The COVID-19 pandemic means that, more than ever, the focus and motivation that the DofE brings can have real benefits for young people – and the skills, experiences and character traits they develop by doing their programmes can boost their mental health and open doors in the future.
But we know the uncertainty and change caused by the outbreak also means DofE Managers, Co-ordinators, Leaders and Administrators have a lot more on their plates than just delivering the DofE.
So, we wanted to make it as straightforward as possible for organisations to inform, excite and recruit new participants, parents and carers this year.
Here are a few ideas to help:
Use the DofE’s recruitment toolkit
We’ve pulled together lots of handy, downloadable resources in our eight-step recruitment toolkit – including subtitled videos, a poster and flyer and template presentations, letters, emails and social media posts.
Everything can be used digitally or in-person and you can select whatever works best for your organisation and your audience.
Recruit DofE Ambassadors
There’s no one better to tell other young people at your organisation about doing their DofE than Award holders themselves.
Think about encouraging recent achievers to volunteer with you throughout the year as a ‘DofE Ambassador’ – someone who can talk about their experience positively and passionately and really get across to potential participants what they’ll gain from doing their DofE.
They might also be able to mentor participants as they create and complete their programmes, or help you out with delivering expeditions.
Hold an online Q&A with Award holders and potential participants
You could ask your DofE Ambassadors – or previous Award holders – to hold an online socially distanced information session with the next cohort of potential participants.
They could talk briefly about what they did for their programme, what skills they gained and why they’d recommend others take part – before answering any questions from attendees.
You’ll need to take into consideration your organisation’s own safeguarding policies governing this type of event.
Invite a DofE Operations Officer ‘in’ for a virtual assembly or meeting…
The recruitment toolkit has the resources you need to hold a virtual or in-person presentation yourself, or email round the information participants and parents / carers might want.
But why not also think about ‘inviting in’ your local DofE Operations Officer to present to young people online?
They’ll be able to talk through all the basics and benefits of doing a DofE programme – from timescales and activities to eDofE and the DofE app – and answer any questions you, your colleagues or your future participants have.
…or an online information event for parents and carers
Likewise, DofE Operations teams would be happy to help out with presenting to parents and carers and talking them through what their children would get from their DofE.
Just contact your Country Office to talk about your plans.
Use your organisation’s communications channels…
Make the most of the channels your young people and their parents and carers use to find information from your organisation by letting them know that they can sign up to do their DofE.
It could be by letter, email, school newsletter, on your organisation’s social media networks, intranet or other online platforms – whatever’s likely to catch the eye of potential participants and their families.
The recruitment toolkit contains a template letter, email and social posts which you can edit to suit your needs, as well as links to PDFs, flyers and films you can include for more information.
Sometimes the simplest way can be the most effective. You might have a DofE-dedicated noticeboard or wall space in your organisation, or maybe you can temporarily take over a space.
You can use it to publicise Award holders’ achievements and attract support for the DofE in your organisation. You can also advertise DofE meetings, share sign-up sheets and recruit volunteers.
And, during the COVID-19 outbreak, you can print and display this eye-catching DofE With A Difference poster to reassure young people that they can stay safe and still get the full DofE experience, despite the pandemic.
Do you have other suggestions or tips to share with other DofE Managers, Leaders, Co-ordinators and Administrators, or ideas for helpful resources? Let us know.