It’s a week to recognise and thank our volunteers in sport and recreation, but it is also the chance to consider how you can help your grassroots, community clubs to recruit, retain and reward their volunteers.
We were awarded the Join In brand in late 2016 and we pledged to continue building on the sport volunteering legacy created from London 2012. The sport and recreation sector continues to change with every year, but the need for volunteers has remained consistent and Join In can help you and your clubs find the volunteers you need to help get the nation active.
Join In has been connecting volunteers with the clubs that need them through a simple online platform that can be used by any sport or recreation club to advertise volunteering opportunities. Currently for every opportunity featured on the website, there is four times the number of volunteers wanting to get involved, meet new people and develop their skills.
You can help your clubs tap into these volunteers by encouraging them to create a profile on the Join In website. This will allow them to list their volunteering opportunities and take advantage of an already engaged network of people looking to volunteer. Many volunteers get their volunteers by word of mouth or from people who are already involved with the sport or physical activity.
But the Making Time research published in summer 2016 by Join In showed it’s a good idea for clubs to advertise their volunteering opportunities in other places. The research reported that 36% of people interested in volunteering in sport looked online and on social media and that advertising outside of the club also means that clubs can get people from the local community active with the club.
The research also stressed the importance of talking about and promoting the benefits volunteering in sport and recreation can bring to an individual. The research was derived from the largest volunteering survey of over 300,000 volunteers and found that volunteering in sport and recreation is positive for an individual’s wellbeing and happiness. In a separate piece of research, it was found that people who have volunteered in sport and recreation agree that they have 10% self-esteem, emotional wellbeing and resilience than general volunteering.
The Making Time research also produced a framework called GIVERS – a practical tool to help clubs recruit, retain and reward volunteers.
The research also identified some of the myths surrounding getting involved in sports volunteering and the GIVERS framework then shows how clubs can adjust their messaging to appeal to people who may never have considered volunteering in sport. The framework also helps show clubs how to better manage volunteers as the research showed that sports volunteers are more likely to quit volunteering than general volunteers.
Part of this includes recognising how important volunteers are and remembering the little things like saying “Thank You”. This can help make a massive difference to making sure volunteers feel valued – which of course we all know that without them, sport and recreation just wouldn’t happen.
Make sure this Volunteers’ Week you encourage your clubs to thank their volunteers and to visit the Join In website to recruit their volunteers today.