How to find new volunteers for your youth sports program

How to find new volunteers for your youth sports program


Without volunteers the youth sports world would come to a screeching halt! That's because the majority of youth sport programs in the United States rely on volunteers – usually parents – to serve as youth coaches, or to hold other roles, like volunteer administrators or officials. We know finding and keeping high-quality volunteers can be a big struggle, but there are some organizations using outside-the-box recruitment techniques to discover their volunteers that we'd like to share.

We have borrowed volunteer recruitment tips from VolunteerMatch, which is a wonderful resource for connecting individuals with volunteer opportunities in their community. (Learn about posting your available volunteer positions by visiting VolunteerMatch's website.)

You'll notice this advice represents a wide range of nonprofit organizations; however, it can all easily relate to youth sports organizations:

“Build a good foundation and use all available resources. Your volunteer descriptions can make or break recruitment efforts. In fact, these descriptions can serve as a way that potential volunteers can self-screen. Those who believe in your mission will want to connect with your organization.” Elizabeth Coleman, Mississippi Department of Archives and History

  • Your action steps: Create a volunteer job description that outlines what tasks the role is in charge of, desired skills of the volunteer applicant and what training requirements are expected.

“It's important to get out there and be personal, to connect with others and let them know about the program and how much volunteers are needed and valued. I have found that the personal connection is so much better than ads in newspapers. ”Stephanie Smith, Surprise Fire Crisis Response Program

  • Your action steps: Host expos and events where community members can learn about your youth sports program's offerings, how parents can register their child for an activity and which volunteer opportunities are available.

“We try to work all the angles: digital media, newspaper, radio, word-of-mouth, flyers, presentations and collaborations with other groups – community members will eventually receive the info, one way or another.” Mountain Mentors Colorado

  • Your action steps: Identify contacts within your local news outlets and submit stories and press releases highlighting recent events your program has hosted and the work of your volunteers. 

“I frequently let my current volunteers know when we need additional help and ask them to spread the word among their friends. Good people generally hang around together, so this usually works pretty well. I also have a 24-hour turn-around rule. If someone contacts me about volunteering, I get back to them no later than 24 hours after they contact our organization. This doesn't allow time for their enthusiasm to cool off.” Joan Malley, Harbor House

  • Your action steps: Always notify existing volunteers of available positions and ask for recommendations. Make it easy for your current volunteers to tell their friends about open positions by providing them with sample Facebook posts, email templates and conversation points.

Do these tips help stimulate your creative thinking with new ideas for recruiting volunteers? We hope so! Read all 101 Tips from VolunteerMatch here.

Does your youth sports program have a successful or unique method of finding volunteers? We'd love to know. Please share your tips in the comments below.


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