Recruitment Using Social Media
In 2018, it seems like everyone has access to social media! Whether it’s through computers, tablets or cellphones – the majority of society is connected. So let’s start this section by looking at recruitment through social media marketing.
Community Literacy of Ontario would like to see agencies take advantage of recruitment opportunities that are available to you through social media platforms. To assist you with this, CLO has done a lot of work in this area and it’s all freely available of CLO’s website.
Take some time to read through the June 2016 Marketing Your Literacy Agency Newsletter which has some fantastic strategies! Watch the Art of the Tweet and Put Your Best Facebook Forward webinars; and don’t miss out on visiting the Social Media Marketing modules which explore a variety of platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn!
Successful Learner Recruitment Strategies
Community Literacy of Ontario has collected information from its member agencies on effective learner recruitment strategies and we would like to share the highlights with you.
Effective learner recruitment strategies from Ontario’s community literacy agencies include the following:
- Set up a year-round recruitment committee made up of one or two board members, staff and community members.
- Make sure all staff and volunteers are aware of how important a friendly, helpful, warm attitude and atmosphere is to current and potential adult students.
- Use advertising targeted at youth – radio and social media platforms.
- Create student business cards to share with family and friends. These cards empower the current students and also serve as a tool for recruiting new students.
- Offer casual help to your community. For example, hold a drop in night at your literacy agency and offer to help people complete forms free of charge.
- Hold a pizza lunch open house where potential learners can come in and speak with current learners.
- Offers a “bring a friend day” for all current students. Advertise this event and offer special promotions to the guests and to students who bring in friends.
- Encourage learners and volunteers to share program material in their communities in order to raise awareness of literacy issues and the services offered by your agency.
- Have students write and publish their own student newsletter to share with current and potential students.
- Conduct a sidewalk survey or have special events on International Literacy Day.
- Officially recognize learners who have referred other learners to your program.
- Holds a coffee house once per year. Invite adults from the community to read their own poetry or prose. Invite local musicians, singers and artists to showcase their talents. Have students help with the planning and implementation.
- Talk about “essential skills”, “upgrading”, or the “skills needed to get a job or keep a job” rather than “literacy”
- Practice targeted recruitment. Created recruitment messages for this group and then test them with a potential target group.
- Put bookmarks, brochures, business cards, magnets, etc. into as many locations in our community as possible: doctor’s offices, schools, libraries, community centers, playgroups, health units, legal aid offices, bus shelters, and malls.
More Successful Learner Recruitment Strategies…
- Participate in community events (fall fairs, special events, community barbecues, town hall meetings, etc.).
- Have an advisory committee made up of diverse groups from your community provide advice on outreach strategies.
- Produces promotional material directly aimed at people with very low reading skills. This material has few words and uses mostly pictures.
- Hold an information night for the general public at your literacy agency annually or bi-annually.
- Use goal path related materials with learners and talk to them about what is of interest to them.
- Simplify your program information and designed it with the learner in mind using simple, clear and eye-catching messages.
- Use tear-off information sheets in laundromats, train and bus stations and fast food places – yes they still work!
- Conduct seasonal promotions around Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Mother’s Day, etc.
- Showcase your flexibility in your promotional material – clearly show the range of services/programs that you provide and that there is also choice and flexibility in schedules (both days and evenings are available).
- Hold a “celebrating learner success” night where current learners, their family and friends and community members are invited.
- Deliver information sessions onsite at Ontario Works to increase your exposure.
- Ask students where they heard about your program and track this information so you can target your recruitment efforts in the most effective way.
- Have a team of staff, volunteers and students deliver flyers directly to people’s homes and to social service agencies.
- Approach professionals, like doctors, lawyers and religious leaders so they can share your pamphlet or business card with potential learners.
- Offer a warm and friendly atmosphere, and also ensure that your office presents a professional appearance both to enhance your credibility and to show respect for your learners.
- Contact people in your network of social service agencies and the business community directly to tell them about your programming.
Northern Connections: A Recruitment Success Story
Connections Adult Learning (aka Northern Connections Adult Learning Centres), in Sharbot Lake and Northbrook,has effectively used the essential skills and occupational curricula to successfully recruit new students.
Connections uses the occupational curricula that were developed by several of Ontario’s Regional Literacy Networks. In order to market the occupational curricula, Connections created a letter, calendar and posters. Connections also wrote two articles on the occupational curricula that had a greater response rate than any marketing they had previously done. They had 15 calls and four drop-ins within the two weeks that they ran the articles in their local paper. These may not seem like big numbers to some, but for a small, rural program it is significant.
The other area that Connections has been emphasizing is digital technology. As both Connections’ sites are located in a large rural area on the Canadian Shield, effective high-speed internet has been developed slowly and still is not available at a reasonable cost for many area residents. Because of this many people do not have skills to compete for work, to work at further education or even to access community information and services. Connections has developed a number of workshops, of around 20 hours each, on interesting and inviting digital tech topics. Some examples are: Using Android Devices, Using ipad or iphone, Introduction to Computers – Windows 10, Working with Digital Photos, Using Open Office, Using Google Docs, Intro to Spreadsheets, etc. As well as working on Competency D Use Digital Technology, these workshops also develop skills in A. Find and Use Information, B. Communicate Ideas and Information and/or C. Understand and Use Numbers.
Two More Resources…..
The Minnesota Literacy Council works in partnership with volunteer literacy programs to recruit and refer learners and volunteers to adult literacy programs. You can read about their outreach ideas and resources in this article. In fact, we highly recommend that you visit the Services section Services Section of their website to access a wealth of terrific volunteer management resources!
And if you want to look more closely at young adults, we suggest you look at CLO’s Young Adults and Literacy Newsletter.
Questions and Activities for Reflection
- What recruitment strategies have worked most effectively in your agency and why?
- What recruitment strategies have been the least effective in your agency and why?
- Does your agency face barriers (other than a lack of resources) when it comes to using various recruitment strategies? If so, what are they? How could they be addressed?
- Of the recruitment strategies suggested in this training module, which ones would work well in your agency and what steps could you take to implement them?
- Trying out new recruitment strategies is not just a matter of changing a few words in a brochure or on a website. What could your agency do that’s both downright new and different but also likely to be successful in your community?