Managing Volunteers

Volunteers are the heart and soul of a club. Few Waka Ama clubs need paid staff, which means that the whole club is usually made up of volunteers.

Why do people volunteer?

A volunteer is someone who donates their time to the club without expectation of a payment. Volunteers come from all age groups, educational backgrounds, income levels, genders, and types of employment.
People become volunteers for a variety of reasons. Basic motivations that are:

  • helping others
  • having an interest in the sport or activity
  • wanting to learn and gain experience
  • having a lot of free time
  • being devoted to the cause
  • knowing someone who is involved
  • supporting children and family members
  • past or retired paddlers

Why manage volunteers?

Different things motivate volunteers and they may require different treatment. That’s why it’s a good idea for clubs to have a way of managing their volunteers. Good volunteer management creates a win-win situation for the volunteer and the club.I
 

The benefits of managing volunteers

Waka Ama relies heavily on volunteers, it is important those volunteers take an active interest in the future of the sport, their club and their specific roles within it.

Volunteers who feel that they have made a worthwhile contribution to their club or organisation, have been appropriately rewarded and recognised, and feel respected are more likely to contribute to not only that club but the sport again.

It is important that volunteers feel valued and part of the club – small things such as a free volunteer t-shirt, recognition of roles and responsibility, meals and refreshments provided and acknowledgement before and after events are just some of the ways to appreciate your volunteers.





The Volunteer Coordinator’s role is to:

  • Liaise with other members of your club
  • determine where volunteers are needed
  • write task/job descriptions.
  • assign specific jobs to volunteers.
  • prepare info for each volunteer area
  • regularly communicate with volunteers (maintain contact detail database)
  • Motivate volunteers
  • Develop a volunteer succession plan
  • Organise reference checks were applicable


The starting point for your Volunteer Coordinator should be to identify the volunteer requirements for your club. 


They’ll find it helpful answering the following questions:

  • How many volunteers are needed?
  • To do what?
  • When?
  • For how long?
  • What sort of people do we want in these roles?
  • What authority will each type of volunteer have?
  • Who will each type of volunteer report to?
  • What will be done so new volunteers feel welcome and fit in?
  • What support is available for new volunteers?
  • Is it possible for experienced volunteers to work with new volunteers?


If a volunteer feels like they’re getting something back from their experience, they’re more likely to stay with your club and offer their services again in future. Highlight the benefits of volunteering, such as gaining new skills, making friends, having fun and helping others succeed.


Things you can do to promote your volunteer offer:

  • On your website, Facebook, noticeboards, include information about what’s involved in volunteering for your club and the benefits
  • Look for angles about your club/members that weave the volunteering message into your interviews and media releases.
  • Organise community announcements on the radio.
  • Target senior secondary and students of Physical Education and Leisure Studies – they’re often keen for experience and enthusiastic
  • Organise a “bring a friend” day where current volunteers bring along a potential recruit.
  • Link with local volunteer award programmes and highlight the volunteers who have been nominated
  • Attend local community events and expos.

Ask people to volunteer - It might sound simple, but studies have shown that simply asking people to volunteer is a very effective way of recruiting. Word of mouth is still the cheapest and best way of finding the people you want. Don’t be scared to ask people – often people love to be asked for help and are flattered when you do so.



Have the Volunteer Coordinator (or appropriate person) welcome the volunteer to your club and provide an introduction so they feel like they belong as quickly as possible.

Tip - a welcome letter and welcome pack including items like the Code of Conduct, contact lists, role description and information about your club, is a great way to make your new volunteers feel like they’re part of the team. 


Formal Recognition

All volunteers should have their efforts formally recognised at least once a year, including committee members. 

This could include:

  • awards/prizes 
  • a thank you card
  • Christmas cards
  • vouchers 
  • a trophy
  • and a function or special event.

A number of regional schemes are also in place to recognise volunteers and Regional Sports Trusts (RST) usually have awards for volunteers. Contact details for RSTs are available at Regional Sport Trusts


Giving Volunteers a voice

Volunteers are a valuable source of information about the community at large. It’s important that volunteers feel they are heard and that their perspectives and ideas are given due consideration.


Tip - use surveys, meetings and workshops to ask volunteers for their views and then let them know how you’re going to integrate their views into your planning. If you choose not to use a suggestion it’s important to explain why


National Volunteer Week - 21st - 27th June 2015

Trust Power Community Awards 

List of Regional Sport Trusts (RST) - usually every RST will have their own volunteer recognition and awards

Lotto Volunteers Sport Maker 

Kiwibank Local Heroes  - Nominations Close 30 September 


Every 6 - 12 months review and evaluate your clubs relationship with your volunteers. Getting feedback from the volunteers themselves is a great way to analyse this relationship, also involving the volunteer coordinator at regular meetings to keep everyone in the loop.

For more information see attached information

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Updated: Oct 13, 2014