Keeping your volunteers motivated
Communication is the key!
It is vital to communicate clearly with all of your volunteers. Nothing frustrates a volunteer more than not being kept up to date – and it is also very important that your volunteers feel they are a valued and essential part of the club.
Keeping them up to date with everything that is happening during the season as well as plans for the next season is crucial. To help improve how you communicate and manage your volunteers some of the things you should consider are:
- Holding volunteer briefings at the beginning and end of the season. Be open and honest with your volunteers and ask how they feel and what they would like to see improved or changed.
- Making sure volunteers have a list of key contacts to ensure people keep in touch and pass on messages.
- Highlight the commitment of volunteers at your club through your club newsletter, Facebook or Twitter page. Highlight and outline the fantastic work that is carried out by volunteers at your club - especially to the players!
- Celebrate success! We shout when our players do well we should do the same for volunteers. So whether it is quietly saying thank you to a volunteer or nominating somebody for an award it is important for the motivation of volunteers that they feel club members genuinely appreciate their contribution.
- Review. All volunteers, however dedicated to your club, will need help with their motivation. Motivation will be gained in a number of ways and you need to consider why each individual is volunteering in order to cater for their needs and interests.
At the end of the season it is worth sitting down with each of your volunteers and asking some simple questions such as:
- Do they enjoy their role?
- Are they happy to continue to do this role next season?
- Would they like to do a different role at the club in the future?
- Is there any training which they think they need?
- Are there any issues or problems which they would like to discuss?
Skills and training can be a key retention tool. However, it can be a problematic subject when managing volunteers. Some people are keen to develop their knowledge and skills and see volunteering as an ideal way of doing this. Others, however, just want to turn up, do their task and go away again.
Skills and training should always be sold as a positive reward for volunteers.
Well-trained people will increase the retention of your volunteers, through helping them to focus and feel confidence in their on-going contribution.
Also, please don’t see the training of volunteers as merely sending your coaches on Level 1 and Level 2 courses. Take time to really consider and discuss what training is available and required for all your volunteers – regardless of how many years they have been doing the role!
You can organise skills and training events in a variety of ways:
- Delivered by your own team/staff
- Delivered by an external organisation (Volunteer Centres, Local Authority, Sports Coach UK)
- Delivered by the external organisations mentioned above and, in addition, national governing bodies, a local college, a private training provider etc.
If you are a big club, you may have enough people to bring external organisations in to deliver training at your own site. Alternatively, if you are a smaller club, you could get together with some other local clubs to make bringing someone in more affordable, or send your volunteers to an external workshop or event in the local area.
If you would like to discuss training of volunteers in more detail please get in touch with your county volunteer co-ordinator or local volunteer centre (links below) and they will be able to give specific advice on what courses you can access locally.