I came across a good article on Canadian Sports Information Resource Centre blog focusing on a topic so relevant to grassroots sports clubs – how to recruit volunteers. Finding people to help you with your cause with limited finances has always been an uphill battle, but youth volunteers can be a good resource to develop your club now and in the future. Here’s how!
The article makes a great point how young people are an ideal target group for sports clubs. They are looking for opportunities to find new friends, develop their skills and build their career and volunteering is often the first step for the youth to step into the work force.
From my own experience, considering their action-packed lives, young people are surprisingly open to volunteering. For them, working in sports clubs is a great way to get involved as most of them have grown up doing sports and have some idea of how the daily business goes on. At the same time, as they haven’t seen behind the scenes themselves, it offers them an exciting opportunity to gain knowledge, insight and new skills.
First four steps to recruit the next great volunteer
1. Check your own sports club first!
For recruiting these volunteers, look inside your own club first. Is there anyone who stands out with his or her organizing or leadership skills? Or maybe just give the message out to everyone – the next great volunteer may be the one you least expect it! Your own club members have a strong connection to the club, making them the perfect candidates to start with.
2. Define the needs you have
To expand your volunteer network, you need clearly define the work they will be doing. Find out the easier, more fun activities to start with and gradually incorporate new recruits to more difficult tasks as they want to keep on learning.
The first responsibilities are the ones that will get your young volunteers hooked. Consider some “cool” things them can do such as photographing or playing games with children to get them to sign up and keep them excited.
3. Deliver the message in suitable form
The aforementioned blog post points out how your message should target young people most effectively. Social media is obviously a must-have in your lists of communication channels, but don’t forget face to face communication and as well in schools, universities, sports matches and other places where young people might listen to your proposals.
Often, the beginning of school year is a good idea to get the best results with recruiting as people are looking for new challenges, new beginnings. Working together with other youth organizations can bring you great benefits as well. Getting other people to recommend your sports club for volunteering is a trustworthy way to reach your audience.
4. Build a community of volunteers
There’s no better tool for finding new sports volunteers than your current volunteers speaking highly of the experience. Word-of-mouth is the holy grail of all marketing activities. Building a community where young volunteers can find new friends, network and have fun as well will be your best tool for that.
Always remember that they are giving your sports team their free time. Reward them for that with “extracurricular” activities such as a thank-you dinner or a fun social event where they can enjoy each others company in a relaxed environment.
For more information, check out SIRC’s blog which has some great links for further reading.
Have any good volunteer recruiting tips yourself? Let us know in the comments below!