Meet the Unit Membership Chairman, your new best friend in recruiting

troopCommitteeYour best recruiting and retention tool is an adult volunteer already in your unit. He or she just doesn’t know it yet.

Don’t delay in filling the newly created Unit Membership Chairman position. This Scouter is a member of your unit’s committee whose sole focus is membership growth and retention. Think of it like the district or council membership chairmen who are responsible for growth at those levels of Scouting.

What do they do? And what resources are available to take the stress off whoever takes on this daunting but vital job?

All that and more after the jump.

What a Unit Membership Chairman does
  • Meet with the unit leaders and committee monthly to discuss membership goals and retention.
  • Conduct at least two recruitment/Scouting promotion events per year to ensure unit growth using the peer-to-peer recruitment method.
  • Distribute membership fliers to schools and churches in the unit’s area.
  • Conduct Scouting rallies and boy talks in schools, leveraging council support when needed.
  • Attend the district’s membership chair training sessions, which will focus on best practices.
  • Have your unit be involved in the required amount of Adopt-a-School service and community service projects needed for Scouting’s Journey to Excellence score.
  • Ensure that new youth and adult applications along with funds are completed and turned into the council service center within a week after receipt of the applications.
  • Work with the unit committee to ensure the unit reaches Scouting’s Journey to Excellence gold status in membership.
  • Update the unit’s BeAScout pin and follow up with leads.
  • Have your unit participate in a fall and spring recruitment plan.
  • Work with the district transition chair to encourage youth to transition to the age-appropriate program as they grow older.
  • Have an annual customer satisfaction survey done with current Scout families.
What resources are available?

Plenty. There are new online resources for the unit membership chair and council membership/relationship chair, at this excellent site.


You’ll find information on community projects, membership analysis, marketing, Webelos-to-Scout transition plans and more. Other resources to assist your unit in membership can also be found at

Enjoy practical methods, new videos and ideas for developing and implementing successful membership campaigns. The all-new videos are hosted by a nice cross-section of members of the National Council’s professional staff. And yes, there’s even a video hosted by me, but don’t let that discourage you from watching.

Most importantly: Good luck in your recruiting efforts!

9 thoughts on “Meet the Unit Membership Chairman, your new best friend in recruiting

  1. I’d like to know other’s opinions on filling committee roles.
    Obviously the top 2 roles are the Chair and Treasurer.
    After that, in order of importance, what do you think should be filled next?
    Here are the other troop committee positions
    Advancement Chair
    Equipment Coordinator
    Outdoor/Activities Chair
    Membership Chair
    Training Chair
    Public Relations
    Friends of Scouting
    Scouting for Food
    Troop Chaplain

    • According to the Troop Committee Guidebook, the first 5 are essential for quality troop operation. I’ve ordered them according to my personal opinion:

      Committee Chair
      Treasurer (also coordinates fundraising and FoS)
      Outdoor/Activities Coordinator
      Advancement Coordinator
      Secretary (Handles PR)
      Training Chair
      Equipment Chair

      Note that the Guidebook also lists the following positions : New Scout Parent Unit Coordinator, Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator, OA Representative / Advisor.

  2. If I had to put an order of importance to “any given unit”, it would be:

    unit leader
    unit chair
    finance/secretary chair
    membership chair
    outdoor/activities chair
    advancement chair
    training chair
    unit chaplain/religious emblems coordinator
    community service chair
    Assistant unit leaders (to fill any program needs/wants for your unit)

    I choose this order as a general list because it hits the biggest needs first (i.e. a sound bank account, youth members to keep the unit alive, and the outing in Scouting) and then it hits the committee levels that are usually a round two need. we need someone to keep an eye on our youth’s advancement and our unit’s training needs.

    But this list is a general list that I see as the “ideal” importance list. every unit will have different strengths, weaknesses, and focus areas. Maybe your unit is a church related unit and so your troop will put more importance on religious emblems, or maybe your pack is chartered by a service club so the community service chair is a higher priority. It really takes a committee meeting to sit down and ask “what is our focus, aims, and then what is our personnel needs.” I hope this helps.

  3. My son and I just crossed over from Cub Scouts 9 months ago, I am surprised by the lack of recruiting I see going on in our Troop. Any organization needs to be promoting and recruiting to stay healthy, so great move in creating the Unit Membership Chairman position!

    • ScouterMark, you’ve touched on one of my biggest concerns. I think this might be the biggest issue in retention and would like to see some discussion on this….

      Recruiting from Troops to Cub Scouts is the ONE area that shouldn’t be “boy lead”. It’s my belief that we DON’T see a lot of recruiting is because teens leaders don’t have this topic on their radar. They’re worrying about planning camping and hiking trips, merit badges and troop meetings.

      IMHO, this should be the one area that either the Committee or SM should impose some “requirements” on the boys. Or have 1 or 2 ASMs who are responsible for recruiting. Camping trips with Webelos should mandated and planned on the troop calendar. Two to 5 troops meetings in the fall or late spring should either be focused on Webelos visitations or at least accommodating. Q&A sessions with adults should be planned, rehearsed and prepared for by the adults. A healthy troop (unless they just have an excellent feeder pack) should replace outgoing boys with rising Tenderfoots.

      Clarke Green at (which I recommend everyone subscribe to!! 🙂 ) had a good video blog on this not too long ago:

      • Whenever there is an event at school that our Scouts wear their uniforms for my son always wears his sash, even if it is not needed for the event. He always gets a few boys come up and ask about the different Merit Badges and starts the conversation about Scouts. He always carries the Boy Scout Peer to Peer invitation cards with our meeting location and time on them. It has worked to help generate interest in some of the boys, not just in his class but others as well.

    • This position is a great idea. We have used this position in our troop for 4-5 years now, although a few of the duties listed have been handled by the SM (moi) and 1-2 other TC members. Further, you cannot overstate the importance of Boy Scout interactions with Webelos as a recruitment factor. All events that result in direct interactions with Webelos are planned and conducted by our Scouts, although gentle reminders to include such opportiunities during annual planning have sometimes been provided by the SM.

      I wouldn’t have used mikemenn’s word choices (imposed, requirements), although I and the other adult leaders have worked with the PLC to maintain a constant awareness of recruitment and retention needs.

      A few things our troop does that may be useful for the Troop Membership Chair to keep in mind:
      — A troop meeting event where Webelos are the focus is always included on the calendar in the fall and Webelos are welcomed to meetings throughout the year. Our Scouts are reminded of the importance of “Friendly, Courteous and Kind” prior to that meeting and are also asked to reflect on how intimidated they were when they were Webelos visiting a troop of (older, larger) Scouts.
      — The PLC makes sure that there are multiple outdoor events on the calendar that are appropriate and convenient for Webelos participation. And there is always a handful of Webelos who need just one outdoor event before crossing over — encourage a hike for January and/or February.
      — Den Chiefs: I’m not 100% on board with the statement “Your best recruiting and retention tool is an adult volunteer.” If you have Den Chiefs who are well trained and actively serving a den, then you have the best recruiting tool (tools?) possible. Consider an ASM dedicated just to Den Chief support and training. There may be an ASPL role there too for larger troops.
      — A good troop program goes a long way as well. Are your Scouts having fun? Webelos will pick up on that fast. If you have one, then your Den Chiefs and Membership Chair should be selling it (“let me tell you about our last summer camp!”).
      — Support your local packs: If your troop isn’t using it yet, then you should know that Scouts love the National Honor Patrol Award (goes to show that it’s not about the size of the patch). Suggest to your PLC (or SPL) that patrol support of a Pinewood Derby or pack camping trip would make an excellent service project that could be applied towards NHP Award. Provide dates, points of contact, and whatever other support they need to help them make it happen.

  4. Personally, most of the units I work with would be happy to get the main 5 filled – Chairman, Secretary, Advancement Chair, Equipment Coordinator, Outdoor/Activities Chair. Anything after that would be cake.

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