Once you’ve recruited volunteers, it’s important not to take their contributions for granted. Ensuring they have a positive experience and want to continue to give their time is really important. Key to this is establishing positive relationships with your volunteers through regular communication and appreciation.
Setting aside some time to communicate with, and more importantly, listen to your volunteers is vital.
Regular communication provides you with the opportunity to:
Involving volunteers in decision-making, especially in areas which affect them, can be really advantageous. Consider inviting them to attend Committee meetings, or to be members of working groups, if appropriate, or you can simply ask them what they think.
Let your volunteers know that they are making a difference! Whether they are coaching the youth team on a regular basis, maintaining the pitch to a decent quality, or serving the teas in the club house once a month, every volunteer, no matter how much time they give, plays an instrumental role in allowing the club to function. Volunteers like to feel that they have had an impact, so make sure they know! As well as thanks, always share any member survey results, fundraising achievements or community recognition awards.
As simple as it may sound, thanking volunteers for their time and effort is often forgotten about or overlooked in sports clubs, and is unfortunately, one of the main reasons why sports volunteers quit.
Volunteers want the time they give to be enjoyable! Think about how you can make being part of your volunteering team fun and exciting. This might be through social opportunities so volunteers can stay more connected and work better as a team, or through a WhatsApp group to help volunteers feel supported and that they are part of a fun group of people. Evidence shows that those who enjoy their volunteering, have met more people or made friends through volunteering, keep giving their time for longer.
Demonstrating commitment to the development of your volunteers can lead to a greater sense of engagement and value by the volunteer.