Recruiting website for Boy Scouts of America

Recruiting website for Boy Scouts of America


Enrollment in the Boy Scouts of America is declining, with the numbers down each year for the past 12 years. Volunteer leaders of local packs need to communicate to prospective families, who have many activity choices, why Scouts is a worthy program to join.

In a volunteer role, I designed a website for a specific unit to help with recruiting, with the idea the concept could be rolled out and adapted to other units.

My Role

• Research within the BSA, as well as among current parents. 
• Personas to reflect who would use such a site.
• User stories and user flows. 
• Wire frame and wire flows.
• Content strategy and writing.

• Beta word press site for user testing. 

Identifying the Issue

Current Experience – When a perspective family searches for a unit to join, they most likely will be directed to local website built by volunteers. There are currently no standards for these sites around content or design.

Conducting research with scouting leaders and parents we identified the most frequently asked questions. I asked users to find answers to these questions using examples of local sites. Users had difficulty.

The Competition – We did the same exercise with a site from a youth program that may be a competitor to Scouting. The exercise demonstrated that competitor sites were easier to use.


Prospective Families

Research identified key questions families needed to know:

  • What is the cost?

  • Why Scouting?

  • What do you do?

  • When do you meet?

  • Who can join?

  • How do you join?

  • Parent Commitment?

BSA Resources

The BSA has good marketing materials, studies, and data that shows they have a great youth program, however information is not getting seen by prospective parents. Parents looking into joining scouting find a local websites for their neighborhood pack, which are geared toward providing information to current families.  

The Competition – Sports

Sports are the biggest competition to Scouts. Families have a limited amount of time, and often sports programs are chosen over scouting. Sports can have demanding schedules, that don't leave time for Scouts. Scouts need to tell a story of how their program can compliment sports, and how their program is unique and beneficial to development. 

Primary Persona: Nancy Jepsen – Prospective Parent

“I have lots of activities to choose from. If a program doesn’t look well organized I am going to look elsewhere.”

Story and Scenario
Nancy is interested in getting her son into Scouts. She is familiar with the brand, and interested in learning more. She has lots of choices for activities to choose from, so she is currently researching to see which is the best fit for her family. She is asking, why should I pick this program?

• Working mom whose schedule is unpredictable.
• Wants to get kids into some of the same programs as their friends.
• Likes programs to be well organized and see that they communicate well with parents.

• Needs to know what benefits Scouts has over other programs.
• Needs to know schedule.
• Wants to see a sample of recent activities.
• Wants to know costs.
• Wants to know who leaders are.

Bio and Demographics
• Age: 30
• Profession: Program Manager
• Location: Seattle, WA
• Family: Married, 2 children
• Personality:

Ideal breakout of kids activities

Concept Map – Prospective Parent

Grouping of concepts a prospective parent may ask about as they investigate the Scouting experience.

Page Design Evolution

I designed a mix of content that conveys the appeal of Scouts to prospective users. I wanted to show the Pack is active and vibrant by using current content. This material also appeals to current members.

The initial design has a hero in the 1st position. The second position is an "about our pack," with short text and photo from from a recent event, and two CTAs. Design needs more content choices to drive the user down the page. 

The second position now has a CTA button to pack calendar.
A "Pack FAQ" has been added in 3rd position, replacing the about our pack photo and text section.

The second position now has evolved with  CTA buttons for news and calendar, those two types of content would appeal to both prospective and current members.

A pack calendar and contact form have been added directly to home page.  Having all content on one page shows different elements to users as they engage in the content. 

Wireframe and Beta Test Site

Success Metrics

Success is meeting membership goals, and retaining new members. Within the test unit, membership has risen, and attrition has fallen. Having a clear picture of what parents can expect attracts participants who won't become frustrated with the program.

Next Steps

Initial research indicated volunteers who run individual units do not have expertise or desire to improve the experience of legacy website.  Part II of this project will be to develop a proposal for centralized CMS that will allow simple customized sites to be created with the support of the Scout office.  Concept will include system where users can submit images and answer specific questions via form to populate a site design.

Icon Credits: Parent and child by Peter van Driel • Soccer by Gregor Cresnar • Persona by  Yu Luck – all from the Noun Project.