We get it. Parents are busy. Parents are exhausted. If they’re not wading through work to pay the mortgage, they are driving their kids here, there and everywhere to meet ever demanding schedules.
So recruiting parents to volunteer in your sports club can sometimes be tricky!
- Welcome, welcome!
Parents need to know they are welcome to get involved in the life of the club. But before you frighten them off with the thought of lots of responsibility, spell out that you understand parents are busy and that the club breaks up the work into small tasks. Find out how to create a volunteering culture.
- Meet the parents
What do they do to earn a crust? What interests and skills do they have? How busy are they? What time commitment could they give? Are they outgoing or a retiring wallflower? This will help you work out what type of role would suit them, whether they might be keen to take on a regular volunteer role or whether they are more suited to occasional jobs.
Start by asking questions on the membership form and then follow up with a conversation at the club or at a social event. Just remember to keep it casual. No interrogations, please. You are not MI5.
- What jobs need doing?
List all the areas where parents could be lending a hand. Which are the biggest priorities? You can then start asking parents for support whether it is in conversation, through your club’s Facebook page, website or newsletter. Be clear to them what the time commitment would be.
Take a look at some of the different Volunteer Roles.
- Make it bitesize.
We can all be easily scared off if we feel the pressure to take on a lot of work. Don’t be tempted to put parents on a guilt trip. Break up jobs into little tasks. If you have lots of equipment to set up, involve a group of people. The same applies to your administration work. Divide and conquer!
- Be flexible
Some parents will be ferrying different children to different clubs and are being dragged in all directions. Take the time to understand their challenges so that you can offer a role that fits. Administration or marketing work can often be done at home. Or if a parent can’t stay for the full session, ask for help at the beginning.
- Don’t forget the social
Often parents give up volunteering once their child finishes at the club. Make sure the club becomes an important part of their life and not just centred around their child. Social events and catch ups are really important to help people feel loyal and involved. So bring on the barbecues!
- Rotas and one off jobs
You might have parents that work on a shift pattern. Possibly, they co-parent and are only with their child every other Saturday. That’s where rotas come in handy. It is also useful to help relieve any pressure from parents – they might not mind taking their turn once a month, but a weekly commitment would be too much. Some parents might feel more comfortable getting involved on a one off basis – baking cakes for fundraisers, selling raffle tickets, marshalling at an event, auditing annual accounts… These are all brilliant contributions!
- Buddy up!
Some people might not come forward because they worry they are not good enough. Reassure parents that support is available. A buddy system is a great way to ease someone into a new role.
- Don’t forget why they are there
Finally, remember that all parents love to see their child taking part. So be considerate and make sure that a parent isn’t too busy to watch their child. This is especially important on event days. Check schedules and help people to arrange cover so that they can happily cheer on from the sidelines.
Learn more about how to recruit volunteers (http://www.clubsolutions.wales/volunteering/)
Club Solutions was created to help sports clubs and volunteers in Wales. So, if you have any further questions about where you can volunteer, please feel free to get in touch with our friendly team, or let’s chat on social!