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Empowering your club’s volunteers

14 Feb 2024

A mistake that many clubs make is that they assume simply because somebody has taken a volunteering role that they have the knowledge and skills to undertake the role.

Volunteering in a community sports club is almost the only role we are asked to fulfil where we get almost little or no training.

By assuming people are able to undertake a role they may have little knowledge or experience of is extremely detrimental for a club.

Imagine you have just been given the responsibility of running the canteen on home match days for the very first time but have not been given any other information. Imagine how many questions you might have including:

  • What do we serve?
  • What do we make and what do we buy?
  • How do we make the items and how much of each do we make?
  • How much of each item do we purchase?
  • Where do we purchase from?
  • Where do we make the goods?
  • Who will make them?
  • Do we have any special arrangements or sponsors who donate goods?
  • Who will help me?
  • How many people do I need to help at different times?
  • What time do I start and finish?
  • Where do I store leftover items and supplies?
  • What prices do I charge?
  • What do I do with the money?

The most likely result, assuming you actually do take responsibility for the canteen, is that you don’t know what to do, how to do it or even when to do it. The volunteering experience is thus likely to be no fun and extremely unlikely to maximise the canteen’s fundraising value to the club.

If you compare that situation to one where at the time of taking over the role you are given all the information you need such as:

  • A full list of every item sold and their prices sold in the canteen
  • Recipes for each item that is made
  • A list of where to purchase each item and if it is part of a donation or not?
  • A running sheet of a normal canteen day
  • A roster template – explain how many people needed at different times during the day and what jobs they are doing?
  • Procedures for cash management
  • Instructions relating to food storage before, during and after the day

Ideally the canteen manager from the previous year would actually train and guide you for the first couple of home games so you can learn your role with plenty of support around you. In this situation then, you are much more likely to enjoy the experience and maximise the fundraising potential of the club.

Let’s be honest, those first few home games will be daunting and no matter how much information you get there will still be lots to learn but it is so much better having access to the information and support than not.