30 Great Tips For Recruiting Volunteers
Tip 1: Determine how many volunteers are needed
Recruiting volunteers will be a lot easier if you know how many volunteers you need. Start with the Region Coach Administrator, and have him make a list of how many teams you will have in each division next season. From there, you can see how many coaches and assistant coaches you need. Have your Region Referee Administrator and board members do the same thing.
Now you'll have a master list of all the volunteers you need.
Tip 2: Appoint a Volunteer Coordinator
A Volunteer Coordinator will handle all your volunteer needs. The Volunteer Coordinator should work with each Region Board member to identify volunteer needs for the Region. Once they've identified the Region's needs, they can work with the Registrar to help set up a process at registration to recruit the necessary volunteers. After registration, determine how many volunteers are still needed. Make sure all Region Board members have the list of positions still available and have them help your Volunteer Coordinator recruit for those positions.
By having a Volunteer Coordinator, your volunteer needs will be centralized. Just remember, whomever you pick for this position needs to be very organized.
Tip 3: Decide when and where to recruit
A Region should be able to recruit 90 percent of the volunteers it needs at registration. If you aren't able to recruit all the volunteers you need at registration, you can also recruit volunteers at games, practices, late registrations and events such as opening day ceremonies and picture day. Remember to advertise that you need volunteers. Put up posters on the field and advertise in your newsletters and on your Web site.
Tip 4: Just ask
Ask everyone that comes through the door at registration how they would like to volunteer. Don't assume parents know that you need volunteers. They need to be asked.
Tip 5: Use the AYSO Philosophies
Put the AYSO Philosophies on posters, making them as big as possible. Laminate the posters, so you can reuse them in the future. Place the philosophies in prominent positions around the room.
Tip 6: Post a list of needed volunteers
Use the lists created by using Tip #1 to determine the number of volunteers you need. Tape the lists on each position table (coach, referee, Team Parent, Field Coordinator, Division Coordinator, etc.)
- Put poster size versions of each list behind each table and around the room.
Tip 7: Categorize positions
Categorize positions by "jobs that require some soccer knowledge" and "jobs that don't require soccer knowledge." Here are some examples:
- Jobs that require some soccer knowledge, experience or training:
- Jobs that don't require any soccer knowledge or experience:
- Team Parent
- Division Coordinator
- Safety Director
- Picture Day Volunteer
- Registration Day Volunteer
- Regional Commissioner
- Newsletter Editor
- Region Web Site Administrator
- Fund Raising Coordinator
- Uniform Coordinator
- Publicity Coordinator
Tip 8: Have board members at registration
Each board member can recruit for the positions they need. The Coach Administrator recruits coaches; the Referee Administrator recruits referees, and so on.
Tip 9: Make sure you have enough space at registration
The more space you have, the better. This will allow you to spread out your registration, and give workers and parents the space to interact with each other. Consider schools, community centers, malls and other places where families congregate.
Tip 10: Serve refreshments for workers, parents and players
Refreshments will make the environment more casual and friendly. Make sure to mention the refreshments to parents as they come into the room. Refreshments will get the parents to relax and stay long. Some of your refreshments should be child friendly.
Tip 11: Have an express line for return volunteers
Returning volunteers have already heard your volunteer recruitment speech, so make a special line for them to ensure they don't have to wait. This way you can get returning volunteers registered quickly. This is also a small thank you to them for volunteering again.
Tip 12: Have every minority, geography and school represented
People want to speak with someone that will make them feel most comfortable. For women, it's usually other women. For a minority, it's usually someone else of that minority. So make sure you have both genders represented, as well as all the major minorities in your community.
Tip 13: Have workers wear a name badge with the languages they speak
Have each of your workers wear a name badge with any languages other than English that they speak. The name badge should read "I speak Spanish, Mandarin, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Hebrew, Bosnian, etc."
Tip 14: Have a Kid's Corner
You've all been there. You have a parent that comes in for registration with the kids. The kids are bored, tired and have nothing to do while mom and dad are signing them up to play soccer in AYSO. Mom and dad just don't have the time to talk about volunteering because the kids are complaining. If you've had this problem at your registration event, think about creating a Kid's Corner. This will give the kids a place to hang out while you talk to mom and dad. Here are some suggestions on what to do in your Kid's Corner.
- Serve child-friendly food.
- Play a video children will like.
- Have a drawing contest. Have each child draw a soccer ball and put the pictures up on the wall.
- Play games with the children. Utilize some of the teenage AYSO players to do this.
- Have puzzles and games available.
Tip 15: Target parents of young children
They want to be involved in their children's lives. If they don't volunteer for AYSO, they will volunteer elsewhere.
Tip 16: Develop a volunteer form
A volunteer form will help parents decide how they want to volunteer in your Region. List all the jobs that are available and perhaps the approximate time commitment they take (three hours per season, two hours per week, etc.).
Tip 17: Identify registration workers
Make sure your volunteer workers at registration wear matching shirts and name tags so that people can see and meet volunteers in action.
Tip 18: Acknowledge recruitment successes
Acknowledging new volunteers will make them feel welcome and wanted, so walk over any new volunteer that you recruit and introduce her to the Regional Commissioner (RC). Make sure the RC shakes his hand and says thank you. That small gesture will go a long way. You can also give a small gift to the new volunteer. A pen, refrigerator magnet or pin would work great. To keep track of your success, set up a thermometer on the wall which marks significant milestones to achieving your recruitment goal. As new volunteers are recruited, update the thermometer. While each new volunteer should be acknowledged and thanked, don't forget to thank your returning volunteers as well.
Tip 19: Use floaters at registration
Floaters will be able to do a variety of jobs. They can:
- Fill in when other workers are taking a break.
- Sit down next to parents and ask if they have any questions about volunteering for a job.
- Escort new volunteers to meet the Coach or Referee Administrator or someone who can give them additional information about their new job.
Tip 20: Use a welcome committee to greet parents
Have greeters at the door as parents arrive.
Tip 21: Consider alternate times and locations for registration
Alternate times and locations give you an opportunity to reach parents that aren't able to come to your standard registration.
Tip 22: Beware of husbands and wives who sign up their spouse
These husbands and wives sign up their spouses. Write "sp" for spouse on the volunteer form to indicate that the spouse was not present at registration. Give the husband or wife printed information to bring home to the "new volunteer." Remind the husband or wife to tell their spouse that they are officially an AYSO volunteer. Call the "new volunteer" within two weeks. You are calling to welcome the new volunteer to AYSO and tell them when the training will be. You are NOT calling to see if they want to be an AYSO volunteer.
Tip 23: Turn a problem into a recruiting opportunity
- Problem: Parents take the pens at registration.
- Solution: Order 1000 pens from a catalog that say "AYSO - it's for the kids."
Tip 24: Form collaborations
Work with other youth programs and advertise AYSO.
Tip 25: Make recruiting volunteers a card game.
- If you know that you will need 40 coaches, have 40 laminated blue coach cards. Each card has the position and a brief description.
- Color-code all of the other volunteer positions in the same way.
- Invite parents to "Play a card game with AYSO."
Tip 26: The recruiting process should be organized
Number each station to make sure that parents stop at each recruiting table. At each table, provide a description of each AYSO position that is needed.
Tip 27: Show a slide show
Have a slide show playing during registration of volunteers having fun.
Tip 28: Recruit at eye level
If parents are sitting at a table, sit down next to them and try to recruit. They may be intimidated if you are looking down at them.
Tip 29: To recruit Region board members
Pick some of your AYSO volunteers and invite them to AYSO meetings and training events. Make sure these volunteers interact with current board members during meals and at social gathering.
Tip 30: Suggest some workshops
Suggest training events to your potential board members that you know they will benefit from.