Finding Volunteers


Is your club looking to recruit new volunteers but not sure where to start?

The first step is to think about why your club needs new volunteers

There are many great reasons why clubs want to recruit more volunteers, such as to:

  • Help achieve the club’s vision and follow its development plan
  • Manage and support increasing numbers of members
  • Reduce the burden on current volunteers, to improve their experience and help keep them at the club
  • Involve more of the local community and create a diverse, sustainable pool of volunteers

Whilst you are thinking about recruiting new volunteers, you should consider the experience that current volunteers have at your club. Check out our Keeping Volunteers page and Sport England's Make Your Volunteering Experience Meaningful guide to help your club provide an enjoyable, rewarding volunteer experience.  You could also use a skills matrix to check that you are making the most of your current volunteers’ skills and experiences before you start looking for new ones.

Secondly, consider what motivations and barriers potential volunteers might have

People choose to volunteer for lots of different reasons. Your club’s ability to attract volunteers will depend on how well you understand their motivations. Similarly, if you can appreciate some of the barriers preventing people from offering their time, you stand a better chance of overcoming them!

Now you are ready to explore the different ways of finding new volunteers:

Look within your club

A good place to start is by looking within your club, not your current volunteers, but at your members, players and parents and their wider networks. Asking these groups of people if they are willing to offer some time is a quick and easy way to boost your potential volunteer pool. Many people don’t volunteer simply because they’ve never been asked to!

Top-tip: Two thirds of current volunteers got involved because they heard about an opportunity through friends and family, so don’t underestimate word of mouth as a way to find new volunteers.

Look outside your club, to the wider community

Broadening your search to include the wider community can bring in fresh perspectives, skills, experiences and make your volunteer pool more diverse. Our How to Attract New Volunteers Guide has some ideas to get you started with recruiting outside of your club.

Top Tip: Don’t forget that a personal ask is just as important when recruiting from your local community too!

Other organisations here to help you

There are a number of organisations and programmes that can help link your club with potential volunteers. These include:

  • Join in: This is a registered charity that helps UK grassroots sport clubs attract more supporters and volunteers from their local communities.vInspired. vInspired works to link organisations with youth volunteers.
  • vInspired: Half of 16-24 year olds would prefer to volunteer in something sports based. This is a huge group of potential volunteers. vInspired works to link organisations with youth volunteers.
  • Local Volunteer Centres: Volunteer Centres are local organisations that provide support and expertise within the local community to potential volunteers, existing volunteers and organisations that use volunteers.
  • Sports Volunteering Network: This connects your club with your local County Sports Partnership who can support you with your volunteering needs.
  • Schools/colleges/universities: As well as taking part in sport, many young people are keen to give up some of their free time to offer support to their local sports clubs.
  • National Governing Bodies: Your sport’s governing body can help you find out about volunteer schemes that help to train, reward and recognise volunteers within sports clubs.
  • County Sports Partnerships: They may also be able to provide support and guidance about working with schools, colleges and universities in your area.

Top-tip: Almost 36% of potential volunteers look for opportunities online, so make sure your website and social media pages are up-to-date and specify that you are looking for volunteers!

Recruit in a safe way

The majority of people who want to work or volunteer within sport are well motivated and without them sports clubs and organisations could not operate.

Unfortunately some individuals are not appropriate to work with children or vulnerable adults. It is therefore essential that you have effective recruitment and selection procedures for staff/volunteers to help screen out and discourage those who are not suitable from joining your club.

Top-tip: Visit the Child Protection in Sports Unit’s website for more information on how to recruit in a safe way.

Once you have recruited new volunteers you will need to focus on providing them with an excellent experience, to keep them at your club and help them to develop the skills they need.