How to grow your volunteer network

6 tips from Thrapston CC volunteer coordinator Jo Thomas

During an 18-year involvement with Thrapston CC, volunteer coordinator Jo Thomas has overseen a huge rise in the club’s network of volunteers. “I don’t really see it as volunteering,” she says. “I just see it as helping out and spending time with my friends.” Here, she shares her best advice for clubs looking to get more people involved.

Welcome everyone

With 18 teams running across the club, Thrapston CC has secured its place at the heart of its community. Jo says: “We’ve always said that anyone who wants to play cricket can play at Thrapston. Because we’re such a family friendly and inclusive club, everyone knows everyone else and over time people just naturally want to help.”

Offer different roles

Volunteering isn’t a one-size-fits-all activity, says Jo. Some are happy with a regular commitment. Others want to make a one-off contribution. “If anybody wants to help, there’s always something they can do,” she says. “Whether it’s coaching, scoring, ground maintenance, selling hot dogs, or even going to the shop to collect the bread rolls for those hot dogs, there’s a range of tasks that suit different people’s lifestyles.”

Pair up volunteers

Jo recommends trying to maximise the social aspect of volunteering by asking people to do activities in pairs. This makes it feel less of a chore and more like a couple of friends simply passing the time. “If you pair people, it really encourages them to get involved,” she says. “It’s much easier to get friends to come down and do something together, even if it’s just selling our Joker Poker fundraiser tickets on a Friday night. It all helps.”

Cricket Collective - View From A Club v2

Work together for best results

Recruiting and growing a network of volunteers is a whole-club effort, says Jo. “At Thrapston, we’ve got a fantastic secretary,” she says. “In fact, all the senior team work together to get things done as quickly as possible. That spirit is key when you’ve got to coordinate so many volunteers while also delivering the actual cricket across so many teams.”

Recruit ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ kids

Teenagers completing their Duke of Edinburgh awards are often perfect volunteers, says Jo. “You’ve got a captive audience. They’ve got to do volunteering, and cricket coaching with younger kids is a great way for them to tick off their hours. They’ve got all the skill and knowledge they need to train six-year-olds. All you need then is a parent acting as the responsible adult, and in effect just doing crowd control. The teenager delivers the coaching.”

Plan your registration forms

When new people become involved in the club, make sure you find out as much as you can about their skills and knowledge. A simple extra question on your registration form can pay huge dividends. “Just ask if they’ve any skills that might be useful, and if they’d be willing to donate an odd hour here or there,” says Jo.

Visit the Learning Hub to find out more about volunteering in cricket.