Creating A Volunteering Culture
They say many hands make light work. But far too often in sports clubs, you see one or two individuals shouldering the bulk of the work.
As club administrators, it is important you create a volunteering culture. Here are our top tips:
Set expectations at sign up or at induction
As a club, you need to decide the club culture and volunteering expectations. Be clear and spell it out every time a new member joins the club. Most people don’t mind helping out, they just need to know when and how. Is it once a week? Twice a season? Is it just selling a book of raffle tickets twice a year? Helping out at three events a year?
You need as many people to help out with the day to day running of your club as possible. Promote the need for volunteers on your club’s website and in newsletters. Comments like “your contribution makes a difference” or “help us at our next event” continually reminds members that there is a culture of helping out and volunteering at your club.
People are more likely to volunteer when they are asked to fill a specific role with an outline of the time commitment required. You can find example role descriptions for the key positions here
Focus on positive contributions and achievements
When you feel burdened by responsibility, it’s all too easy to feel negative. But it is your responsibility as committee members or administrators to set the tone and the culture and that includes how you conduct yourself. Keep a positive attitude and thank those who were involved. It’s more likely to change behaviour than pointing out those who don’t help, as people will often become defensive.
Don’t tell, order or shame but don’t be afraid to ask
Don’t be too shy to ask people for help with a call to action. People nowadays don’t often think to proactively volunteer but when asked are more than happy to give their time. It is also a good idea not to ask big groups but rather ask individuals who will then make a team. This approach helps to create ownership and pride for these people in relation to the project.
Keep a skills register
This is very rarely done but is very useful. The register is simply a list of members with any specific skills. This helps you to be more specific about who to ask to fill which roles. For example, if you have a carpenter at your club and a door is starting to come loose they are more likely to be able to help quickly and efficiently, with little stress. People are more likely to volunteer if they have the time, knowledge, skills and inclination to do the job. Understanding the skillsets of the people at your club will help you get a much better result. Brickfield Rangers and Gwent Hockey Club routinely capture information on parents’ occupations for this reason.
Subdivide large tasks into smaller tasks and delegate to subcommittees/project teams
This makes it easier for people to get involved. Creating project teams means that members can take ownership of the task and if necessary recruit their friends to be on their team to help.
With long working hours and commitments at home, some people may not wish to take on a formal role at the club that requires too much time and effort. However, you might find they are happy to take on one of the following roles:
- Statistician (to count shots on goals etc)
- Videographer (using an iPad)
- Or other match official role
Allocating these types of roles to people that may be particularly vocal or potentially disruptive can be useful.
Build a rota
Those that find it difficult to commit weekly might be more comfortable adding their name to a rota. That way, several people can help out on a monthly basis. If you want to see an example, Cardiff Parkrun posts their roster online.
Allow people to succeed
As a committee don’t try to take on too much. Don’t try to do everything by yourself, other members will be capable too so give them the opportunity to succeed.
Train the people at your club
The opportunity to learn new skills, such as First Aid, can often motivate people to get involved in the running of a club. And while people may be extremely capable in their day jobs, they may not have the know how to do certain tasks around the club but might feel uncomfortable asking for training. So be upfront about the training opportunities you offer.
Reward and recognise contributions
A simple pat on the back, token gift or rebate on membership is a great way to say thank you to your club’s volunteers. When people do lend a hand, write a story about them on the website to inspire others to get involved. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sports clubs and need to be recognised for their efforts. There are lots of ideas to help you here - Reward Your People.
Elsewhere on this website, you can also find information about:
- Volunteering – where do I start?