Community sports clubs and groups often entirely rely on a team of committed volunteers. 

With seven out of 10 clubs and groups reporting a shortage of volunteers, it’s important to encourage and support new people to give their time (SIRC Clubs Survey 2018).

Ensuring new people feel welcome and successfully integrating them into your team of existing volunteers can sometimes feel like a challenge. This following points provides some key hints and tips for organisations looking to expand and retain their volunteer team.

  1. Create a strong volunteering culture and promote the benefits.
    Build volunteering into your culture by linking it into your values, creating an inclusive approach to recruitment, keeping your volunteering offer central to your club’s development.

  2. Identify what skills you need and how people can help
    Before you engage new volunteers, be clear what you need help with. However, it is good to make sure people know they can get involved no matter their skills, experience or background. Try to break roles down into interesting, engaging and flexible tasks to offer bite-sized volunteering opportunities that don’t take up too much time and can be completed when it is convenient for the volunteer. The smaller the ask, the better!

  3. Understand people’s individual needs
    Each volunteer is unique and has their own needs and motivations. Speaking to them in advance helps build their confidence and enables you to find out more about them, their motivations and skills, how much time they can give, what they want to be involved in, any training they might need, and if they would prefer interactive, people-facing tasks/roles or something behind the scenes.

  4. Fit the person to the task or roles
    Knowing what you need help with and understanding people’s interests and skills will enable you to match them with the tasks and roles that best suit them.

  5. Nominate a volunteer coordinator
    Having an individual, or possibly more than one person, take responsibility for the recruitment and retention of volunteers can enhance the volunteer experience, develop a strong volunteering culture and ensure everyone feels confident, supported, recognised and valued.

  6. Don’t throw someone in the deep end, as it can put them off.
    Providing information ahead of time about what they’ll be doing, how, where and with who, can help. Written induction packs, open days, FAQs, video or online briefings and premeets are just some of the ways you can do this.

  7. Continue to connect
    Keep in contact with your volunteers as much as possible. Find out how their first few sessions went and check back in regularly to see how they are getting on. Don’t forget to give and ask for feedback. Developing things like Whatsapp groups, newsletters and social events can create a sense of community and loyalty, and help people stay connected.

  8. Involve volunteers in decision making
    Getting people involved in decision making at your club or group gives them a voice, helps develop their sense of ownership and enables them to show leadership and take initiative.

  9. Kindness goes a long way
    Acknowledging what volunteers do, saying thank you and rewarding them for their efforts go a long way to showing that you recognise and value their contribution. Consider rewarding people and providing incentives. Things like certificates, events, awards, training and development opportunities and enabling people to volunteer in friendship or family groups can really help to keep them motivated.

Further Resources & Information

© City of Kalamunda 2023