Clubs always aim to recruit more volunteers
As the 2011 Australian community football season ramps up, the question of where and how to find new volunteers inevitably starts being asked.
Most people in the community understand the need to volunteer but only a few actually think they have the skills or time to do it.
Clubs must look at attractive ways to recruit new volunteers to keep them coming back when there is no monetary award.
Where can we find volunteers?
Most volunteers get involved through personal contact: members, former members, supporters, their families and friends are likely to offer the keenest response to your need. Word of mouth is still the cheapest and best way of finding the people you want.
Don’t be scared to ask people. Research shows a large number of people have never become volunteers because no one has asked them!
Consider the following people:
- Parents, older siblings or family members
- Former players or players nearing retirement (many players wish to stay involved – some just need to be asked)
- Young people completing Physical Education/Human Movement studies or Leadership Programs
- Retirees and organisations dealing with older people
Most people can be persuaded to volunteer their time to the football club if the right techniques are used. This involves providing them with tools such as job descriptions.
Many people do not volunteer simply because they do not know what the job entails and they are not sure if they have the skills to do it. If they don't, offer them training!
How can we recruit volunteers?
Potential volunteers are everywhere and your football club’s recruitment campaign should contain information that is clear, accurate and attractive. Most importantly, it should be distributed to a wide audience.
When recruiting volunteers, consider the following ideas:
- Produce volunteer information kits – include details on volunteers at the club, job descriptions and club background material
- Check past and present membership lists – compile a mailing list and send out details about club activities
- Organise recruitment drives using current volunteers to promote the club and its activities
- Use the local newspaper – classified ads, letters to the editor, feature articles, press releases
- Produce posters, pamphlets and flyers that promote the club, its activities and its role in the community
- Distribut your materials in places where your potential volunteer may visit, such as the supermarket and community and school notice boards
- Organise community announcements on the radio
- Talk at pre-retirement training sessions in commercial sectors
- Promote your club and its activities to senior secondary and university students of Physical Education and Leisure Studies. Students are often desperate for experience, and will be highly enthusiastic
- Organise a bring a friend day where current volunteers bring along a potential recruit
- Organise social activities that are aimed at specific groups of people – try a social coffee morning, lunch or walking group for mums to attend. Many mums may not feel comfortable coming down to a club when they do not know anyone – give them the opportunity outside the club environment to make friends before you ask them to volunteer
- Once friendships are made, they will feel more confident to come down to the club
The best form of publicity comes from the volunteers. If they enjoy themselves and feel happy with the club they are more likely to talk to others about being involved.
How do we reward volunteers?
Remember, a volunteer is giving up their precious time for the club so you must show something in return. Always focus on the positive aspects of volunteering and being involved, such as making new friends, learning new skills and being part of a fun and exciting club.
Promote the rewards your club offers volunteers:
- New friendships
- New skills through training
- New experiences
- Exciting opportunities
- Social activities
To find volunteers you need to have a clear understanding of why you want them. You need to start planning for the club’s future. You don’t want to have someone hanging around with no clear idea as to why they are there, or how they can help. At the same time, volunteers don’t want to be given so many tasks that they can't possibly cope.
If you are clear in your mind why you want someone to help and are organised in the way you seek assistance, people are more likely to step forward and offer to help.
View a volunteer recruitment checklist
The six R’s approach to recruiting new volunteers
- Research – find out when, where, who and why about the existing volunteers within the football club and then use this research to identify a future recruiting drive.
- Reveal – use newsletters, flyers, newspapers, telephone, internet and radio to advertise the football club and the recruitment message of the value and benefits of becoming a volunteer.
- Relate – the most effective method of recruitment is word of mouth where happy volunteers are the best form of advertisement, so it is important that existing members relate and network with everyone.
- Reach – find volunteers with skills the club needs through targeting specific people, i.e. if the club needs someone to write newsletters or media releases, the club should seek a student studying journalism.
- React – to changing trends in society and look at ways of meeting these changes; organisations may need to adapt their expectations based on the trend in people being more time poor.
- Recruit – the whole organisation should be involved in recruitment and it should not be left up to one person such as the volunteer coordinator – the more active, the more likely new people will come on board.
Do you have any other volunteer recruitment ideas?