Getting involved: How do I recruit youth volunteers for my sport program?
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:00
According to recent reports, over 40% of young Canadians will volunteer in the culture, sport & recreation sector - this is great news for sport leaders! The majority of young people who volunteer use it as a way to build skills, establish work experience and network in order to improve their job prospects in the future.
So how do I go about finding people to recruit?
The first option that should come to mind is high schools and post secondary institutions. Many schools now require that youth fulfill a certain amount of volunteer hours in order to graduate. This number can fluctuate from 5 hours, up to a more demanding requirement of 100 hours of volunteer service. Focusing your initial outreach on students is a great way to begin but there are many other options available.
Think of all the places in your community that local youth typically gather – malls, churches, movie theatres, grocery stores, restaurants, recreation areas or sports arenas. Don’t be afraid to make a personal connection to your organization by speaking to people face to face – set up a booth (if possible) or hand out flyers. Today’s youth are media savvy so the internet is always a good bet; use local online newspapers, social media outlets, job boards, press releases, school or library newsletters or your own organizational website to get the word out.
What’s in it for them?
Volunteering will likely be a new experience for the youth you are aiming to attract, so be sure to outline clearly what the job entails and how it would benefit them. For example, volunteering could lead to potential summer employment, resume experience, forming contacts or improving their applications for scholarships. Young people typically have busy schedules so you’ll want to be convincing in your ad as to why they should consider working for you for free.
Recruiting is essentially a sales job that comes with its challenges but if you are patient and persistent in your efforts you will see results. Create a strategy, put a face to your organization and garner support from as many people as you can muster, including current and former volunteers, board members, parents, or other prominent community members.
To find out more about recruiting volunteers check out some of the resources below:
New Strategies for Involving Youth – Volunteer Canada
So you want to host a youth conference: How to make your next event truly engaging – Charity Village
Attracting Youth Volunteers
References from the SIRC Collection:
Bouchet A, Lehe A. Volunteer Coaches in Youth Sports Organizations: Their Values, Motivations & How To Recruit, & Retain. Journal Of Youth Sports. April 2010;5(1):21-24.
Busser J, Carruthers C. Youth sport volunteer coach motivation. Managing Leisure. January 2010;15(1/2):128-139
Engelberg T, Skinner J, Zakus D. What does commitment mean to volunteers in youth sport organizations?. Sport In Society. January 2, 2014;17(1):52-67.
LaVetter D, Stahura K. Negligent Hiring in Youth Sports: Background Screening of Volunteers. Journal Of Youth Sports. April 2010;5(1):9-15.
Shannon C, Robertson B, Morrison K, Werner T. Understanding Constraints Younger Youth Face in Engaging as Volunteers. Journal Of Park & Recreation Administration. Winter2009 2009;27(4):17-37.