Without volunteers, most youth sports leagues wouldn’t be able to keep the fields open for long. Every league manager knows this, and while getting new volunteers can be hard, you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of the volunteers you do have!
Here are 4 tips to better manage your sports league volunteers:
1. Create a volunteer handbook.
Let your volunteers know what to expect this season (and what is expected of them!) with a volunteer handbook. You don’t need a team that accounts for every possible situation, but at least lay out some ground rules so your volunteers have a game plan for the season. For instance, you could include a code of conduct, emergency contact information, directions to all the fields and so forth. Having this information readily available makes it much easier for volunteers to do their jobs and do it right!
2. Hold training sessions before the season begins.
One way to make managing your league volunteers easier is to actually meet them before they are expected to make anything happen! Put a face to a name, see what kind of personality they have, learn what their strengths and weaknesses are and what their goals are for the season. If you have a few training sessions before the season begins you can also help establish expectations and ensure your volunteers are all coming in with the same baseline knowledge. This is especially important for someone that has never volunteered for your organization before! A training session helps prepare them for what’s ahead and gives you the chance to teach your volunteers what you need them to know.
3. Use a master calendar to coordinate events.
Every league coordinator knows what it feels like to be hosting an event (awards ceremony, tournament, open registration, etc.) and have no volunteers show up. On the flip side, having twice as many volunteers as you need can also make for a very frustrating day! A master calendar helps you coordinate with your volunteers and ensure that you have the right number of volunteers for each event, no more and no less. You can control the calendar, but let volunteers pick and choose which events they’d prefer to work at. If all your events are evenly staffed, great! If not, you can always shuffle volunteers as needed. Make sure that calendar automatically emails volunteers when information is updated so there is no breakdown of communication.
4. Have clear lines of communication.
And speaking of communication, having a clear and organized way to contact your volunteers is essential. There is no shortage of ways to connect with your volunteers; email, text, social media, phone calls, mobile apps, the league website and more! There is no reason your volunteers should ever be confused about what is going on! Make it easy for them to get in touch with you, as well as with each other.