Volunteer boost at Emsworth inspired by clubs conference

Emsworth Sailing Club boosted its volunteer base after being inspired by an RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference
21 Oct 20

Emsworth SC was inspired by the RYA South Affiliated Club Conference in 2019 and has not only increased the number of volunteers but also found some hidden talent!

The theme of the conference – Putting People First – was perfect timing for Emsworth, says Honorary Treasurer Joe Burnie, coinciding with the appointment of incoming commodore Jane Scott and lots of ideas already being shared by committee members for transforming the club.

“The conference was about clubs putting people at the forefront of their decision making and a key point was that finding and keeping volunteers was getting harder,” he says. “This was already on the agenda at the club and coincidental with us re-thinking how we communicate with members, and moving our website to Sailing Club Manager, so it was good serendipity.

“One tip at the conference was ‘ask your members if they can help’ and I know it sounds daft, but it works! We decided to send out an all-club email to members asking for help with our website and communications - whereas usually we would just ask the people we know – and the response was massive. A whole lot of people we didn’t know got in touch and by the end of that day we had about 10 volunteers. We discovered we had lots of hidden untapped talent - including a guy who had spent 10 years with Google in the States - who were all very willing to help.  So the website is refreshed and our communications have been transformed.”

For the first time in years the club also sent a message to every member to ask them to volunteer, rather than just to those who volunteered last year, which Joe says likewise found some new volunteers: “They include an 88-year-old who volunteered for three Assistant Race Officer duties, who hadn’t done a duty for over 15 years but was delighted to be asked once again! We’ve increased club volunteering by simply making more requests to more members.”

At the same time the club moved from Dutyman to SCM Duty Roster, which is integrated with the club’s new website, making volunteering easier and more visible and improving communication about volunteering for duties with members.

Joe adds: “I went along to the Affiliated Club Conference with an open mind and it was really useful to hear all the stories from other clubs about volunteering. The conference was great for ideas and there’s real value in chatting to other clubs and seeing what they’re up to.”

Emsworth SC volunteers helping to sweep the slipway, credit Emsworth SCBook your FREE ticket for the RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference!

Sailing clubs across the country are booking to make the most of this year’s online RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference as they look to the future following the challenges of 2020.

The annual conference usually takes place at multiple regional venues but due to Coronavirus restrictions it will this year be held as a virtual, national event, on Saturday 21 November.

An easy-to-use online platform will make the 2020 RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference more accessible than ever before, with a world-class line up of speakers headlined by Sir Ben Ainslie on the day itself.

Throughout the weekend there will also be an online expo area where interactive ‘stands’ will offer access to RYA legal, racing and training teams, with bookable 1-1 appointments, live text Q&As, club case studies, regional and Home Country updates, downloadable resources and on-demand video.

There will then be a whole series of webinar ‘workshops’ commencing Monday 23rd November, giving clubs a chance to find out more about topics including recruiting and managing volunteers, environmental sustainability, reducing membership churn, engaging local communities, delivering a great experience to a wider audience, and promoting clubs to potential new members.

Tickets for this year’s conference are free and club officers, committee members and volunteers are invited to book now, even if they are not yet sure about their availability, because the live content will also be recorded and available to delegates afterwards.

For all the details about this year’s RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference and to secure your FREE ticket visit: www.rya.org.uk/go/affiliateconference