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Club People

Keeping volunteers

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Volunteers are more likely to stay at your club if they have a fun, enjoyable and rewarding experience and are confident with what they are doing

Research shows that sports volunteers give more time per week and volunteer more frequently than the average volunteer. How great is that? We’re sure you’ll agree that we should be celebrating how fantastic these people are, making their experience as fun as possible and recognising their incredible commitment.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always what happens. In fact, sports volunteers are far more likely than volunteers in other sectors to quit – largely because they feel undervalued, unrecognised or because they’ve had poor experiences in an unorganised environment.

So, what can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen at your club? Take a look at the ideas below on how you can provide a fantastic experience at every point along a volunteer’s journey. It doesn’t have to be lots of work, and it is often the little things that make the biggest difference.

Providing a great experience won’t only help keep volunteers at your club, but they’ll also become your best ambassadors for recruiting volunteers in the future:

Give new volunteers an induction

Welcoming your new volunteers is vital to making a good first impression. A well-planned welcome process, or induction, can help a new volunteer feel supported, informed, valued and can enable them to make a contribution straight away. Use our Induction Checklist to structure your introductions and make sure you don't miss anything out! Top-tip: Ask your current volunteers to think back to when they were new and suggest ideas to help others feel welcome and supported.

Manage your volunteers with clear roles and responsibilities

If volunteers are clear about their role and responsibilities they are more likely to feel confident about what they should be doing. Use a Role Outline to describe what the role is, what is expected and where possible the time commitment expected. And importantly show how the role will make a difference. We have templates available for the following roles, which you should adapt as necessary for your club: Chair, Head Coach, Team Manager, Treasurer, Welfare Officer, and Secretary. Be creative with your roles; think about skills rather than jobs, and use our Blank Template to design your own roles. Top-tip: Having a volunteer co-ordinator who can check that everyone knows what they should be doing and be the main point of contact can be a great way to manage and support your volunteers effectively. Check out our Volunteer Coordinator Role Template to get an idea of what this role could involve at your club.

Connect regularly with your volunteers, to see how they’re doing and motivate them

Set aside some time to communicate with, and more importantly, listen to your volunteers will help them remain committed and motivated to your club. It will allow you to all be working towards your shared club goals together. Volunteers may have different ways they prefer to stay in contact. It’s a good idea to check what works best. Ways to stay in touch with your volunteers include:

  • Social media. Facebook or Twitter (or other Social Media sites) can be great ways to keep your volunteers updated, as well as, interacting with them on a range of topics.
  • Meetings. Informal meetings, as a group or individually will give volunteers a chance to ask any questions they may have, and suggest new ideas and projects.
  • E-mail. The majority of volunteers will have email addresses so this is a great opportunity to keep them updated and help them stay in touch with each other.
  • Social events. This is a great way to informally engage with your volunteers and participants. It is a great place for them to meet other volunteers, and it's fun too!

Recognise your volunteers to show they’re valued by the club

As simple as it may sound, thanking volunteers for their time and effort is often forgotten about or overlooked in sports clubs. You could do this in a formal or informal way. Some ideas include:

  • Volunteer award evenings
  • Volunteer recognition in newsletters, or other club communications
  • Personal thank-you letters
  • Regular ‘shout-outs’ at the end of activity sessions

A successful volunteer programme is a team effort, so share with any paid staff, Board members, members, athletes and parents about the vital role of volunteers, and the difference they are making to the club. Use our Volunteer of the Month template for a quick and easy way to recognise your volunteers on a regular basis.

Recognising Young Volunteers

If you have young people volunteering with you, a great way to recognise their efforts is through vInspired awards. vInspired is a charity which pairs organisations, including sports clubs, with young volunteers (14-25 year olds). Through vInspired, young volunteers can work towards their V10, v30, v30 and v100 awards, showing how many hours they've spent volunteering, which look great on CVs and as a discussion point in job interviews.

So, if your club currently has 14-25 year olds volunteering with you, or it could do in the future, you can sign-up with vInspired as an award provider. If your young people also sign-up with vInspired, they can start working towards their awards.

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.

Helping your volunteers to develop their skills is a great way to show you value their time and commitment to the club. If your volunteers are engaged and feel valued by your club, they are more likely to tell their friends and family how great it is, helping you find new volunteers in the future.
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