Face to face is by far the most effective way of recruiting people. Friends and family members can be the easiest to approach. People may not be interested on the first approach. Try to engage with them and find out about them and what they are interested in, rather than trying too hard to persuade them.
Advertising local ringing times can be put on display in prominent places, preferably on the outside of the church. Also put them up in the church rooms as they will be seen by lots of groups using the facilities. Consider other public notice boards – in local libraries, shops, community centres, etc. To be effective these need to contain contact details for local towers, practice and Sunday ringing times. Give the posters to local groups such as Scouts & Guides. Give local schools copies of the posters to put up on their notice boards. Tell them that pupils can learn to ring as a skill or hobby for any Duke of Edinburgh schemes they run.
Keep a stock of ringing leaflets with your tower contact details on and give them to visiting non-ringers, hand them out at events and put some on your church leaflet table. Have a few of the “Discover Bell Ringing” books on display. Leaflets through the door are one of the most effective publicity channels for larger recruitment events.
Most people now use social media of some form. Set-up your own Facebook group, Twitter and YouTube pages. Make sure you give regular postings to other local websites.
The use of the internet is widespread. You need to have a good web presence. Your website should contain interesting material including attractive photographs as well as details of local ringing times. Links to other ringing websites, particularly those designed for non-ringers are important e.g. bellringing.org.
Allows you to create a group for your activity online and notifies people registered with the system of when your activity is taking place and other details. As opposed to Facebook, which is modeled around existing relationships (where only those people who have already chosen to link to your local page will hear your message) these listings link to communities.
Write a piece for the church magazine or the Parish newsletter or free newspaper about ringing. They will reach many people in the local area. You could also add the practice times to each issue and even advertise for new ringers or taster sessions. This will also avoid any complaints as the local residents will know when you are ringing!
A paper copy of the church notices is often given out at the beginning of the service for the congregation to take home. The notices are often emailed out to a group of people too. If the ringing practice times are added to the church events and diary times, potential ringers will know when you practice. The notices are usually read out at the end of the service, you could ask to stand up and introduce yourself, so that potential ringers know who you are. Good services to do this in are family services, all-age worship, baptism welcomes, etc. You could even give out ART achievement certificates to ringers at the end of the service.
Many local interest groups such as the WI, Rotary Club, Young Farmers, History Society, U3A or Townswomen’s Guild have a regular series of talks at their meetings and are always delighted to hear from someone new. How about offering to go along and talk about bell ringing? You could even dig out bits of ringing paraphernalia to take along with you. What seem like worn out old bell muffles or ropes to us might be a source of fascination to someone who has never seen them before. Don’t forget to invite them along to the tower at any time if they’d like to come and see the bells up close, or have a go.
A great way of getting the occasional curious recruit launched onto an intensive teaching programme. It might not be a traditional route into ringing but feedback suggests that it’s a very good way of recruiting a new ringer.
Poster campaigns and notices read in services are good for setting the
scene – but a personal appearance and appeal by one or more ringers in a
service is really helpful; the side-effect is that you’re appealing to
people likely to be available on a Sunday. It also establishes a
personal connection – potential recruits know your face.
Invite specific groups to visit the tower, learn about ringing and have a go. Could be a “bring a friend” practice or a group such as the scouts and guides or a local history society.
Requires vision, commitment and passion, but the results are extremely rewarding. Ignore those stereotypes of young people rejecting an “uncool” hobby and having too much choice to “stick at it” – great things are happening.
Often the first event that people think of when they think recruitment. The open day takes a bit of organising but can definitely bring in the recruits and is great for increasing awareness and generating goodwill.
Ideal for when you want to “get out there” to recruit people in places, such as shopping centres, fetes and festivals. A mini-ring is a small, mobile belfry with 6 or 8 bells which can be erected anywhere so that members of the public can have a go and teams of experienced ringers can demonstrate.
Organising a week-long introduction to ringing course can be hard work. Such courses offer an extreme form of intensive bell handling training and lots of peer support and fun at this early stage. Care should be taken to ensure that new recruits continue with bell ringing afterwards.
Open ringing – simulators are a great tool for teaching ringing, however if you never ring your bells open, how will potential ringers know when and where to find you?
Contact details – make sure the tower contact details and practice times are up to date on your local website, Guild or Association web pages and on Dove’s Guide.
This is the place to be; your band is doing well and you want a slow, steady stream of new recruits coming to you to keep the band young and fresh. Aim to increase general awareness of local bell ringing and bell ringers using a wide range of different media and networks. If potential ringers can find you and make the decision to learn to ring by their own self-interest and motivation, they are more likely to commit long-term. This isn’t about a big event, its about a steady drip-feed of news with a clear and welcoming “call to action”.
For recruitment on this scale you need to be thinking of events and mass communication. It is quite possible to recruit a band in one go even in relatively small communities. Make sure you plan an engaging event AND for what comes afterwards. This is a long term project so make sure you are building on strong foundations of local leadership and committed support.
Big recruitment events do work. They tend to be longer in the planning and require quite a lot of people to work together over a longer period of time. It is a great opportunity to bring together people who don’t often ring together and make great use of people’s non-ringing skills. Make sure you have a good plan to hand-over from a central organisation to local towers. This is a great way of breaking down boundaries and facilitating group teaching and learning.
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