It’s much easier to keep volunteers than it is to recruit new volunteers. When looking at volunteer retention, it’s important to understand why someone might volunteer for your club to ensure volunteering is attractive and fulfilling as possible.

Some reasons may include:

  • Wanting to give back
  • Family or friends are involved in the club
  • They play for the club
  • Gain experience for professional field
  • Social experience
  • Sense of belonging
  • Love AFL

It’s also just as important to understand the barriers to volunteering to make it as easy as possible for people to volunteer. Some reasons may include:

  • Time poor
  • Fear of getting asked to do more
  • Lack of understanding about the role or sport
  • Personality conflict
  • Club is disorganised

It may be helpful to survey current volunteers within the club to get a better understanding of what may and/or may not be working within your club. The following areas will also assist with volunteer retention.

Volunteer Rostering

Rostering is an important element of the volunteer management process. A roster will help volunteers know when they are required and for how long. This will ensure each role is filled and all duties will be suitably covered during game days and special events and stops the same few people carrying the load.

A roster can be built using an excel spreadsheet or free online tools. Consider using social media to pass messages and reminders around about rostering.

Succession Planning

Succession planning is a critical element of any well-run club. Most clubs have the same people in key roles for years but once they leave, the next person can struggle to fill their shoes due to lack of information sharing and documentation.

A good succession plan includes your club’s business and strategic plans, position descriptions and policies. While the initial set up may be time consuming, the long-term effect will ensure sustainability. A good success plan includes:

Business Plans and Strategic Plans – These plans give the Club direction, defines the Club’s objectives, maps out strategies and helps manage possible bumps in the road. They will outline the club’s goals and priorities is all that is needed to begin and can be added to as your club grows. Both plans are referred to regularly by committee members and can help a club remember the bigger picture.

Position Descriptions and Work Instructions - Job position descriptions and work instructions are essential for succession planning. It is critical to plan for the more routine weekly and monthly roles so that if someone leaves the club in a hurry, the next person can transition into the role smoothly.

Club Policies - A healthy club is clear about what is expected of their members, volunteer and football community. Policies summarise the appropriate processes when dealing with a range of situations.


Communication is key. While you should not spam your volunteers with constant communication, it is important to check in on your volunteers and share information about their roles and the club. Remember to keep your communication clear and purposeful. Key types of communication forms include:

  • Meetings
  • Social Media
  • E-Newsletters
  • Emails
  • Face-to-face conversation

Depending on the number of volunteers and the type of roles they fill, consider developing tailored communication plan for volunteers.

Volunteer Feedback

Its important to give your volunteers the opportunity to provide feedback on various aspects of the club. Clubs need to be open to receive informal feedback throughout the year and provide a platform for formal feedback. An end of season volunteer survey can give volunteers an opportunity to provide feedback. It’s also a great way to evaluate your club’s volunteer management techniques and get an idea if your volunteers are willing to return next season.