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Looking after each other - How to keep volunteers motivated

Volunteers are the backbone of every local sporting club. Without them, no club survives. Volunteers give up their precious time to put in hard work behind the scenes, so players have a game to play, and the club has a game day in which they can operate.

While volunteers are often taken for granted, this in my opinion is very unfair, and this sort of treatment has seen many volunteers walk out on their clubs. To avoid these circumstances from happening at your club, we will discuss what you can do in order to keep your volunteers motivated and willing to put in the hard yards, so your club stays successful both on and off the field!

Volunteering can often be a tiring job, especially when there aren't enough people to complete the jobs that need to be done. This can become very overwhelming for the volunteers at your club. If you are a member of the club and you see that somebody is on their feet all day, make an offer to help with a task that needs doing. Many hands make light work, and this sort of teamwork is what motivates people to keep volunteering, and who knows, maybe you'll enjoy participating in these extracurricular tasks and become a volunteer yourself!

Reward for effort should always be a priority, especially when it comes to volunteers at local sporting clubs. This is done in many ways, but the most popular way is at the end of season awards night. While people often don’t undertake these tasks for rewards, it is still good to recognise the impact they have on your respective club and community. If they specifically ask to not be rewarded, it is still beneficial to give them a shoutout on this night at the very least, but rewarding the people that workday and night for your club will keep them going, and at the same time might motivate more people to start doing the same.

Communication with volunteers from the higher body (often a committee) is crucial at any given stage of the season. If the volunteers don’t know what their responsibilities are, confusion amongst everyone can grow very quickly. It’s up to the committee to chase up roles for each match day and who is undertaking them to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Communication between the committee and volunteers also shows the volunteers that they are wanted around at the club and that their work is valued thoroughly.

These are some ways to motivate your club's volunteers and keep them around working hard for years to come. Lack of volunteers is a key reason for clubs going defunct in the long run. Don't let that happen to your club and ensure that everybody is doing their part to help your club survive and thrive!

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