Recruit & retain volunteers

Every volunteer wants to get something back – even if it’s not money.

On this page, we’ll show you how to give it to them. 

You'll find our 10 Top Tips for how to retain and recruit volunteers, with a free downloadable poster to help you show the love to your existing team of volunteers.

 How to keep your existing volunteers happy

  1. Get organised. Make sure things like volunteer expenses policies, codes of conduct, health and safety guidance are in place – and your volunteers know about them. This stuff may sound dull but it’s essential. If you do, your volunteers will feel like their welfare is a top priority.

  2. Make them feel needed. Don’t just leave your volunteers to get on with it. Spend time thinking about the most useful roles they can play, make it easy for them to feel helpful and celebrate the difference they’re making.

  3. Help them grow. Offer training and development opportunities, enable volunteers to hone new skills and meet new people. Listen to the sorts of things they’d like to be doing and try to help them.

  4. Give them an ‘experience’. People are looking for something that stands out in the memory, so try to create a ‘high point’ in each session. Whether that’s a visit from an athlete, a hot cup of tea or simply an acknowledgment of their effort at the end of the day. Speaking of which…

  5. Say thank you! Two tiny words that cost nothing but can go a long, long way.

How to recruit new volunteers

  1. What do they want? Don’t just think about what the club needs – it’s the things that could inspire people to volunteer which you need to highlight. Perhaps it’s the chance to meet new people, learn new skills, or simply rediscover a sense of purpose.

  2. What stops them? The flip side of the coin: what might be preventing them from taking the plunge? Can you dispel some of those misconceptions, such as, the fear that people need to be fit or athletic to volunteer in sport? They don’t!

  3. Where to look. Cast your eye around the local community but don’t forget to tease out the hidden talent that might be already be associated with the club in some way – such as parents or regular spectators.

  4. How to sell it. Go back to what they want and what stops them. Then emphasise the former and dispel the latter in your conversations and recruitment material. Oh, and always, stress the social element – that’s very important.

  5. Give a warm welcome. First impressions are crucial. So once you’ve convinced someone to get involved, show them they’ve made the right decision.