Recruiting volunteers

Make no mistake, recruiting volunteers is hard! This is particularly so when recruiting people for the club's committee. A consistent and concerted year round effort is required to bring people on board as volunteers.

Volunteers can be recruited from inside or outside the organisation but the most successful strategies generally concentrate on recruiting from inside the organisation i.e. recruiting from

Recruitment of volunteers does not just happen; someone must be allocated the task. The recommended practice is to appoint a person as a Volunteer Coordinator who takes on the specific role of recruiting volunteers. If no such Volunteer Coordinator position exists the task is often carried out by anyone on the management committee of the organisation (if it is a non-profit organisation).

Whoever is assigned the task; a volunteer can only be recruited if:

(a) Someone steps forward and volunteers (less typical)

(b) Someone is specifically approached and asked to volunteer (more typical)

Activities that might cause someone to step forward as a volunteer are:

Making an approach

Most people tend to be reluctant to step forward to volunteer, they need to be personally asked. But who do you ask? It is necessary to improve the odds than simply asking everyone one-by-one and getting a large number of knock-backs, sometimes not so friendly.

The good volunteer recruitment officer gets to know most people in the organisation and establishes a special rapport with some of the members. Over a period of time, this "inner circle" is often motivated to assist, in small ways at first and then taking on major roles as confidence and commitment increases.

There are two key weapons that will assist in making an approach.

Organisation Culture

Organisational culture is most important in recruiting and retaining volunteers. If the organisation culture is generally negative, it becomes most difficult to interest people to offer themselves for committee or other voluntary positions.

Organisation culture is very difficult to define, yet it is undeniably very powerful. It is visible and it is experienced, see table below.

Culture of the Club
Culture is Visible
Culture is Experienced
The clothing worn
The discipline and conduct of parents
Flags and emblems
Shared beliefs on what is important
How people behave
Whether members trust the committee
Cleanliness of facilities
The sense of fairplay adopted
War dances and other ceremonies
The treatment of people with nonconforming opinions
The dedication of volunteers
Stories of past heroes and villains

Culture is a system of shared values and beliefs about what is important, what behaviours are appropriate and how the people in the organisation relate to one another.

Culture gives organisations a sense of direction. It is persuasive and tends to have an affect on everyone in the organisation. A positive culture energises people and stimulates growth and development. A negative culture drains energy and causes organisations to 'implode'.



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