How to... build up a volunteer workforce


One of the major challenges that community sports clubs face is in recruiting the volunteer workforce to run the club.

People are reluctant to commit to hours of volunteering in today's 'busy' world.

Clubs are also finding that very often when they do find volunteers, they don't have the specific skills that are needed i.e. selling, social media, event management etc.

The savvy clubs are addressing these problems by:

a) they now look for volunteers who have specific skills and involve them in short term projects rather than ask for commitment every week. For example they may have an events group that only run two events per year and in between these events aren’t involved with the running of the club.

b) Many clubs target students or young executives who by getting involved with sports clubs can enhance their CVs. Again, they may only be involved in one project such as running a sales campaign, running a social media campaign or running and managing the database.

In summary, the club is able to attract people with the right skills to become involved but only for a short term and working on one project.

Case Study - Manchester Rangers

Manchester Rangers have created a 'vision' of being a community-orientated Rugby League club that can grow to represent Manchester in the Championship and beyond.

In order to achieve this, they have targeted a group of volunteers who operate as a board but who have their own specific skills and responsibilities and who only meet every three months.

This board not only has the skills required to assist the club in achieving its vision, but they have also be targeted as people who have networks within the City and who could create partnerships.

Kevin (Sponsorship) – local entrepreneur who has a wide network of businesses.

Neil/Jim (Finance) – Run an accountancy business

Yvonne (Community Development) – CEO of Manchester CSP

Deborah (Marketing and Media) – works full time in Media

Damian (legal) – Lawyer

The outcome is that the club is able to operate professionally in all of these areas and is able to create influential partnerships to assist with the development of the club.

Mirfield Stags ARLFC

In a very similar way, Mirfield Stags have attracted individuals that have specific skills.

Ryan Sparks is the MD who looks after the general running of the club with a focus on the accounting side of the club.

Iain Meyser has responsibility for the web site and the social media.

They also have individuals who are responsible for

a) the secretarial function

b) the general management of the teams

c) the coaching side of the club.

This group of Individuals don't meet as a committee, but work as business heads of departments who know what they are expected to deliver and who only come together if there are problems to solve.