Barriers to volunteering

Understand how to overcome the barriers to volunteering

Overcoming barriers to training

Volunteers  often  don’t  have  the  time  or the  money  to  undertake  training.  Asking people to give their time to volunteering is difficult enough so, in some circumstances, asking  for  more  time  to  train  to  do  the  job  might  just  be one step too far (Sport England, 2003).

Money Issues

The following scenario will help to explain why money isn’t always an issue:

“We’re a small club –we can’t afford to train our volunteers”

  • It only takes one person to have an instructor qualification to give guidance to other members.
  • Smaller clubs could run informal ‘in-house’ training, for instance: tips/pointers, an introduction to sailing or guidance on instruction.
  • Hire an instructor for the weekend and offer reduced rates to members.
  • Join forces with other local clubs or water sports centres, try and get a group of members together and then you may be eligible for a group discount.
  • Remember investment  will  pay  off – help  to  fund  a  couple  of volunteers to do courses and they could eventually teach a multitude of club members!

Time Constraints

“We have a good volunteer pool but not all volunteers are around at the same time”.

  • Plan training weekends well in advance –include dates and venues at the beginning of the season in the club calendar.  This way, members know when they can get training and will plan attendance well ahead.
  • Or, if you are unsure send out a form to gauge interest for training and plan as appropriate: do this at the beginning of the year.
  • Organise a few weekends through the season, so members can pick and choose. Put the most important courses early on so volunteers are ready for the coming year, i.e. race officer, safety boat or sail training. ‘Refresher sessions’ are a good idea for these roles.
  • Two shorter sessions might be more accessible than one. Parents, for example, may be happy to attend training whilst their children are at club sessions.
  • Occasionally, substitute training for regular meetings when volunteers would normally expect to be at the club anyway.

Make training accessible

Ensure that facilities are accessible for your disabled volunteers. Think about timing and try to present options to  volunteers, think about the suggestions above.

It is important to remember that  different  clubs  will  have different  barriers  to training. Some  may  be  financially stretched, or some may have a large membership so getting people in one place at one time could be an issue.  In some circumstances actually getting to the venue may be an obstacle!

Whatever your club’s issues with training, don’t worry, Think about what the possible barriers are and how the club can overcome them.

Member relationships

Find out how your committee can lead the way in creating a friendly and inclusive culture

How to get involved

Not knowing how to get involved is one of the top reasons members don't volunteer. Use out 7 simple steps to make sure your club is communicating effectively