The Importance of Volunteers
Nowhere shows the power of volunteering more than at the ever-growing array of Community-Owned clubs up and down the country.
A recent briefing paper highlights the role that volunteering, and participation plays in Community-Owned clubs and includes in the findings that; “Tapping into supporter volunteering can unlock a huge reservoir of skills amongst the supporter base that can be a genuine business advantage to the club, something that results in the club being more professionally run.”
There are many similarities between the skills required to manage paid staff and volunteers, however, it should be recognised that there are also distinct differences between the two. Whilst paid staff often align their values to those of the organisation their primary motivation is usually, but not exclusively, financial reward. Whereas, volunteers are driven by their belief and commitment ‘to the cause’ and harnessing their support is often key to maintaining financial viability. The not-for profit sector has wrestled for many years with the challenges of how to enable volunteers to succeed.
“Incentivising and supporting community ownership in sport” is a piece of research conducted by Substance in 2016 which measured the volunteering value and capital investment at 5 fan-owned football clubs and it also included the stats of a fan-owned rugby league club, Hunslet Hawks RFLC.
The study found that the gross annual average benefit per club through volunteering value was £126,630.
In terms of economic value, the aggregate annual amount of volunteering effort from the clubs involved in the research was equivalent to 4,342 days (11.9 years).
We feel that it is important that clubs look to manage volunteers in the correct way and offer them the right amount of training and support for the role and are clear with the levels of expectation of work required from the volunteer and the commitments the club will make to the volunteer in return.
The FSA is on hand to offer advice and policy templates to Clubs looking to professionalise their volunteer delivery.
It’s not just the lower league clubs who benefit from active volunteer teams. Volunteers are a helpful and often untapped source at the professional level of the game, not just for undertaking matchday tasks but acting as ambassadors for the club in its community and encouraging engagement with a wide variety groups on the social spectrum. Check out our Chester FC volunteers video below.
We at the FSA are on hand to help clubs and trusts professionalise their volunteer structures and make sure volunteers have a safe, rewarding and enjoyable experience at their respective clubs whilst providing an essential service or role.
We have compiled some top tips on volunteering listed in the below video and put together some template documents to help you get started streamlining and professionalising your volunteer services and relationships.
For further guidance, assistance or advice on managing your volunteers, please contact your Network Manager.