Developing Volunteers


Helping your volunteers to develop will keep them motivated and committed. It will also give them the skills they need to run your club effectively.

On the Finding Volunteers page we explore the different motivations people have for getting involved in volunteering. One of the main reasons, is that people want to use their existing skills, or see volunteering as an opportunity to develop new skills.

Research shows that there are many skills an individual will develop through volunteering, all of which are useful in other situations - whether that’s at work, at other volunteering opportunities or in day-to-day life. If you are able to clearly identify and communicate the skills a volunteer is developing, it will help them see the personal benefits they’re gaining from the opportunity and keep them engaged. And your club will benefit too!

Below are some of the key ways a person can develop by volunteering at a sports club:

Confidence and self-esteem

Research shows that people who volunteer have higher self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing.

Top-tip: Encourage your volunteers to reflect on how they felt when they first started in their role and show them how far they’ve come since then. People often forget to take a step-back and won’t realise quite how much they’ve achieved, even if it’s just been in a short space of time. Use our Volunteer Progress Review template for example questions you can ask your volunteers when you are checking-in with them to discuss their experiences and personal development at your club.

Leadership, mentoring and coaching

Whatever role a volunteer takes on at your club, chances are they will be responsible for a particular things and this is likely to include supporting and working alongside others, whether it involves line-management or not. They will be developing leadership skills, such as prioritisation, time-management, delegation, trustworthiness and self-motivation. As well as, soft skills like problem-solving and adaptability. Top-tip: Take the time to discuss with your volunteers what they are looking for from a role; for example, if there are particular skills they would like to develop or improve upon. Check-in with them regularly to see if they’re happy with how they’re developing. This way you can help create a meaningful, valuable experience for your volunteers.

Communication, relationship-building and teamwork

All volunteer roles within a sports club involve supporting others, providing updates, discussing issues or keeping in touch with other groups involved with the club (for example, sponsors).Communication, relationship-building and teamwork are all transferable skills, which means they can be put into practice in other roles or environments and are therefore highly sought after by employers and other volunteering opportunities alike. Not to mention that they’re useful skills for your club to be able to call upon!

Top-tip: When discussing skills with your volunteers, focus on their personal strengths, and ensure the conversation is a positive one about any areas they are looking to develop further. Also think about any other roles or projects they might like to be part of.

Check out Sport England's Making Your Volunteering Experience Meaningful Guide for key considerations on how to provide a fun, enjoyable and rewarding experience to all of your volunteers.

Taking the time to show your volunteers how they are developing will help keep them at your club as they feel valued and supported. In turn, this will help you find new volunteers, as they share their experiences with those around them.