Clubs need volunteers to operate however often find it hard to recruit new volunteers.

Sports Australia commissioned significant research into volunteering in sports clubs titled Market Segmentation for Sports Participation – Volunteering. The research found nearly one in four people said they were likely or extremely likely to volunteer in a sports club, with three-quarters coming from those who currently are not volunteering in club sport.

The results also show that one in three Australians who were not currently volunteering in club sport, reported they would volunteer if they were asked to do so. But before you ask people to volunteer, its is a good idea to work why you need volunteers. These steps will help jump start the recruitment process.

Step one: Create a database of your current volunteers including their skills, interest areas and other relevant information.

Step two: Create a list of current and future roles within your clubs. This includes game day requirements, special events like pre-season launches, committee positions, and other operational requirements at your club.

Step three: Review your database and your list of roles and determine where you have a surplus/shortage of volunteers. This will ensure you are recruiting volunteers in the right area.

Step four: Create job descriptions for each position. Job descriptions should include volunteer position title, required time commitment, skills needed and the tasks the volunteer will be required to complete. This will help provide clarity around what a volunteer will be asked to do and remove potential barriers preventing someone from volunteering.

Step five: Find and appoint volunteers. Here are some places to start your search:

  • Current and past players
  • Friends and families of players
  • Local retirement homes and schools
  • Club sponsors
  • Seek or other job search platforms
  • Local community website/newsletter
  • Expression of Interest on club website
  • Volunteer expression question on club registration forms

Remember most people are willing to volunteer, they just need to be asked.

Step six: Induct new volunteers. Although usually informal, volunteer inductions are very important as it will help your volunteers feel welcome and comfortable. An induction can take place over several sessions and it doesn’t all have to be completed on the first day. Clubs should also consider a buddy system for new or less experienced volunteers.

Your volunteer induction should cover:

  • Club policies and procedures
  • Information about the club and its activities
  • A job description and/or work instructions outlining what the volunteer will be doing
  • Contact details for the volunteer coordinator and other club members that the volunteer may need to contact
  • Tour of the ground/facilities
  • Introduction to people they will work with

After the induction, check that the volunteer:

  • Has understood their role
  • Knows where to find all the equipment or resources that they need
  • Knows who to turn to if they have a problem