How you engage potential volunteers- from what you say, how you say it and the process they have to go through to become a volunteer- are all really important considerations which will help increase the chances of them agreeing to give their time. 

In all your recruitment planning and communications, it is important that you consider the following key messages:

What is the ask?

  • Be clear on the ask- where you have a specific need, be really explicit on what you’re asking them to do, including the level of commitment, responsibility and time required for the roles or tasks
  • Be specific about the skills, experience or qualifications which are needed.  Remember, a large number of tasks within a club require minimal, if any.  Further guidance on which roles or tasks may require checks or training can be found here.
  • Be open to offers  – You may be surprised what talents and experience people may bring and offer to do for you that don’t fit into a role but would be useful for your club- don’t be confined be preconceptions of what a volunteer in sport does. 
  • Provide a wide range of ways to volunteer – A choice of tasks can increase your chances of attracting a wide range of volunteers.  Be creative about how people can give their time to support your club.  Check out here how golf encourages people to give their time as a buddy to support new golfers.
  • Promote flexibility- try and be as flexible as possible about how, where and when the task or role is fulfilled.  If it can be done remotely, or at a time of day that suits the volunteer, you are more likely to find someone who is willing and able to help
  • Consider the language you use-  some people prefer the term ‘helping out,’ or ‘lend a hand’ to ‘volunteering’, which can have longer-term connotations.  Others are more likely to respond to the request for ad-hoc/ one-off requests for help.  Think about who you’re speaking to and what is likely to resonate with them
  • Make it clear that the club relies on volunteers to function- you may be surprised to learn that according to Join In’s Making Time report, 55% of the public did not know that sports clubs are run by volunteers!

Be clear on the benefits and impact of volunteering

  • Talk about what volunteers can get out of giving their time- whether it is a sense of satisfaction of supporting their child’s club, or the opportunity to make friends or develop skills, there are lots of benefits to be gained from giving their time.  For more information on the benefits of volunteering, take a look at our section on developing volunteers here.
  • Make clear the impact they will have by giving their time- people are more likely to be motivated if they know they will make a difference- ie the junior team may have to fold if there is no additional support for the coach

Have a clear recruitment process

  • Be explicit and clear about the process with potential volunteers so they know what to expect each step of the way, for example whether any DBS checks or safeguarding training are needed.  Click here for guidance on when DBS and safeguarding training are required.
  • Provide contact details for anyone interested to speak to- avoid application forms and ‘interviews’ where possible.  You can find out more about them when you meet for an informal chat
  • If references are part of the process, be clear about the purpose of the reference, who will contact the referee (your club or the volunteer themselves) and the questions you want the referee to answer.  
  • Let them know what support will be available for them- make sure there is someone they can speak to if they have any questions, in the lead up to their volunteering, during and after
  • Don’t delay: in today’s digital world people expect a quick response – slow or no responses will not create a good first impression of your club, so either make the time to recruit well or don’t do it until you can

Last modified: Friday, 24 September 2021, 9:36 AM