It’s important to think broadly how you can encourage new people to want to be part of your volunteer team and to make a difference in their community. Thinking about who you can engage and where you might find them are really important considerations when you are looking to recruit new volunteers.
By reaching out beyond your ‘core’ team of volunteers to engage others within the club, as well as to organisations and individuals beyond, you will increase the opportunity to grow the capacity, diversity and skillset within your volunteer team. Your chances of successfully engaging people to give their time often depends on how the volunteering opportunity is presented. It’s really important that it is perceived as something that is appealing, flexible and meets the motivations of the volunteer.
For more guidance on maximising your engagement of potential volunteers, check out the topic on engaging volunteers here.
Where to find new volunteers
- Look within your Club- Asking people within your club network 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!
- Members- a significant proportion of volunteers are existing or previous members of the club, people who want to give back to the club and want to help enable the club to operate and thrive. However, it is often the case that clubs are reliant on a handful of regular, committed volunteers. Think about how you can encourage your wider membership to step up; whether that’s once or twice a season helping serve the post-match refreshments, or asking members what their skills and interests are and what they are willing/ able to do to help the club function and thrive.
Top Tip: Ask members as part of an annual survey if they are willing to help, how much time they can offer and what skills and experience they have.
- Young People- young people can be a fantastic addition to your team of volunteers, offering new ideas and thoughts on how the club can provide the right experiences for the younger audience. With opportunities to develop skills in leadership, communication, coaching and many others, young people are often keen to step up and support their club, but can sometimes be overlooked. Engaging young people is also a great way for you to begin to develop the club volunteers of the future.
- Parents- engaging parents is a great way to quickly and significantly increase your volunteer capacity. Many parents, if asked, would be more than happy to help collect the subs, meet and greet arrivals, or put out the cones. Think about tasks not roles that are needed at your sessions, allowing your coaches to focus on what they do best- coaching. Remember, the smaller the ask the better. The trick is to make clear it does not need to be a regular commitment, and where possible, limit the time it will take for them to fulfil the role. It doesn’t need to be a weekly or even a monthly commitment, many clubs have successfully engaged parents by asking for their support once or twice a season.
- Look outside your club - Broadening your search to include the wider community can bring in fresh perspectives, skills, experiences and make your volunteer pool more diverse.
Top Tip: Don’t forget that a personal ask is just as important when recruiting from your local community too!
- 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. They offer a brokerage service, which means they match volunteers to local organisations, in person, by phone and online. You can find details of your local centre here.
- Community Voluntary Service- CVS act as an umbrella organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors (VCSE) in different areas. They offer a wide variety of services including training and development support for community organisations, networks and forums to encourage information sharing and innovation within the VCSE. You can find details of your local CVS here.
Click here to hear about how Bexley Volunteer Centre was able to help a local rugby club with volunteer recruitment
- Search engines- there are a number of national and local search engines which can help sports clubs attract more volunteers from their local communities. Check out Join In, Do.it.org and local platforms to share details of your volunteering needs with a whole new audience looking for volunteering opportunities in your area!
- 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. Reach out to your local school and let them know about the amazing developmental opportunities you can provide to their students.
Other organisations who can help you- There are a number of organisations and programmes that can help link your club with potential volunteers. These include:
- 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 your sport.
- Active Partnerships: Active Partnerships (formerly County Sport Partnerships) play a key role in helping clubs develop and support their volunteers. They can also help promote your volunteering opportunities and signpost potential volunteers to your clubs, as well as provide support and guidance about working with schools, colleges and universities in your area. You can find details of your local partnership here.