director of Scouting relations and communications for the council.
“I want people to be happy,” Angel said. “Most Scouters want things simple and done right the first time so they can do what we do best – outdoor adventure!”
It’s no secret that it can take a long time to get signatures on paper applications and even more time to take the physical applications to the council office for processing. And even when they finally make it to the office, there can sometimes be issues with the information on the forms. This can result in confusion, errors and frustrating delays that impact all parts of the Scouting program.
Eliminating that confusion and frustration was a big motivating factor for the Alamo Area Council to embrace online registration.
But, like any change, it came with an adjustment period. Some volunteer leaders were initially skeptical that this new tool would solve most of their frustrations.
To help get those volunteers comfortable with the online registration system, Angel knew he first needed to build trust among the council’s Scouting community. He started by developing his strategy and doing some key legwork to rally his volunteers. But it wasn’t all business. Angel made sure to make it a fun and rewarding process.
Here are Angel’s steps to success:
- Start by asking the right questions (here are a few example questions Angel asked his volunteers)
- What do you think about online membership registration and leads, and why do you think that?
- Do you believe in what we are doing centered around the Scout Oath and Law and in service to all youth becoming our future leaders?
- What’s your vision for the future growth of Scouting around our mission to serve more youth?
- Would you please help us?
- Would you please consider doing your best to support online membership registration and leads?
- Be a good listener
- Have food around when you are doing items 1 and 2
- Say “thank you”
Step number 3 might be the real secret sauce to Angel’s success. In fact, the Alamo Area Council hosted a free online-membership registration training (with food of course) for all its volunteers. Hundreds of Scouters attended.
“Our whole staff, including our Scout executive, served grilled hotdogs and pork tacos and listened,” Angel said.
The council even invited Debra Kendrew, who was the national special projects director at the time, to speak at the training and answer volunteers’ questions.
The event was a huge success!
Alamo Area Council has continued conversations and trainings with everyone involved in online registration, and the team has seen those efforts pay off in terms of membership, efficiency and customer satisfaction.
For the most up-to-date resources and training on online registration and lead management, visit: https://www.scouting.org/resources/online-registration/.