A very common discussion among clubs when trying to achieve goals and objectives is the need for the support of members. Committees and organisers often feel that members are not helping or volunteering enough and the bulk of the work and responsibility falls back onto the committee.
As club administrators it is important to consider how the message is being delivered. Often asking for help once is not enough to ensure members become actively involved. Once your club has put out the initial message it is important that people are positively reaffirmed and reminded.
Here are the top nine ways to get your engage your members to become actively involved with your club:
1. Set the expectation at sign up or via an induction – This is an important part of the life cycle of a member at your club and is a great time to set up the club culture and expectations in relation to volunteering. What is the expectation of the members when it comes to their involvement with your club? Is it volunteering? As a club you need to decide what is the expectation. Making this clear to members and telling them up front increases the likelihood that it will happen. Is it once a week? Twice a season? Selling a book of raffle tickets twice a year? Going to three events a year? Most people don’t mind helping out, they just need to know when and how.
2. Make volunteering part of you club’s culture – It’s not the job of the committee to run the club, its job is to make sure the club runs. This means having as many people to help with the day to day running of your club as possible. Put it up on your club’s website and in the newsletters. Comments like “your contribution makes a difference” or “help us at our next event” continually reminds members that there is a culture of helping out and volunteering at your club.
3. Focus on the positive contributions and achievements – Instead of being negative, it is your responsibility as committee members or administrators to set the culture with the way you conduct yourself. Thanking those who were involved, is more likely to change behaviour than pointing out those who weren’t, as people will then often become defensive.
4. Don’t tell, order or shame but don’t be afraid to ask – Don’t be too shy to ask people for help with a call to action. People nowadays don’t often think to proactively volunteer but when asked are more than happy to give their time. It is also a good idea not to ask big groups but rather ask individuals who will then make a team. This approach helps to create ownership and pride for these people in relation to the project.
5. Keep a skills register – This is very rarely done but is very useful. The register is simply a list of members with any specific skills. This helps you to be more specific about who you ask to fill what roles. For example, if you have a carpenter at you club and a door is starting to come loose they are more likely to be able to help quickly and efficiently, with little stress. People are more likely to volunteer if they have the time, knowledge, skills and inclination to do job. Understanding the skillsets of the people at your club will help you to get a much better result.
6. Sub divide large tasks into smaller tasks and to delegate to subcommittees/project teams – This makes it easier for people to get involved. Creating project teams means that members can take ownership of the task and if necessary recruit their friends to be on their team to help.
7. Allow people to succeed – As a committee don’t try to take on too much. Don’t try to do everything by yourself, other members will be capable too so give them the opportunity to succeed.
8. Train the people at your club – This is a great way to engage with your members and can inspire people to get involved in training, in order to achieve new skills. For example, first aid training. People may also be very capable in their day jobs but may not know how to do certain tasks around the club and may not feel comfortable asking for training.
9. Reward and recognise contributions – A simple pat on the back, token gift or rebate on membership is a great way to say think you to your club’s volunteers. When people do put in, writing a story about them on the website will inspire others to be involved as they know they will be recognised for it. Volunteers should be recognised just as much, if not more than players.