First you want to think through who you want on your project team and what role they will play. You’ll need strong youth leadership, interested community leaders, and both youth and adult volunteers to help with the workload. Know exactly what service you want from each of these people before you begin the recruiting process. Make decisions about what type of help you will need for your project. Are you looking for steering committee members who have more of an advisory role, a business leader’s sponsorship and financial support, or extra hands to help with clean up after your event? Your team should include both youth and adult members who can assist you in planning and implementing your project or event.
Since Speak Out & Make NOYS is a youth driven project, you will need to recruit interested youth members. Reaching out to your school community to find interested youth is critical. Here are some ideas on recruiting new team members.
- Put up posters around school to inform other students about Speak Out & Make
- Visit homeroom classes and present information about your project.
- Host a special informational meeting just for people interested in finding out more about Speak Out & Make NOYS.
• Write an article for your school newspaper.
- Invite people personally to join your project.
- Make a presentation to other school organizations and clubs with similar interests or commitments such as SADD, FCCLA, Student Council, 4H, RADD, etc.
Look for youth with…
You will need strong adult support for your project. Ask for a school or faculty sponsor to get involved. Possible candidates might be…
- Special interest in your project.
- Speaking skills.
- Leadership skills.
- Special talents, skills and abilities that support your project goals.
Follow these basic tips when you contact potential team members.
- Teachers, counselors, school nurses, or administrators
- Representatives from youth serving agencies (Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, etc.)
- Sponsors from clubs or volunteer organizations
- Law enforcement staff
• Government officials
- Community leaders
• Business & industry professionals
- Health-care professionals
- Faith community leaders
- Celebrity spokespersons
- Experts or consultants
- Send a brief fact sheet about your project to introduce yourself and your projects goals. Let them know you will be contacting them by phone to answer any of their questions.
- Write out a script. A short paragraph that introduces you, gives the reason for your call, provides a brief overview of your project, makes a request for an appointment, and estimates the length of the appointment. Use your own words; make your script comfortable yet professional. You’ll find a sample script below.
- Keep the call brief. Respect your contact’s time.
- Know the name and title of the person you want to speak with.
- Know your desired outcome. Appointment? Information?
- Identify the benefits to their organization.
- Be friendly and courteous.
- Have your calendar and appointment book available to schedule the appointment.
- Be prepared to answer questions.
- Before you hang up confirm the appointment time, get directions if you need them, and thank them for their time.
- Make notes in your project organizer of what is said and date all your notes.
Letters of endorsement (written by your mentors, teachers, employers, sponsors or corporate supporters) are powerful recruiting tools. They provide a statement of confidence about you and your project and encourage the reader to support your project. These letters can be used when you approach business and community leaders to discuss their participation in your project.
Department of Police
Wheaton District Station • Wheaton, Maryland 20902
February 24, 1999
Montgomery General Hospital
Adolescent Asset Program
18101 Prince Phillip Drive
Olney, MD 20832
Dear Mr. Roth,
This letter is to show our support for the efforts and contributions made through PROJECT CHANGE. This organization shares the department’s community policing philosophy, which strongly supports a partnership between the community and police. The leadership in this organization has impressed the Wheaton District, especially officers working in Olney. Members of PROJECT CHANGE have shown a great interest and passion towards bringing a safe as well as entertaining environment to the Olney community. This will be a positive influence for the youth of Olney while making it a place where parents know their children will be safe.
PROJECT CHANGE has established a partnership with the department, and we would like to be of support to their cause. The Olney Substation is readily available to assist the project in any of its current and future endeavors.
Officer Gary F. Turner
Montgomery County Police Department
Here are some Tips for obtaining these letters.
Working in teams with powerful and influential adults who are used to being the leaders can be a bit tricky. Since Speak Out & Make NOYS projects are youth driven, youth will be taking the leadership role. When you recruit adults to join your team, you will want to describe their roles. You can use the Tips for Adult Team Members sheet to help you.
- Ask adult team members to write letters of introduction or endorsement that you can use when approaching other business and community leaders.
- The letter should be on his or her business letterhead.
- Ask them to include a brief description of the project and close with a request for action and or involvement.
- The request can be to agree to meet with youth members, to participate in the project, to serve on the project team, or to provide financial support.
Here are some additional tips for working effectively with adult team members.
Tips for Working
- Set clear expectations about what their roles are. Do you want
them to act as advisors or coordinators? Do you want them to take a
lead role in fundraising, or simply support your efforts?
- Keep them informed. Communication is the key to building good working relationships.
- Teach them the basics of how you wish to be treated.
- Ask for what you want.
- Acknowledge their contributions.
- Utilize their expertise, power, influence and contacts. Remember
adults want to feel useful too.
- Treat them with the same respect that you want from them.
- Be honest. It’s OK to disagree.
Business and Community Leaders
We asked community leaders and business owners what would motivate them to help teens who approach them with health and safety projects. They said...
- “I want to know how the project will benefit young people. I would be more interested in helping if I knew specifically how the project was really going to make a difference.”
- “When anyone makes a presentation, young or old, personal appearance is the most important thing. Usually, it’s what you base your first impression on.”
- “I like you to either call or write a letter requesting a time to come in and present your project in a meeting. That way I can get a feeling about who you are.”
- “The first thing is to be prepared; know your persentation and be ready to answer questions about your topic. The second is to have enthusiasm. I like getting involved in projects where there is already alot of energy.”
- “I’m always impressed when a young person follows up our meeting with a thank-you note.”
- “You can get me excited about anything if you are committed, motivated, energetic and sincere.”
- “I like it when youth have a clear direction and it’s obvious they have done some pre-planning. If you have an action plan put together, then I know that my time is going to be well invested.”
- “Be sure you know what you want from me before you come in to see me. Be as specific as possible.”
Since Speak Out & Make NOYS projects are youth driven, the adult role is more of an advisor and assistant than leader. You may have been invited to participate in this project because of your commitment to youth issues, professional expertise, influence in your community, or your desire to make a difference. Certainly you have a wide range of talents, contacts, and special knowledge that will be a great asset to the youth who invited you to partner with them. It is only by teaming up youth and adults that serious issues facing young people today can be effectively addressed. Here are some great tips to help you work more effectively with young people.
“When working with adults, remember they just want to help. Unfortunately, that desire can turn into a dictatorship. Before this happens, discuss what you want their role to be. Prove to them that you can handle the details.”
Kyra White, Arizona SADD
- Treat us like children.
- Assume we can’t make good decisions because of our age.
- Think we can’t contribute to our community because we don’t have as much experience as adults.
- Determine your opinions of us by our hairstyle or clothes we wear.
- Single teens out who belong to minority groups.
- Try to cover for us when we mess up.
- Separate us into groups (adult group vs. teen).
- Take over our projects.
- Tell us it can’t be done.
- Tell us what our goals are.
- Try to protect us.
- Don’t do it for us.
- Refer to us as “children”, “youngsters” or “kids”.
- Talk to us like adults.
- Remember if we are a part of the problem, we must be part of solution.
- Ask us what we think. Only youth know what other youth want and need.
- Listen to our ideas and respect our opinions.
- Treat us as equals.
- Just like adults, we learn from our mistakes. Be patient and help us learn from our mistakes.
- Put us into groups with adults so that we learn to work together.
- Let us take the lead on our projects. Be there to support, encourage, and guide.
- Offer your insights and suggestions.
- Hold us accountable to our commitments.
- Be honest with your opinions, it’s OK to disagree.
- Give us the tools we need to do it for ourselves.
- Call us “youth”, “young people”, “young adults”, or “teens”.
Now that you have recruited both the youth leaders and adult members for your project, you must turn this group into a TEAM. Big projects can only be accomplished when people work cooperatively together. Just because you have a committee doesn’t mean you are acting as a team. Teams work as a unit to accomplish a specific goal. However, you should always remember that teams are made up of people, and people participate in projects for a variety of reasons. The key to creating positive teamwork is to make sure that everyone wins. Here are some important tips to working with teams and encouraging teamwork.
“Delegate tasks and then let go. You have to
trust your peers to handle their obligations.”
Kyra White, Arizona SADD
- Create a team vision. When all members of your team participate in the creation of the project’s vision, they feel more ownership and commitment to see the project through to the end.
- Define teams roles and expectations. People want to know what is expected of them.
- Information is power. Empower your team by sharing information.
- Provide strong leadership, but don’t monopolize the team effort. Team members who don’t feel needed will not stick around. Leadership is shared and can be shifted from time to time as appropriate.
- Discover each team member’s assets, and design a plan to utilize those assets for the good of the project. Everyone has something special to offer.
- Get commitments for specific behavior.
- Celebrate and acknowledge team successes.
- Discover what motivates each team member’s participation in the project.
This is where you will find the win-win equation. You might have some youth who feel that this project will look good on a resume, or adults who believe it will improve their community image. There are many people who just want to make a difference or who have strong feelings about youth health and safety. Finally, there are those who may be involved because your project looks like a lot of fun. You need them all. You can help individuals have a positive experience by understanding up front what motivates their participation.
- Keep it fun. People will do extraordinary things if the process is enjoyable.
- Celebrate diversity by accepting different points of view.
- Encourage creative thinking and problem solving.
- Keep your team an appropriate size. You need enough people to share the workload but not so many that they feel unneeded.
- Decide as a group how you will make decisions. Will you vote? Majority rules? Consensus?
“I learned the hard way. The only way people feel like they are a part of the team is if you share responsibility.”
Anthony DeCicco, PROJECT CHANGE