Always time to reflect on volunteer policies

Difficulties in recruiting volunteers isn’t a new concept.

Organisations – whether it be sport or service clubs – have always needed to focus on maintaining a steady number of volunteers.

This is due to the constant change of circumstances that could see volunteers leave or step back from roles within clubs. It could be career, family situations or even other volunteer opportunities that force a change.

The results of Volunteering Tasmania’s report into the state of volunteers in sport was not a surprise.

There was no evidence to suggest that Tasmanian sporting clubs were struggling because of a lack of volunteers.

However, given that volunteers are the reason clubs exist, there is a need to ensure organisations are always looking to the future.

Those surveyed identified five key volunteer recruitment challenges.

Challenges identified included a reluctance to join boards or committees because of liability concerns, the cost of volunteering has become prohibitive due to compliance, accreditation and out-of-pocket expenses, low numbers of potential volunteers in rural and/or regional areas and expectations of new volunteers not matching the culture of the organisation.

However, the key challenge was time.

Volunteers, like most people these days, are time poor.

Often those most willing to volunteer are also people who are helping out in other places.

Clubs should take the time to reflect on what type of volunteers they are seeking. Organisations should be attempting to work smarter and not harder in efforts to maximise the longevity of their clubs.

Learn from other organisations. Share and discover what is working, what has been tried and failed, and how you can help or support each other.

Many people leave organisations due to time, and they stay when they feel respected and heard.

It would make sense for all clubs and organisations to have a volunteer coordinator. Someone to check in and make sure the volunteers are OK, that they feel valued, connected and are making a difference.

The expectations of clubs should also be examined. A person helping out for half an hour a week is 30 minutes of time that didn’t exist before.

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