It’s a common complaint across the country irrespective of sport, there are not enough volunteers to run a club well – in many cases not enough to run the club at all and some volunteers are at breaking point as a result. Volunteering has become a more onerous effort with greater responsibility and accountability than ever before and while some clubs are fortunate to have the workload shared across many volunteers, not every club is so fortunate.
Amatuer sports clubs are heavily reliant on volunteers and a shortage of willing volunteers often means a small number of people shoulder even more responsibility, which leads frustration amongst existing volunteers which can eventually evolve into these important roles becoming less desirable.
If you can spare the time to volunteer at your local club, you won’t get paid but there are other ways to reap the benefit of being involved.
Benefits of volunteering
For students approaching the end of their studies and for recent graduates, volunteering can be a great addition to your CV. The fact that a young job applicant has demonstrated a willingness to look beyond academic studies to further their employment prospects would be looked upon favourably by recruiters and shows an intent to develop as a rounded individual rather than someone with a boxed set of skills.
Succeeding in a volunteering role also shows evidence of good interpersonal skills in action and shows the person to be a responsible and enthusiastic contributor. It’s hard to fake that enthusiasm though – so if you don’t have a genuine interest in a particular club or society, don’t get involved for the sake of it, it’s best to invest time and effort in a part of you local community you are passionate about and to give back to a cause you believe in.
Real-world work experience is hard to come upon as a graduate and is often the reason graduates find it difficult to secure their first job. Depending on the role, volunteering presents the chance to improve organisational skills, project & time management skills or administrative skills if you fill a role as club officer.
For Experienced Professionals
It’s not just graduates that can see benefits from a career perspective, at any level volunteering extends your network and has the potential to open doors. There’s also the feel-good factor which can provide a welcome release from the day-to-day stresses of your professional role.
In most communities, the amateur sports club is the fulcrum around which everything happens. You may not always be at the centre of it, depending on things like what stage in life you joined the community, the age of your children and their interest in a particular sport but for the community as a whole, the club is the epicentre of the community.
Being involved in a club as a member gives an instant insight into the broader community but committing your spare time towards the success of the club creates a deeper connection which brings its own rewards. As a volunteer you can share in the success of your local club and experience the emotional reward of contributing to a club’s sporting success. Well run clubs and on-field success usually go hand-in-hand, so a lasting contribution as a volunteer administrator can have a significant impact on how a team is funded and resourced, which leads to a team being better prepared and therefore better equipped to perform on the field of play.
For parents, volunteering can be an opportunity to spend more time with your kids and be part of their personal development outside of school or just a great way to switch off from a busy professional life for a few hours each week.
A different challenge
Volunteering might be a very different experience to your professional world and can be a new learning curve or a chance to nurture skills (e.g. leadership, team-building) that might not come as easily in a more structured working environment. If you are considering applying for a new role as a supervisor or manager but have no experience leading people, volunteering might help to fill that void somewhat.
Volunteering can create opportunities to explore something entirely new also (e.g. underage coaching) and may open the door to a new challenge. It’s also likely that as a volunteer at your local club you will extend your network and work with other people in the community who recognise your skill-set and put you in touch with would-be employers in their own networks.
For graduates, volunteering presents an opportunity to take responsibility for a hands-on role in the absence of paid employment. It can take some time to find a job after college due mainly to a lack of experience but a willingness to fulfil volunteer roles can address that shortfall to a degree.
If you have the time and the desire to contribute, contact your local sports club today to start your volunteering journey.
With the new Clubforce app, the role of volunteers is made less onerous by taking much of the administrative burden away. See how it works in the video below: