Just like it is for your player numbers, it is far better to retain as many volunteers as possible to reduce the reliance on recruitment.
Most volunteers don’t volunteer for the recognition, however, never underestimate the power of a “thank you”. Recognising the efforts of volunteers plays an important part in volunteer retention.
Recruitment to undertake key tasks takes more time & effort when compared to volunteers who return the next year. Appreciated volunteers will often stay longer and speak more highly about the club.
Remember that your volunteers generally live directly within your community and can either positively or negatively impact the perception of the club with current or prospective players, volunteers, sponsors, council reps etc.
Some simple tips to consider:
You will help your volunteers enjoy their experience by understanding what they want to get out of the role and then by helping them achieve this.
Some may be interested in volunteering to meet new people. Some to simply give back. Some may want to help their job prospects. Some would volunteer if they received a direct benefit (e.g. $x discount on fees).
This is a key task for the recommended Volunteer Coordinator role.
Footy clubs spend a lot of time talking about and celebrating the efforts of players. Clubs that regularly celebrate their volunteers, through things like public displays of recognition in front of the players, go a long way to recognising & retaining volunteers and creating a club with a great culture – which often leads to on-field success.
There are so many things that a club can do that either take little or no financial investment. Consider things like:
- Have a Volunteer of the week / month / year award where you profile & thank a volunteer through your various platforms (website, noticeboard, social media, local media, team selection dinners, club events etc.)
- Have a whole of club volunteer appreciation week where the volunteer roles are mostly filled by players. Volunteers enjoy VIP treatment for the whole week without having to lift a finger and are thanked by team captains. Volunteers could walk through a player guard of honour. Perhaps align this timing with National Volunteers Week held annually during May
- Have a surprise gift or event just for volunteers (simple things like a canteen voucher or even a post-season thankyou BBQ are a nice touch)
- Nominate volunteers for any local, state or national award & celebrate any finalists / winner. This includes the AFL National Awards
- Include volunteers within hall of fame / life membership awards
- Provide an end of season thank you email / letter from the Club President. The Committee should do one for the President.
Reward your volunteers by presenting them with an AFL branded recognition certificate.
- Download certificate
- Right-click and save the file to your computer
- Open the file using Adobe Reader
- Edit the Name and Date by clicking on the existing text and then typing the name of the person you wish to recognise and the date you want to be listed on the certificate
- Click file and ‘save as’ to save the certificate to your computer
- You can then arrange to print these yourself or professionally through a local printing company (eg. Officeworks) and distribute them as you wish