FULL credit to the camogie association who are trying to give their volunteers a training focus and guidance during the lockdown.
For February they developed a guide toward succession planning and how to recruit and retain volunteers. It has some great points. It’s always difficult to get volunteers and what I have found is that at times when people offer to give a little they get pulled into a lot and therefore sustaining volunteers over a lengthy period of time can be challenging.
This document aims to be a starter guide to clubs that would like practical tips on getting new volunteers involved and helping to develop their club. The first point to consider is why most people within Gaelic games are willing to volunteer and conversely why some people may be reluctant to get involved.
The reasons people volunteer are many:
To give back to their own club and county, their children are involved, there is the social aspect; to meet like-minded people or if they are new to the area. They can learn and use new skills: communication, leadership, teamwork and so on.
They like to be involved with something positive. Then you have the reasons people do not volunteer: They are not asked. People will rarely put themselves forward for a task. They do not know how to get involved. They do not have much free time. Once they are in, they can’t get out. They feel that they do not have the skills or confidence.”
The document goes onto the various methods of recruitment such as ...
Face to face: Meet people, get to know them, find out their skills and ask them to volunteer in a position that would suit them.
Social media: Use social media platforms to let members and the public know of jobs/ tasks/ positions that need to be completed/ filled.
Get parents involved: Send notes home from training or use online parent engagement surveys to help get them involved in the club. Ask parents to attend coaching/officer training/ child-protection courses to get them started.
Players: Ask players to help make links with younger underage players at matches/training or ‘star of the week’ awards for FUNdamentals. Ask former players to be involved in coaching or as officers or other tasks within the club.
Target recently retired people: They have more time on their hands and are willing to give back to the community. It helps maintain their social life.
There are also key tips when asking for volunteers...
Be specific; tell volunteers of role required and time expected from them.
Do not ask ‘can anyone volunteer?’ instead ask for ‘one hour a week commitment’ and make sure to stick to this one hour. Give a list of possible tasks that volunteers could do include this on your website and registration forms.
It is important to constantly develop volunteers and ensure they attend as many training sessions as possible through coaching courses; child protection; a club leadership development programme (joint GAA/ LGFA/ camogie officer training); camogie specific training; camogie website; camogie initiatives.
Retention: Once volunteers have been recruited into your club, it is important to ensure they are developed and retained.
Respect: Give respect for the work, effort and time people put into tasks.
Recognition and reward: Thank everyone for their involvement no matter how small. This can be formal or informal. It can also be a good idea to hold volunteer social events and even better if each volunteer can bring a friend.
Role: Each volunteer should be provided with a clear role description and be aware of what is expected from them. Be careful not to overload volunteers leading to burnout.
Development: The volunteer and club itself should be developing, leading to a positive image of the club.
Succession plan: Succession planning is simply a way of ensuring the club recruits volunteers, develops and retains them.
It helps the club plan for gaps that may be appearing in committees or coaching groups and gives you practical ways to find the right people for each role.