Volunteers are the lifeblood of grassroots football and any football club. Volunteerism builds capacity, engages the community and can empower people. Volunteers come in a number of guises:
- Coaches for your teams
- Managers to help organise teams and games
- Those who run the canteen/kitchen
- Club committee members
- Someone to sort of the team kit
Volunteer management and good practice is essential to any club wanting to be viable and sustainable entity for the medium to long term. Northern Football, along with your local Regional Sports Trust, is committed to assisting clubs in this area, and further below you’ll find some useful tips about Recruiting, Retaining and Recognising your volunteers.
Your clubs recruitment message for volunteers needs to be tailored to reach the intended target audiences, taking into consideration age, education, gender, income etc. It is also important that the club knows what skills are required for what position.
Here are some ideas to help in your recruitment:
- Put a call out in the local community newsletter
- Let them know what training and rewards are on offer
- Promote virtual volunteering opportunities, with tasks that can be completed online and at home
- Develop a job description for your volunteers positions
- Engage with the local volunteer organisations
- On registration forms ask if your members (or their parents) would like to help at the club
- Target university students looking for experience to put on their CVs
- Pick up the phone and ask someone to become a volunteer if you think they fit the bill!
Now that your club has found volunteers, the next big challenge is keeping them involved. When volunteers put their hand up to help, they want to know they are going to be looked after. But as volunteers vary in skill level and expertise, it is important to ask them what they need in terms of support, training opportunities etc.
Below are some ideas we think might help:
- Develop clear role descriptions outlining what is expected from your volunteers including key actions and how many hours per week they could be expected to do in the role.
- Provide your volunteers with a welcome pack and induction.
- Ensure you volunteers have someone who they can seek advice from
- Stay in touch and make sure your volunteers always know what’s going on at the club
- Provide your volunteers with training and upskilling opportunities such as a coaching course, an RST workshop or a first aid course.
- Survey your volunteers. Do you know what makes them tick? What has worked and not worked for them this season? What they want more / less of?
- Provide letters of support for people who have shown good service (especially youths) for job applications etc.
- Award them with an eCard or certificate at prizegiving
An important way to encourage your volunteers to remain with your club is to give them adequate recognition. To be effective, recognition should be consistent and ongoing. Volunteers can quickly lose motivation if they feel their work is not valued.
- Just say “Thanks”
- Reduced membership for your volunteers and their family
- Provide volunteers with club merchandise (e.g. jacket, t-shirt, cap)
- Throw an end of season party to say “Thanks”
- Provide vouchers or free tickets to a game
- Have a volunteer section on your website/Facebook page or on the wall at the clubrooms displaying the profiles of your volunteers. These people are your community, acknowledge and appreciate them.
For more information please contact our Community Development Manager Chris Smith