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.
Kent FA's Next Generation 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.