Commissioner Recruiting

Jason P. Hood, Council Commissioner, Chickasaw Council

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It's a privilege for me to share ideas with so many of my council commissioner peers. And it's a privilege to address a vital topic—building a complete team.

No major league baseball team has ever had a winning season with only eight players on the ball diamond. Nine players are a must. They must have a complete team. Check all your districts; how close are they to a three-to-one ratio of units to commissioners. You too must have a complete team. And recruiting is a journey, never a destination.

As a council commissioner your arms have a long, long reach as you build a full team. Let every one know you expect a complete team. It can happen.

The National Office has a periodic report called the "District Scouters Report" to help councils monitor their progress in providing a complete team of commissioners (It reports district committee members too.)

The latest copy is on your chairs. Scout executives receive this report at the end of each quarter.

  • Use this report as another tool to motivate commissioner leaders and professional staff to complete your council's commissioner team.
  • If the national report numbers seem low, take measures to be sure that current commissioners are registered. The report is based on the registration database.

Many districts and councils have work to do. Some are doing great! Even if your council has achieved 100 percent of the commissioners and district committee people needed, consider recruiting quality trainees to fill future vacancies. People move on to new locations and new opportunities. Challenge your district Key 3s to quickly develop a complete team.


So Let Me Share Some Ideas on Recruiting Commissioners:

  1. First, BE RECRUITER READY. Teach your district commissioners to develop a "recruiting mentality"; to be on the lookout for good commissioner prospects 365 days a year.
  2. Second, you and your Scout executive and/or staff advisor must both make it a priority. Talk about it together. Suggest to the Scout executive that this be a critical achievement for all district executives. Let your district commissioners know it is an expectation.
  3. Next, discuss with each district commissioner and district executive their target staff size and current staffing level. Ask each district commissioner/district executive team to develop an action plan for recruiting. Have a team present their plan to the council commissioner meeting. Bring them back in two or three months to report on results.
  4. Train district commissioners and ADCs in recruiting techniques. Hold a training session on commissioner recruiting at a future council commissioner meeting.
  5. Make commissioner recruiting a part of all council commissioner meetings. Make it fun. Make it competitive between districts.
  6. Another idea—provide recognition. Every current commissioner who recruits a new person gets a neat gift...or is entered in a drawing for a donated family getaway weekend.
  7. And remember—a commissioner is not considered recruited until his/her application (paid or multiple) is submitted to the council service center.



A Simple Plan

Let me share a simple 3-phase plan.

It's a plan that resulted in a 49% annual growth in commissioners in seven councils which used it a few years ago in one region. In the same year, other councils in the region had a 4% loss in commissioners.

Here's the plan: It has 3 "Rs"

Phase 1: Review roster. Because some active commissioners might not be registered, each district commissioner/district executive team compares its staff list with a list of registered commissioners provided by the council registrar.

The registrar also indicates the number of new commissioners needed to achieve the 1-per-3 unit ratio and the number of new commissioners needed.

Any of those not registered are then registered by the districts (paid or multiple).

Phase 2: Recruitment. Some districts will still have vacancies. Challenge the districts to adopt a recruiting plan to achieve a 1-per-3 unit ratio as well as provide a couple of trainees to fill future vacancies. Set a deadline for completion.

Use pages 16 to 20 in Commissioner Administration manual as a resource for individual recruiting, group recruiting, recruiting resources, and sources for commissioners.

Districts report results at monthly commissioner meetings and council staff meetings. Prominently display current status in the council service center.

Phase 3: Recognition. Recognize district commissioner/district executive teams for meeting their recruiting goals.




Know the 8 steps to recruiting a single individual.

  1. Determine what positions are needed.
  2. Determine the best prospects for the job.
  3. Research the prospects at the top of the list.
  4. Make an appointment.
  5. Make the sale.
  6. Ask for a commitment.
  7. Have a fall-back position in mind if the prospect says no.
  8. Follow up if the prospect says yes.

You may know these 8 steps, but the magic is in the details. Check out the details to each step in the Commissioner Administration manual.



Do you have a district with a major lack of quality unit commissioners? Do you have a district that needs to reduce its unit-to-commissioner ratio from 10 to 1 to 3 to 1 with an infusion of new people in a quick and efficient manner? Then, consider urging the District Key 3 to plan a group recruiting event.

Here's how it works:

The Key 3 decides on the date, time, place, and nature of the event. They develop a list of prospects; brainstorm names at an informal gathering of community leaders; obtain names from district Scouters and key unit leaders; and add their own prospects based on the qualities needed.

They select a host who can attract prospects, perhaps the district commissioner. The host invites prospects to his or her club, office, home, backyard barbecue, or other attractive or prestigious location. A breakfast, lunch, or reception may be a good setting. You might obtain a celebrity chef or a celebrity who serves as honorary chef for the event.

Written invitations are followed up by a phone squad. Important—recruit them to attend the event, not to be a commissioner. If a person says they cannot attend the event, ask "Would you like a representative from our commissioner staff to visit with you at your convenience?"

The program inspires, tells the commissioner story, presents the need, and asks for a commitment. The event should be relaxed enough to enjoy good fellowship but structured enough to emphasize the importance of commissioners and to get a commitment.

Create excitement about the role of unit commissioner with an article in community newspapers or a brochure in the invitation letter.

Have commissioners pick up prospects and drive them to the event or arrive early and act as greeters. Place each prospect at a table with a commissioner who can help close the sale.

Provide group orientation within 10 days of the event perhaps on the same day of the week and at the same location.

A group recruiting event can bring a commissioner staff up to speed quickly. People seek association with others. If the group includes the right people, and their reaction is positive, most will agree to serve. When a group is recruited together, they can be trained together. They can build team spirit and quickly begin to function effectively.



Obviously, having a quality district commissioner in place in every district is part of your secret to success. But you may feel helpless because their selection is in the hands of so many other people removed from your direct influence.

Let me share this idea:

Official district election procedures stipulate that the council president must approve the members of a district nominating committee. The president has the discretion to add a member from the council executive board. In the event of a vacancy in the office of district commissioner or when there in the need for a change, suggest that the president appoint you as member of that district's nominating committee. You can then help them understand the kind of person needed and guide them in selecting a high caliber person who has the right qualities for the job.