All golf clubs and counties need to continually recruit volunteers either to take on new roles or to split the role of a current volunteer. Clubs rarely take a systematic approach to identifying new volunteers where they have a shortage or how to fill vacant posts. Most clubs simply work on the adage of “if you want something doing ask a busy person” so they ask existing volunteer to do even more work. This may solve short term problems but clubs should work to ensure that this does not become the club culture to volunteer recruitment.
Most clubs go through a similar process which is:
Current - Adult Players - Parents or Young Volunteers - Volunteers outside the club
Clubs need to identify the skill set they require before asking for help recruiting volunteers if the work involves specific skills and experience recruitment will be targeted at places where you will find people with the necessary skills and experience. If you want general help such as at a open day or a promotional taster day then a general appeal may work as it could be a one off event or infrequent. For a more skilled volunteer such as a coach or a Chairman then the appeal will have to be much more focused and directed towards groups/organisations where these people may exist.
Here are some groups/organisations that may be able to help recruit volunteers,
both general and targeted appeals:
- EGP Volunteer website.
- County Sports Partnerships.
- County golf Partnerships
- Local Universities.
- Local Schools.
- Golf Clubs.
- Volunteer Centres.
Top Tips - Statistics show that most volunteers who have been personally asked to join the club or county to volunteer are far more receptive and this still appears to be the most successful way of attracting people to get involved. Think about adding a volunteering section to the club membership form.
Be Creative - Does your volunteering vacancy require the volunteer to attend every club session; can it be done from home? Could your club offer virtual volunteering opportunities? Virtual volunteering allows tasks to be completed via the Internet and often at home, allowing more Volunteers to become involved and utilised in new areas. Many people often search for volunteer opportunities that they can complete.
The clubs message - It is crucial that potential volunteers understand what the purpose of your organisation is and are trying to achieve. The message needs to be clear and concise and many people will make a decision to volunteer or not based on first impressions. It is therefore important that the positive message given out by clubs and counties is consistent through;
- Their current volunteers & staff
Benefits to Volunteers – what will the club give in return?
- Training, support & recognition? Feel good factor and helping with the success of the club.
- Background information potential volunteers will want to know upfront could be;
- Make sure individuals know what support they will receive in their role.
- How long they are expected to do the role for.
- What training is on offer?
- What is the commitment expected in hours/days per week or month.
- Who are they accountable to?
- What are the rewards/benefits?
- Do they get expenses?
- What their induction involves.
- Any chance of shadowing current role holder to learn?
Methods that clubs could use to recruit more volunteers are;
- Word of mouth, through staff, volunteers, coaches, clubs, county.
- Presentations, build volunteer recruitment into any presentation that is given at club or county level.
- Have a mobile pop up banner that can be taken to various events.
- Host a Volunteer AM/AM.
- Create a leaflet that spells out what the CGP exist for, what they do, why volunteers are important and how they can help.
- Have a volunteer plan with actions and timescales.
- Collect volunteer details through website and promote volunteering roles, achievements therein.
- Encourage club, county and the CGP to have a volunteering section in the newsletter promoting all aspects.
- Local radio interviews.
- Pro shop.
- Local Universities.
- At golf club mixed competitions/Opens, if club volunteer’s help then have the banner raising awareness.
- EGP Golf Volunteer award night, invite influential people from the golfing community.
- Write up-to-date role descriptions
- Find out what potential volunteers want from voluntary work
- Find out the interests, skills and experiences of potential volunteers
- Clarify the availability and commitment of potential volunteers
- Arrange informal opportunities for potential volunteers to learn about the organisation and possible roles
- Have an ‘open day’ to show what goes on
- Organise volunteer recruitment activities, e.g. ‘bring a potential volunteer’ social evening or taster day
- Divide large roles between two or three people
- Limit the period that a post holder can be in place
- Have succession plans for volunteer roles
- Replace volunteers on a staggered basis to maintain continuity
- Use ‘shadowing’ so the current volunteer passes on their experience to their successor
- Advertise volunteer vacancies via notice boards, newsletters, websites, your local volunteer centre, external agencies and your local community.
- Proactively encourage young people to volunteer.
- Seek volunteers from the local community in which your club exists.
- Make contact with the press, local volunteer centre, local schools and colleges, and the Local Authority Sports Development Unit.
- What other creative ideas do you have for recruiting volunteers? Use people’s expertise. Don’t be stereotypical. Be creative!
Safe recruitment and inductions for new volunteers
Most volunteers leave organisations within the first six months, with the first 60 days crucial in making this decision. Here are some suggestions to assist in providing an induction programme for new volunteers It is also important to have a thorough recruitment procedure in place to protect your staff, volunteers and service users. It may not be applicable to use each method for all voluntary positions, for example you may not choose to seek references for one off voluntary contributions.
• Provide key information such as emergency procedures, health and safety, child protection, equity policies and code of conducts, contact numbers for members of the club, a copy of the club handbook, a written agreement, and a copy of the role description, any meetings they need to attend, where equipment is kept and how to use it.
• Set standards. Most volunteers want to do a good job and will appreciate knowing what standards your club expects early on, rather than being told they have done something wrong afterwards.
• Support where needed. Providing you have found the right person, give them ownership of their work to ‘get on with it’. Support where necessary, but empower all volunteers to take responsibility. People operate better if they feel they are trusted but know that they can ask for help.
• Provide a mentor/buddy to act as a point of contact, answer their questions and most importantly a friendly face. Also introduce them to other members of the club and explain what roles they carry out.
It is often a good idea for the club chairperson to spend time with any new recruit,
• Interviews. An interview with a volunteer is a two-way process and an opportunity for both parties to find out more. Interviews will involve telling the volunteer about your organisation and answering any of their questions so that the volunteer can decide if they are interested in the vacancy.
• References. References can help to identify strengths and weaknesses of the volunteer, and occasionally may alert you to serious problems. However, you must also consider that some volunteers may have been out of employment for some time and you may need to be flexible as to whom you accept references from.
• CRB Disclosure. If your volunteer is over the age of 16 and will have contact with children or vulnerable adults, a CRB disclosure is required.
• Trial Periods. A trial period may be helpful to allow volunteers a taste of the role and an opportunity to adapt their role or try a new task or leave if they do not enjoy it. Being open to adapting tasks for new and more established volunteers is an important part of retention.