Volunteers are the backbone of grassroots football.

Without the time, dedication and commitment from the estimated 400,000 volunteers in England, the 37,000 clubs would simply not exist. A football club is about more than just the players on the pitch.

The Kent FA recognises the value of volunteers in running and developing football at every level.

Recruit more volunteers into football

One of the major tasks when starting a new club or for an existing club is to ensure you have enough people to run the club. There are a number of key roles, which need to be filled no matter whether you’re a one-team start-up or a 30-team FA Community Club.

It is important for clubs to plan and co-ordinate their volunteers to ensure all essential roles are fulfilled. Often it falls upon one or two committed parents who take on the running of a club, but taking on too much can be a burden and roles should be shared where possible. As a starting point, it is recommended that each club appoints a volunteer co-ordinator to recruit, support and oversee the volunteer operation.

This should be a senior role within the club and should be a part of the club management committee. The volunteer co-ordinator should be approachable, friendly, a good communicator and team player, enthusiastic and committed to the club.

It may be useful to write a list of the roles required for the club and who fulfils these roles. When roles become vacant, you can then look to fill these with other clubs members or people associated with the club.

One way in which you can advertise volunteering opportunities is through your local Volunteer Centre. Click here for a list for Kent based volunteer centres. In addition to this we encourage clubs to advertise via the UK’s national volunteering database, Do-it.org.

We also offer clubs and leagues the opportunity to advertise via our Perfect Match tool which allows you to place an advert to help find players, volunteers, clubs or leagues. All adverts are moderated and only approved adverts will be shown. You can submit an advert by clicking here

Support and develop existing volunteers

Volunteers are a major asset and if properly managed, can make a huge contribution to the success and sustainability of your club. Some clubs are successful in attracting volunteers, but the real success story will be in supporting the volunteers to fulfil their roles to the best of their ability – and retaining their services each season.

The key to managing volunteers is good leadership. An effective leader will be able to inspire, direct and guide volunteers in their roles.

If the recruitment process has been undertaken properly, volunteers will have a clear idea about the responsibilities associated with their new role. It is sensible to have an induction period to ease new volunteers into their role with a handover where necessary. Volunteers should be made to feel needed, useful, part of the team, welcome and thanked for their efforts.

Rewarding your volunteers for their hard work is key to retaining their services, but will also help raise the profile of volunteering within your club. Think how you reward players at an end-of-season presentation evening, and consider if this is an appropriate time to say thank you to your volunteers. Consider what gestures you could make to honour all the time they have committed.

Communicating the work of volunteers and the importance of their role within your club can help to identify new members willing to offer their time. There will always be a natural turnover of volunteers as many are parents of players who may leave the club, so it is vital to ensure you backfill roles. By promoting volunteering in your club’s communications and recognising contributions at matches and social events, you will raise the profile of the importance of volunteering.

The Kent FA Football Futures programme is an excellent opportunity for young volunteers to gain further knowledge and insight into various roles within football and can offer the start of a great adventure through volunteering in sport. Click here for more details on the programme


Useful websites

Who can help?

Lee Suter – Football Development Officer (Clubs and Leagues)
01622 792 140

Lee oversees all football participation in the adult male and female grassroots 11v11 game. He also delivers and supports the FA Charter Standard Club and League programmes and strategically identifies and supports new adult FA Charter Standard Clubs and Leagues. This also includes a comprehensive in service and funding programme for coaches.