Research and Planning Resources
Having a planned, coordinated approach in managing your volunteers can make it easier to recruit and retain volunteers.
A Volunteer Plan will make managing and recruiting volunteers a smoother, more predictable, and more successful process. It will outline the policies and procedures around volunteers and put a timeline on when things will be addressed.
The purposes of the plan should be to ensure that:
- A volunteerism culture exists within the organisation
ie there is some knowledge and awareness throughout the organisation of best practice in how volunteers are recruited and rewarded.
- The organisation manages its own volunteers in a sustainable way.
- Knowledge and support is promoted to any clubs, schools, and other organistions you might work with.
This plan should cover the following areas in as much detail as possible:
It's important to build a strong, positive culture around your Volunteer Plan.
You can do this in your planning by using appropriate wording and displaying a knowledge of volunteerism, appropriate recognition and acknowledgement, and a desire to welcome and treat volunteers as people who are an important part of your operation.
Behind every great volunteer programme, there is someone who makes sure the right people are in the right roles, doing the right thing, at the right time. The appointment of a suitably qualified and experienced person to this role is recommended as a first step as he/she can be given responsibly for implementing and managing the programme.
We recommend that one person takes responsibility for the content and delivery of this plan. In many volunteer-based organisations this role is known as the Volunteer Coordinator.
At an Regional Sport Organisation level this person would have knowledge of good volunteerism practice (for example recruitment messaging, how to target specific age groups, the importance of a healthy culture around volunteerism). He/she may not be involved in the direct recruitment of, for example referees, instead he/she will offer support to that person.
A good way to begin is to find out who your current volunteers are and what they do. A basic database can be developed with names, contact details and roles. As further information is collected, the database can be expanded.
Your database should help you to answer the following questions:
- Do you know who is currently doing what?
- Do you have contact details for everyone?
- Do you keep a database of your volunteers?
- How is it kept up-to –date?
There isn't one blanket recruitment message or strategy that will successfully entice all potential volunteers. By developing a recruitment strategy you can identify when and how you will recruit for positions and plan for any associated costs (e.g. advertising).
Keep in mind that the success of a method can vary from year to year for a number of reasons (e.g. the time or year or financial restrictions).
Recommendations for content are:
- A clearly defined statement of the causes of the organisation to include in the communications
- Another clearly defined statement on how the volunteer will contribute to achieving an outcome
- When volunteers are needed.
- Messaging around personalised development.
- The roles that need to be filled
- Role descriptions that include the time commitment
- Should haves
- How will you recruit? (Options: Facebook, AGM’s website, face to face, newsletters, other
- What information will be collected from volunteers?
- Ways to personalise the communications
Inductions are important for volunteers as it prepares the volunteer to work in the organisation. It also provides an opportunity for the volunteer to establish relationships, understand the expectations and feel confident in their new role.
Recommendations for content are:
- Process for induction.
- Welcome pack – will there be one, and what it will contain (for example club contacts, club history, Health and Safety, club protocols, codes of conduct, role description.
Recommendations for content are:
- How it will align with external requirements eg coaching qualifications.
- Who will pay?
- Possible providers.
- Administrative training for example grant applications.
- Specific PD for the Volunteer Coordinator.
The Community Matters website shares information about the Support for Volunteering Fund. This fund provides government-funded grants for community projects that support and promote volunteering in New Zealand. It also provides grants for the activities of regional volunteer centres and Volunteering New Zealand.
This section of your Volunteer Plan applies most to Regional Sports Organisations.
We recommend that progress is reported to your Board (perhaps as part of the business plan reporting) so that the Board is aware and involved.
- Your Volunteer Plan will therefore contain how and when that reporting will take place
Part of your Volunteer Plan should include how you measure your retention. It needs to not only measure your retention rates, but also provide information on why people are staying/leaving.
When measuring retention it's important to consider two different kinds of measurements:
- Short term –for example feedback via surveys to determine why people leave (or stay), areas for improvement.
- Long term (eg how will you track college students who have been trained as coaches or officials once they leave schools).
The reason why we need to think hard about recognition is a simple one. Everybody enjoys being thanked and when a person is working for no other reason than to help out and possibly get some work experience, that thank you is even more important.
We recommend you have a plan that ensures your volunteers are recognised and rewarded, which contains and outlines the actual steps you will take to do so. Even without a plan though, just keeping the need to say thank you front of mind is an important step.
Suggestions for content:
- Policies for formal and informal recognition.
- Methods of recognition – AGM, newsletters, Facebook etc, frequency.
- What will you give (can include free training, or club t-shirts for example).
- Monitoring of recognition across the club.
- Use of Lotto Sportmakers
This section of the plan will outline how your Regional Sports Organization will support clubs with creation of plans, knowledge of best practice, and volunteer management.
Suggestions for content are:
- Will clubs be asked to do a quick assessment of where they believe they are doing well or not so well.
For example, the Sport NZ Compass can be recommended.
- How will you pass volunteerism knowledge to clubs
For example; seminars -- will these form part of a club development program.
- What knowledge will you prioritise?
For example, retention could be the highest as a club would at least want to keep the volunteers it has.
- What level of and how ongoing support will be available.
- Whether clubs have a volunteer plan and how many.
- Monitoring of the content of the volunteer plans.
- How to track volunteer hours.
- Creating and filling a Volunteer Coordinator role.
See more resources here
- Development of a welcoming club culture.