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Clubs - Advice for working with volunteers
|Plan ahead||Volunteer recruitment||Volunteer retention||Support / resources|
Volunteer Centres are local agencies that provide a free brokerage service to match individuals seeking volunteer work with clubs seeking assistance. Contact your local centre with details of the roles you are seeking to fill - they may be able to provide you with details of interested local volunteers. In addition, volunteer centres provide support and advice to both clubs and individuals. Contact details for your local centre are on the right of this page.
Volunteer recruitment tips
Ask - Most volunteers say they were recruited because somebody asked them if they were interested in helping. This doesn’t mean just putting up a notice, people like to be asked personally, they feel more valued.
Ask members to complete a volunteering profile form, to help you to gather information about the time that they might be able to give and any particular skill that they can offer the club. Adapt your membership form to gather this information as people join. The fact that you are asking for this information might just prompt somebody to offer their help.
Hold an annual recruitment meeting linked to a social event and make sure people know who to contact to:
Make volunteering a condition of playing, even if people can only give one hour a month or help out once a year.
Encourage current post holder to identify people who may be interested in taking over from them, and encourage them to involve others throughout they year to ease the transition if they move on.
Produce a club information leaflet that explains how the club operates and the range of jobs that need to be done and the possible time commitment involved in the various tasks.
Use notice boards, newsletters and word of mouth to publicise the need for more volunteers and don’t just assume that everybody knows what is going on. People won’t always know unless you make a point of telling them.
Allow people the time to think about what they are getting involved in and what they are committing themselves too. Allow people the time to do some job sharing or shadowing to see what a job entails.
Think about the reasons why people volunteer their time – it’s a two way process that benefits the volunteer as well as the club. People volunteer to meet new people and make friends, to learn new skills or maybe influence the way that a club is run. Try to match people to roles that satisfy their needs as well as yours. Sell the benefits!
Have an open recruitment policy. Many potential volunteers feel that they don’t fit the profile of a club volunteer and so don’t offer to help.
The following kinds of things can be off putting
Keeping your volunteers keen, interested, motivated and enthusiastic is essential. These tips provide a general guide as to how to help support, develop and retain your volunteer workforce.
Produce a basic information pack for new volunteers containing
Don’t assume that just because people have been involved in the organisation for some time, they know how everything works! It is safer to provide information that people don’t need than to make assumptions about their level of knowledge.
Most volunteers want to do a good job and will appreciate knowing what standards the organisation expects early on, rather than being told they are doing something wrong after the event. Standards may include:
The ideal way to introduce a volunteer to a new job is to encourage them to shadow their predecessor for a few months, with a gradual handover of responsibility. If this isn’t possible, consider using:
Avoid duplication and gaps
Make sure that role descriptions are clearly defined to avoid two people working on the same task, leaving other aspects of their role unattended.
It might be necessary to reinforce role descriptions to make sure that people aren’t extending the job into what they would like it to be, rather than the job that really needs to be done!
Volunteers are an important part of your organisation. Try to ensure that you aren’t only a top down organisation by encouraging volunteers to contribute to decision-making. They will be more comfortable about implementing policies or ideas that they have contributed to or been consulted about.
Help people to develop the skills and knowledge they need to do their job. Remember, training isn’t just about formal courses. Volunteers can sometimes find the word ‘training’ off putting.
Holding regular team meetings is a good way to show that you are listening or regular one-ones with your volunteers are good to keep each other in touch with progress.
Volunteer coordinators/team leaders should make time to listen to volunteers. It is important to
Say Thank You
Communicate the value of volunteers throughout the organisation
Support and guidance on volunteer support is available through Volunteering England, which is an independent agency working to support an increase in the quality, quantity, impact and accessibility of volunteering throughout England. Its work links research, policy innovation, good practice and grant making in the involvement of volunteers and offers an array of services designed to help and support everyone who works with volunteers.
Additionally, support and guidance is available on the running sports website. Support documents available include volunteer role descriptions to be useed as a guide when considering the structure of the club and personnel. Selected volunteer role descriptions include Head coach, Volunteer coordinator, Child protection/welfare officer and Junior coordinator. Other featured role profiles include Assistant Coach, Chairperson, Development Officer, Disability Co-ordinator, Fixtures Secretary, Membership Secretary, Treasurer and Press / Publicity Officer.
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