Recruiting for your team: Volunteer Website
This website is a volunteering roles board for Extinction Rebellion UK
The website aims to help volunteers find roles and groups to find volunteers. (We've used the term 'volunteer' throughout rather than 'rebel' as it is better understood by people completely new to XR.)
Preparing for new people
Before you even start recruiting, think about how you will look after the people when they arrive. New people often find XR quite bewildering and overwhelming! To minimise the chances they disappear as fast as they arrive, they will need a bit of extra care and attention at the start (typically for around a month). It is best this work falls to someone who is not frazzled from doing a ton of other things and typically this will be the team's integrator.
Standard Integrator mandate
Purpose: to make sure team members are flourishing and productive and the team has members to fill its roles and support its workload.
- Managing the group account on the website, posting roles, dealing with role applications.
- Inviting new members to join the team.
- Onboarding / inducting / orienting new members into the team.
- Keeping a list of team members up-to-date.
- Requesting your group admin / tech champ adds new members to the Hub, as required.
- Checking in with team members about their fit with roles, projects and the team generally.
- Suggesting improvements to who fills roles if necessary.
- If a transformative conflict process does not resolve an issue and if in the team’s best interests, asking someone to leave the team (rare circumstances).
Different teams break this down differently (for example you might have one person handling recruitment and a different one for onboarding) but someone will need to be responsible for each of the tasks listed above. Work out who will do what ahead of time so everyone is clear about what to expect.
Not got a team Integrator?
Then this is the first role to recruit for! You may think this person would need to know your team inside out in order to welcome others but really the most important thing is for them to be friendly, empathetic and willing to learn as they go along. There are lots of resources on this toolkit to help them.
However it is important you get to know them before giving them login details to your group account on the website since this is a position of great trust and involves handling sensitive personal data (see down this page for Data Protection).
Setting up a team account
New rebels are the lifeblood of every team! We need the energy and fresh perspective they give us to keep growing and learning; so please do use the website to help you. To get started, you will need to get a group account. Here's how:
- Go to volunteer.extinctionrebellion.uk/integrator
- Watch the short (7 min) video which explains how the site works.
- Scroll down and click 'create group account'.
- Use your XR group's email to set up an account - this needs to be an email that is checked regularly (please note we can't take personal email addresses).
- The application comes to the Rebel Pathway team for approval.
- Once the application is approved, you will receive an email with a link to click on to complete the registration.
- You are up and running and ready to post roles!
Any group is welcome to apply for an account and advertise roles but, because in practice most people wanting to volunteer locally will get in touch with their local group directly, the site mainly carries UK-wide, national or regional roles.
Writing an appealing role
- De-jargon! Try to look through the eyes of someone who knows nothing about XR. You can explain the ‘correct’ terms for things later if needed but for now communication is key e.g:
☹ Internal coordinator, external coordinator, integrator, regen, rebel
😊 Team guide, team representative, recruiter (or new joiner support person), wellbeing, volunteer
- Make it accessible Volunteers rarely have both good skills and lots of time. Asking for lots of time excludes certain groups of people and makes us less diverse as a movement. Can you break down the role? e.g. Internal Coordinators often get asked to do everything!
☹ Internal coordinator (hours: full time)
😊 Team guide (hours: 10-15/week). Recruiter (hours: 2-4/week). New joiner support person (hours: 5-9/week). Wellbeing champion (hours: 2-4/week). Secretary (hours: 2-4/week). Admin helper (hours: 2/week). Facilitator (hours: 2/week). Team tech support (hours: 2-4/week).
- Be clear what you want someone to do, especially in the job title. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to get what you are looking for. However, if you just need more team members and plan to find out what they want to do later that's fine too! If you do this, try to have a few tasks your newbie can help with right away.
- Include key words in your description. Ask yourself which search words people are most likely to use if they want a role like yours.
- Consider type of role: do you need a permanent member of the team or could the work be done as a time-limited project? The second of these is likely to attract more people, especially those who are skill-rich but time-poor.
Managing your applications
Keeping up with your account shouldn't be too much of a chore! The website is easy to use and you just need to remember a couple of key things to make things run smoothly and bring new people into your team:
- Make sure you regularly check the email address you used to set up the account. If you get any applications, a notification will be sent to this email address.
- Use the 'action' column to let volunteers know what is going on after they apply. Clicking here sends an automatic email. Try to use the first 'thumbs up' when you get their application to tell people you've received it and know they are waiting
- Contact your volunteers! This is super important; no one wants to offer their time for free and then hear nothing. This might be the first contact they have had with XR and can determine whether they become an enthusiastic contributor to the movement or someone who goes away and complains about us to their friends!
- Don't be scared to say 'no'. Not everyone is suitable for every role; it has to work out for both the volunteer and the team. Of course you can still say 'no' nicely! If after chatting to your 'applicant' you don't think they are suitable for your role maybe you can suggest some other ways they can get involved in XR. You may not get a new team member but you can still help to grow the movement. (see 'Calling volunteers' below)
Make sure you delete or hide any roles you've filled or don't need anymore. This stops the site clogging up with unavailable roles and saves you time contacting people who might apply for them.
(NB roles time-out after two months and then are hidden automatically. If you want to re-advertise the role you can un-hide it and it will reappear on the site but it will carry its orginal posting date so if you want it to appear near the top you will need to set up a new role)
- Urgent roles: if your role is genuinely urgent, please email admin support at firstname.lastname@example.org - we have the ability to bring these roles to the top of the list and give them a yellow highlight so that more people see them.
Searching for volunteers on the database
NB This option is currently only open to UK-wide teams due to data protection. Also, you will usually get a more enthusiatic and committed rebel from letting people apply for your roles. However, if you are struggling to find people and need a search, please email user support at email@example.com.
If you are in a UK-wide team and are not getting suitable applications for your role, the first step is to do a quick sense-check: is it obvious what your role is and who it is for? If yes, then maybe you want to try a search of the database. Log in to your account and go to 'Volunteer Database' in the lefthand menu. You can search for volunteers by hours offered, prefered type of work, prefered location of work and by any search term you enter (this searches the volunteer's whole profile.)
We know this can be a little nerve-wracking at first: how do you work out if this person is right for your role in just a short call? But don't worry - really it's just talking to good people with integrity. We do it all the time and this is no different. You can’t mess it up if you're open, enthusiastic and honest and “I don’t know” is a perfectly good answer - just determine if you think they’re a good rebel and a good fit to the best of your knowledge.
ALSO If the person isn’t right or doesn’t feel right, it is fine to end the call early and say "we will get in touch again when something that will suit better comes up", and advise them to go and investigate roles at their Local Group, or even to set one up. Be gentle and end positively and that is totally fine - not every rebel can do every role after all.
Here is a suggested roadmap to help when you start making calls:
Read your volunteer's profile and application message (if applicable). Get a little excited about speaking to an amazing person who may be able to help.
If no answer, either leave a voicemail or send a text/telegram/whatsapp.
If they answer, give a clear enthusiastic intro:
“Hi XXX, it’s XXX here with Extinction Rebellion, XXX team. I’m calling because you [put your hand up for volunteering with us/applied for our XXX role]. Is now a good time to chat?” Let them answer.
- If 'no', arrange a time to call them back.
- If 'yes', ask some open questions to get them talking. You want to gain their full attention and start collecting clues about them and if they’d be good for your role/s. Let them talk and hope they don’t ramble on too much or start telling you exactly where XR are going wrong and asking to meet the management. (Listen carefully for disruptive behaviour / vocabulary.)
“How are you feeling about the CEE bill?”
“How are you feeling about XR?”
“What do you know about organising with XR?”
- Once they are right there with you in the conversation (and haven’t revealed themselves to be a flat earther), build some RAPPORT - maybe share a similar anecdote and relate to their experiences. So, ask questions you can relate to but keep it heading in the right direction.
“So are you in a Local Group?” Listening. “Wow yeah mine too; they’re amazing and the Council has now declared a Climate Emergency”
“Do you have mates (volunteering) in XR too?” Listening. “Great - how's their experience, are they finding it rewarding?” Listening.
“Did you see that the EU have now declared a Climate Emergency?”
THEN ASK “So have you joined a Rebellion or Action yet?” Listening. “Wow yeah I was at XXXX action and met the most incredible people” OR “Well don’t worry we have plenty of roles that don’t require you to [Go to London for 2 weeks / Get in trouble with the Law] - like the one I’m calling about”.
- Now find out about their background and skills. Use open or closed (yes/no) questions depending on how keen they are and how long you have to chat to them etc.
CLOSED: “So I saw you had Accounting skills, which we’d love to bring to our XXXX team. Is that true?” OPEN: “So I saw you had Accounting skills, which we’d love to bring to our XXXX team; can you tell me about that?”
CLOSED: “So have you ever managed social media accounts?” OPEN: “So what’s your experience with Twitter, Facebook, Insta and such?”
CLOSED: “Have you done much copywriting?” OPEN: “Are you someone who’s good with words and writing?”
You can use alternative questioning if you have a few roles that you want to narrow down, e.g. “Would you say you’re more of a tech person or an arts person?”
Once you get a rough idea of what they are about and their strengths and specific skills, ALWAYS ASK: “How confident are you with using apps & technology to communicate?” THEN ask “And how much time do you expect to have to commit to tackling the climate emergency most weeks?”
If all has gone well and you think they are a match for your role, then you can give an overview of the team and what sort of thing they would be doing in the role.
"You’d be doing XXXX and working with a great team on XXXX project/action/topic. How does that sound?” Let them think.
DISCUSS TIME COMMITMENT. The rebel needs to be comfortable in understanding that the time required is something they can offer, or it's simply not a fit. They are then likely to drop out in a few weeks having cost your beloved team time and effort. That said, it can be hard to gauge and we have to go with our gut here often. Do stress that they don’t have to solve everything on their own and that they will have great supportive people around them.
If they need specific technical skills, DIG DEEPER on those now. Likewise, if you have reservations on time commitment, personality, commitment or anything else, follow your instincts here.
If you're happy then lay out what will happen next (but minimise barriers to entry).
Handle any last questions they have but feel free to say they're best off speaking to the person you're passing them on to.
Wrap up. “Great that's fantastic and I can't wait to introduce you to the team.” Thank them for stepping up to volunteer.
AND THATS THE CALL!
It is of course important to be aware that you are handling people's personal data and to treat it with respect. The data on the site is protected by website security and should not be copied elsewhere unless strictly necessary, in which case it should be deleted as soon as possible. All integrators should read and understand our Data Protection Policy
Site support is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
This website has been set up by the UK Rebel Pathway team and is maintained by the UK Rebel Pathway and UK Digital teams.
Information updated Jan 2021 by @hazelg