Rewarding and Retaining Volunteers
Once you have recruited, appointed and inducted your volunteers, it is very important that all your hard work does not go to waste. Managing and retaining your volunteers will lead to greater stability, better team work and increased development opportunities for your club. The more volunteers you can keep the less time and energy you have to spend on recruiting new ones.
Volunteers will need different levels and styles of support. But it is important for all volunteers to feel that they can ask for help and have equal status to express their opinions.
Good team managers know that to get the best out of their team they need to provide:
- A clear focus on objectives
- Recognition of achievements and performance
- Training and support to develop skills
- Team building activities
Through regular contact with volunteers you can detect the changes and respond before they are lost. For example, if someone is finding they do not have the time available that they once had, they may be interested in a job share or a different role. Or alternatively a volunteer may have become bored with their role and are looking for a new challenge.
If your Club finds itself in a situation where some volunteers are becoming disillusioned, increasing the likelihood of them leaving, you need to act quickly as not responding to this can lead to them becoming unproductive. It may be that you can resolve the situation and engage them positively within your Club again. Not addressing the situation will ultimately lead to a drain on your time and resources. Therefore remain focused and put the needs of your Club before the needs of individuals.
Take a few minutes to think about your volunteer team and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the team still up to full strength?
- If not,why have people opted out? Overload? Boredom? Wrong job? Personal reasons?
- Are they working well as a team?
- Is the work being shared out or are one or two people doing more than their fair share?
- Are jobs being delegated appropriately, or are one or two people holding on to jobs?
- Are there any gaps in the team, perhaps some skills that are missing?
- How would you describe the team spirit? Are they a happy team of people with what they are doing and working on together?
- What do you think of the way in which you lead the team?
- Are people in the right positions?
- Are you using their skills, time and enthusiasm in the best way?
What about individuals?
- How are they performing?
- Are they still doing the job that they expected to do or that you want them to do - or has it grown into something else?
- Are they enjoying their involvement?
- Would some one-to-one support or skill development help them do even better?
Do your players actually know what work is needed to make a competition happen? Are your supporters aware of what makes the club survive?
Most volunteers say that they do not expect to be thanked or rewarded for their involvement because they enjoy it. However, it is likely that those same people would appreciate the work that they are doing being acknowledged and thanked for it.
Failing to recognise volunteers and making them feel unappreciated and unvalued can often lead to people losing their motivation for volunteering.