We are seeing a decline in today's parents willingness to help. If parents don’t know about your needs, the different opportunities or feel welcome, then the chance of them volunteering are slim to none. So how do we get them out of their chair and on the front lines?
Here are six tips on how to position your association to get the help you need to create a strong and sustainable association:
- Get your ducks in a row - Document each board position, write up a full description of the responsibilities, who they report to and who they are responsible for. Additionally how long the term for each position is.
- Communication - On a regular basis communicate your needs. Most people are inclined to volunteer in an area they are familiar with and know that they can add value. So rather than being vague i.e. “volunteers needed”, be more specific. We need help with fundraising which includes ...
- Allow for Co-positions. Not everyone can give 100% of their time so allow parents to share the role and responsibilities together.
- Encourage alumni and local residents that may not have a child that participates to volunteer and get involved. Many of our retired residents look to support local causes and this is a great one for them to connect and get involved in.
- No cliques - This is one of the top reasons parents are not inclined to help. If you turn your association into what feels like a “exclusive” club you will never get the help you need and will end up running it well beyond your days. I have talked to many parents that are still on the board even after their children have aged out but feel stuck because there is no one to take over. Don’t let that be you!
- If all else fails - Create a strong sponsorship program to request dollars to offset the expense of hiring help. Get the local businesses involved to help support their athletic associations. It benefits them in marketing and exposure for their business and builds unity to create a stronger community and more desirable city to live in. With those funds, look to hire high school students or retired residents to help run concessions, coach a team or manage your website.
Implementing these steps into your youth athletic associations core principles will assure that you get the right people in the right positions, create an open environment and keep the community involved in supporting youth sports.
A wise person I know once said “leave it better than when you found it” and I have lived by that.
I can look back on my time as a youth sports volunteer and can say that is has helped me grow personally and professionally, it has allowed me to make lifelong friends with people I might not have otherwise met. But most importantly allowed me to be a role model for my children. I could have been that parent that dumps and runs or just sits on the sidelines but I chose to help and be a part of the change.