Sustainability

From time to time, even the most effectively run group will need some input to ensure that it continues to thrive. However, it can be difficult to make time to step back from planning and delivering activities for our young members in order to consider what needs doing.
 
The best approach to supporting the sustainability of any group is to keep all the key aspects of the group under review so that straightforward and effective actions can be taken to address issues as they arise, before they begin to pose a threat to the future of the group.

Sustainability Scorecard
 
It can be difficult for teams of volunteers to know where to focus their attention to achieve maximum impact on the group’s sustainability. To support you in this, Woodcraft Folk has developed a Sustainability Scorecard. This is available to complete online, or download in Excel format. It is designed to provide a simple ‘health check’ for groups – answering a series of questions about your group will provide a red-amber-green rating for the group on each of the main themes of the New Group Journey. This will help you gain, and share, insight into where your group is strong and where you might need additional support.
 
The Scorecard can be used in different ways depending on your group’s needs – you can use as part of your action planning, as an annual ‘MOT’ for your group, or compare ‘before and after’ to measure the impact of training, outreach or development activity that you undertake at a local level.
 
Tools for self-review
 
The involvement of children and young people in decision-making, in a way appropriate to their age and abilities, is central to Woodcraft Folk’s approach to working with its young members. This is particularly important when we are reviewing our activities, and the impact they have on the young members.
 
If you plan your activities using the Outcomes Matrix, and discuss clearly with young members what the intended outcomes of an activity are, it is easy to check in with them at the end of a session to see how well they think the activity has gone. You can ask for more detailed feedback using a Hand Evaluation, or ask young members to respond to the questions in the Catch The Light impact assessment to gauge the effect that being part of Woodcraft Folk has on aspects of their wellbeing and self-belief.
 
The Follow The Trail resource is designed to help leaders to engage young people in evaluating their groups’ activities and making positive changes. There are two editions of this pack, one with activities designed for Elfins and Pioneers, and one for Venturers and DFs.
 
Troubleshooting
 
If you have used a tool such as the Sustainability Scorecard, or run the activities in Follow the Trail with your group, it should be fairly easy for your group to highlight any issues that need to be addressed. Knowing what to do about them can be harder, but there are lots of resources available to help you. Possible solutions to common problems include
 
If your group…You could try…
Is struggling to keep on top of admin tasksAdvertising for a volunteer who doesn’t want to work directly with children and young people to take on these roles
Advertising for a volunteer who doesn’t want to work directly with children and young people to take on these rolesCreate a group agreement between young members and group leaders (or review your existing one)
Run the ‘Promoting Positive Behaviour’ training session for volunteers
Keeps running the same activitiesLooking at Woodcraft’s resource library online
Struggles to link activities to Woodcraft Folk’s Aims & PrinciplesUse the Outcomes Matrix to explore activities that support each of the Aims & Principles
Feels isolatedTwinning with another group, either locally or in a different part of the UK
Needs to get better at providing a safe environment for young membersRun the Staying Safe training session for volunteers
Needs advice to help support young members with additional needsWatch the webinars on supporting children with additional needs
Doesn’t have enough young people to make it viableRun a Playout day in your local park
Run taster sessions after school, and send flyers home in book bags
Is running out of enthusiasmCome to Folk Assembly to swap ideas with other volunteers
Wants to make more of an impact in your communityPlan a social action activity, such as litter-picking or raising funds for a local cause
Finds it hard for volunteers to co-operate effectivelyRun the Working Together training course
Is stuck for an activity for tonight’s sessionAsk a question on the Woodcraft Folk Facebook Group
Wants to encourage newer volunteers to take responsibilityDivide up tasks for each session (taking the register, running the introductory game) and ask people to sign up for at least one task
Needs more volunteersContact nearby DF groups
Register with your local volunteer centre
Ask parents if they can support the group once a term
Can’t cover its running costsLook at the current Funding Opportunities on the Woodcraft Folk website
Has too many children wanting to joinAgree criteria for managing a waiting list Consider splitting into two groups
Wants to explore different ways of workingArrange to visit, or do a join activity with, another Woodcraft Folk group
Wants to publicise itself in the local areaDownload and adapt a flyer template from the Woodcraft Folk website
Needs inspiration about how to attract volunteersRead the case studies in the Volunteer Toolkit
Needs to learn new gamesOrder Games, Games, Games from Folk Supply
Wants to get more confident at running outdoor activitiesAttend a Bushcraft Camp or training session
Make links with a group in another part of the worldContact IFM-SEI for more information or come to an International Camp
Support young leaders to gain confidence and take on more responsibilityHelp to find a mentor for your young leaders
Work from the Leading for the Future pack
Is ready to start a group for the next age group upDivide the group into two ‘clans’ so that older children can do a slightly more advanced version of the main activity, while leaders get ready to launch a new age group