Volunteers are the best. They're invested, they're hard-working, and they help ease some of the administrative and financial burdens that naturally come with running a sports organization. Some people go out of their way to find volunteer opportunities on their own, which is greatly appreciated, but in a lot of cases, volunteers have to be roped in.
Here are some ideas for how you can locate and entice volunteers for this season:
Tap into Surrounding Schools
Are you near a college?
Higher education institutions contain a sea of student-athletes (and former high school athletes) who live and breathe sports, and will do anything to stay involved.
- Posting flyers in the campus recreation center is a great way to reach active students who can bring some young, lively blood to your organization.
- Email the college's coaching staff and see if they have any graduate assistants or student workers interested in helping. One of the coaches might even agree to help out!
- Many colleges have some type of sports management program, and these students are always looking for ways to bolster their resumes with volunteer experience. Try contacting the sports management Program Chair to spread the word.
Which high schools fall within your boundaries?
Try reaching out to the athletic director or the coaches of the same sport as your organization. They can pass along information to their parents and players, and point them in your direction if there is any interest. These parents and players probably participated in your organization (or a similar one), so they might jump at the chance to give back.
Utilize your Current Volunteers
I am convinced word-of-mouth travels faster than the speed of light. This is why using your network of volunteers can be instrumental in gaining new volunteers. Encourage them to call, email, text, tweet, post, and snap their friends and colleagues to gauge interest. Volunteers can be the biggest advocates for your sports organization, and the relationships they have with the people they are contacting can help your recruitment efforts.
If you have a website, you can also have your current volunteers direct people there for more information. New visitors to the website can learn more about your organization, and they can subscribe to updates by providing you with their contact information.
Introduce, Train, and Team Build
Once you have completed registration for the upcoming season, you will instantly have a pool of potential volunteer parents to pursue -- try saying that five times, really fast. At the first organizational meeting, make sure you introduce volunteer opportunities. One of the most important things to have ready for this meeting is a handout with a list of positions (including short descriptions). Adults are busy, and knowing the expectations upfront can help them make a decision quicker.
Once you have assembled your cast of volunteers, bring everyone together for a condensed training and team building session. For new volunteers, this can help them ease into their responsibilities. For returning volunteers, this gives them the chance to meet the new parents, pass along helpful advice, and establish a support system. You can also take this time to set-up a contact list for all of the volunteers to communicate. Sprinkle in some ice breaker and team builder activities, and you're all set!
How does your organization find potential volunteers and get them engaged?
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.