Recruiting and retaining volunteers is a common problem within all aquatics clubs in the UK and in the North East of England this is no exception. Often clubs are run by a small number of volunteers who often have more than one role in the club or on the committee. Traditionally volunteers have come into clubs through their children. They have often been encouraged off the balcony and onto poolside by other enthusiastic club members. Some people find this very daunting while others thrive with the new challenge. The trick when recruiting new volunteers is not to overwhelm them with any potential jobs, time commitments, qualifications, committee politics, but to first, in a friendly and non threatening manner, inform them of the key roles, the importance of roles within a club (if they weren’t done where would their child go for diving practice?) and to suggest that they may want to become involved and that their help would be appreciated at any level.
Volunteering in the modern world has changed over the last couple of years with many families and parents having limited time to support clubs and club activities. You may need to think ‘outside the box’ when considering how roles can be filled, for example. Many clubs are looking outside of their existing parents and helpers to volunteer organisations to find people to fulfil roles such as secretaries, chairmen, welfare officers and treasures. These people often provide an objective opinion and different perspective to committee and club meetings from those who are directly involved within the club which is often very refreshing.
Proving information to parents and guardians though news letters, social media, websites and at club galas is a useful way to publicise roles and the club’s committee. It’s important that the committee is a welcoming environment to encourage new people to get involved.
Once people are involved, it’s important that the club makes them feel valued. One of the ways in which this can be achieved is to offer training. Information on volunteer training can be Volunteer Training. Having presentation evenings, helper of the month / year, nominating volunteers for awards such as Aqua Force are all small things that can make a big difference.
It’s important to remember that people are giving up their time to support the running of the club. This can sometime influence how quickly things are done and often leads to frustrations and problems. Within the North East, the Regional Officers have set up and are in the process of establishing club networks where clubs based within similar areas have the opportunity to work together to achieve common goals. More information on club networks can be found here.
Young people are a valuable asset to any club and shouldn’t be overlooked when considered for volunteer roles. They are a fantastic link between the athletes and the committee and often have good teaching and coaching skills from their experience in the sport. More information on Young Volunteers can be Young Volunteers.
The ASA have developed a good video which provides information on finding and keeping volunteers. It can be viewed by clicking here.