Reaching for the big 100: In pursuit of the Vision
Let's do a quick review of our membership numbers. We are currently at 40 million members. Our Vision 2023 is to increase our membership to 100 million. How do we make this happen?
Firstly, we must maintain our membership figures and understand clearly what we are offering to our young people and adults: young people – an attractive and constantly updated programme which they are proud to be part of; adults – a space where they can make significant contributions to society by investing their time and talent, and impacting young people positively.
Then comes the leap to 100 million members.
No doubt we need to maintain our internal communication effort, reaching out to internal audience, our members, to continually let them know the benefits of Scouting and how their efforts have impacted their communities in creating a better world.
However, there is also a need to engage the external public – the young people and adults who are not Scouts and do not know much about Scouting. We need to reach out to them by, for example, involving strategic partners such as the traditional media – newspapers, radio and television; in addition to developing and maintaining a stronger and ever-growing presence in the digital space. All our campaigns should be well-planned, with clear messages and attractively presented.
The Interamerican Scout Region has been working in this direction during the year 2015. The task began with the formulation of a Communications Plan in 2014, where the objectives and strategies to achieve these goals were established to improve communications efforts, without neglecting membership.
The starting point was the implementation of a plan for the World Scout Bureau (WSB) Interamerica Support Centre to be recognised as an "International Mission" by the Government of Panama. This recognition is accorded to agencies of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. In February 2015, the WSB Interamerica Support Centre was accorded the “International Mission” status by the Government of the Republic of Panama.
Subsequently, we succeeded in convincing CNN en Español, the top TV news network in Latin America, to profile World Scouting on its prime time talk show that was hosted by leading journalist, Ismael Cala.
Following this TV appearance, Pauta, a leading business magazine in Panama, published an article on volunteering, Scouting and its contribution to society.
Our digital media strategy was also developed in parallel to our approach. The first step was to establish scout.org/interamerica as the our official channel in the region. All information, events and news are posted on this channel and shared on our Facebook page (facebook.com/ScoutIAR) and Twitter account (@ScoutIAR).
We also created the ScoutIAR Youtube channel, which will soon feature original multimedia contents. We are also making final preparations to establish ScoutIARadio, an online radio station broadcasting weekly programmes.
By understanding the correlation between strengthening the profile of Scouting and membership growth, and working towards it will indeed give impetus to realising Vision 2023!