Volunteer management

Volunteers are crucial to clubs and organisations. Volunteering is extremely important as it:

  • Empowers individuals
  • Adds value to not for profit organisations
  • Strengthens communities
  • Is worth billions of dollars to the Australian community.

Volunteers are the life blood of your club. Without them clubs simply cease to function.

Before your club takes a fresh approach towards volunteer recruitment, answer the following questions:

  • Is your organisation prepared for more volunteers?
  • Does your organisation appreciate the value of volunteers?
  • Is the committee prepared and willing to help with interviewing, orientation, training and supervising volunteers?
  • Are there volunteer position descriptions in place?
  • Have you prepared recruitment materials such as brochures, flyers and a volunteer handbook?
  • Have you appointed a volunteer coordinator?

Clubs with Silver level Go Clubs accreditation have access to a suite of position descriptions.

Managing volunteers

The following actions can help your club to manage its volunteers:

  • Develop and enforce codes of conduct and related policies for participants, officials, coaches, instructors, leaders, volunteers, parents and spectators to ensure the management of people is of a high standard
  • Develop a suite of policies and procedures which specifically seek to avoid committee burnout
    Remember, your committee comprises volunteers who also need attention
  • Develop volunteer agreements
  • Establish a large pool of volunteers to relieve the burden on a few individuals
    Remember, you should aim to have a large number of volunteers who can each take on smaller tasks. People are more likely to volunteer if asked to commit to smaller, dedicated periods of time to complete defined tasks
  • Match volunteer tasks with the individual skills of volunteers so tasks are easier for them and the club benefits from the expertise of its members
  • Register for the Go Clubs Young Volunteers Program.

Clubs with Bronze level Go Clubs accreditation have access to a volunteer agreement template.

Clubs with Silver level Go Clubs accreditation have access to a volunteer handbook.

Volunteer management planning

Clubs should develop a volunteer management plan to guide effective volunteer contributions. A volunteer management plan does not need to be complex, but should list the club’s volunteer needs, including the number of people and skills required, as well as strategies for attracting people to these volunteer roles and retaining them. The plan should seek to identify an optimal number of volunteer positions and ways to support volunteers to prevent volunteer burnout and to retain volunteers.

Clubs with Silver level Go Clubs accreditation have access to a volunteer management plan template.

Training volunteers

Volunteers usually need initial induction as well as ongoing in-service training. Induction is an important part of making the volunteer feel welcome and valued in addition to keeping them safe.

Induction programs should cover:

  • The aims and purposes of the organisation (club vision, mission, values)
  • Policies (volunteers should understand all organisational policies)
  • Practical information (basic club information and facility orientation)
  • People (volunteers should be introduced to all staff and volunteers)
  • Volunteer issues (volunteers should be given information about the support structures available to them).

Volunteer training is important because:

  • New volunteers learn about the organisation and their specific tasks
  • Existing volunteers can perform their roles better and take on new work as the organisation changes
  • Volunteer confidence and satisfaction increases with training

Training can either be formal or informal. Formal training is provided in a structured manner such as the training required for accreditation (e.g. coaching accreditation courses, first aid courses, referee courses). Informal training is non-structured, whereby volunteers can learn by doing and experiencing all aspects of the role (e.g. on-the-job training for committee members in running effective meetings).

You should work with your committee to determine the training and individual needs in your organisation.

Volunteer recognition

Recognising and rewarding volunteers benefits both the volunteer and the club and can result in continuous improvement of volunteer performance, as well as increasing the chances of retaining the service of your volunteers.

There are many ways for an organisation to recognise and reward its volunteers:

  • Smile, say hello and thank volunteers regularly
  • Write letters and postcards of thanks to volunteers
  • Provide discounted membership to volunteers
  • Present volunteer awards at annual general meetings or awards ceremonies
  • Feature your volunteers at special events throughout the year
  • Provide complimentary tickets to volunteers for special events or functions
  • Arrange discounts at local stores or restaurants
  • Have a regular or recurring volunteer award program, such as a 'volunteer of the month'
  • Provide your volunteers with special items of clothing that clearly identify them and the volunteer work they do