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. The main duties of the role are to:
- Audit existing volunteer roles, paying regard to any people who are being over-burdened by taking on too many roles
- Work with the management committee to identify gaps
- Document the roles with associated tasks and skills required
- Invite all associated with the club to nominate themselves for a vacant role and be available to discuss with any interested parties
- Assist with any role handovers
- Support new and existing volunteers to carry out their roles
- Organise any necessary training, workshops or checks
- Consider a buddying or mentor scheme for new joiners
- Ensure you have a recognition and reward programme to thank volunteers for their commitment.
Recruiting and retaining volunteers will be easier if you can provide upfront details of the responsibilities for each role and give an idea of how much time the role requires. Volunteers will want a clear idea of what is expected of them before signing up.
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 a club information leaflet. You can simply download the club information leaflet template and adapt the layout to work for your club. The leaflet should aim to tell potential volunteers about the club, the jobs that need to be done, who to contact if they can help and to encourage them to provide you with some contact details to follow up. People like to be asked, it’s how most volunteers become involved!
If your club takes time to find out the needs and interests of your volunteers, you can find appropriate rewards for them. You should understand what motivates each volunteer and ensure you recognise their contribution. As well as taking time to train and develop volunteers, it is also important to reward them at the end of the season. It is easier to retain a volunteer in a role than train a new volunteer, so bear this in mind when looking after existing helpers.