Friday, July 24, 2015

Recruiting and Keeping Your Volunteers

When it comes to your youth hockey league, there’s a good chance that you rely on volunteers to help you get through the season and to make even having a season possible.  

Unfortunately, though, finding good, quality volunteers- ones who are truly dedicated to providing superior service on a consistent basis- can be difficult. If you truly understand the reasons why people volunteer, however, and what it takes to recruit and maintain quality volunteers, you can build a backing of reliable, good-hearted people to assist you in this hockey season and the ones beyond.

The Reasons People Volunteer

First things first, it’s import to understand the myriad of reasons why people volunteer. When you understand those, it becomes much easier to appeal to potential volunteers and to get them interested.

Some of the more common reasons people give for volunteering include:

l  They value/believe in the cause they are supporting. In the case of youth hockey, this might mean going after hockey supporters, such as those who once participated in hockey themselves, and parents, who support and believe in fostering athleticism in their children and others.
l  They have a desire to learn more about the cause. High school and college students who are interested in one day being coaches or physical education teachers are a perfect example of volunteers who stand to gain valuable understanding and learning experiences from their volunteerism.
l  They need a social outlet. By promoting volunteer opportunities as a fun way to meet others with similar interests, it’s very easy to attract those who are interested in volunteering for social reasons.
l  They desire personal enhancement. Many people volunteer because they want to feel like they are making a difference. By promoting the positive things your league does for children and by constantly rewarding and thanking volunteers, it’s easy to appeal to these types of volunteers and potential volunteers.

As you can see, once you understand the reasons people are likely to volunteer, it becomes much easier to learn how to best “market” and promote volunteer opportunities to those in your community.

Finding Volunteers

Once you understand these reasons for volunteering, it’s easy to find people whom you can interest in your available volunteer opportunities.

Start simply by recruiting parents, teachers, and others with a direct relation to and interest in one or more of your players.

If you still need volunteers, post ads at the local high schools and colleges or even post an ad online or in the local paper.

You can find volunteers just about anywhere; it’s the keeping them that’s the hard part!

Keeping Volunteers

You can keep your volunteers around by, first and foremost, making them feel welcome and appreciated the very first time they help out the organization.

Also, never make too large of a demand on your volunteers’ time. If they can only give you two hours a week, be grateful for those two hours and don’t ask for more, at least not right away.

If, after a while, you’d like to increase the amount of volunteering someone does, ask for a small increase, which can slowly build over time.

No matter how much or how little a volunteer serves, always show extreme appreciation and gratitude as this is a surefire way to keep the volunteers you have, and your happy volunteers might just encourage others to come out and join the in their helpful efforts.

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