Managing Club Volunteers

In 2017, the BGA carried out a club survey using the Sport & Recreation Alliance’s volunteering survey of sports clubs across the UK as a basis. The headline results show:

Numerous surveys and reports in recent years have found that around 70% of British volunteers are unhappy. The primary reason for not volunteering, or being unhappy with a voluntary role is that people have not been asked to do what they would like to do. It does not have to be this way! Successful volunteering is all about volunteer management, rather than volunteer recruitment, in much the same way that member retention is more critical for the size of the club than member recruitment. Gliding is already good at volunteering, yet clubs often report difficulty getting enough people to help out.

For good safety reasons, gliding is a permission based culture, so in a gliding club it is particularly important to actively invite people to volunteer. The foundation for healthy volunteering is twofold:

  • developing a good understanding about what needs doing; and
  • getting agreement on what is involved in each role and how the volunteers will be supported.

When these two areas are well defined, it becomes much easier for people to respond to an invitation to volunteer.

The following should help you as you define club tasks and roles:

Having a Volunteer Coordinator to lead and support club volunteers will be helpful. Slides 18 & 19 in the ‘Healthy Volunteering’ presentation are relevant. When looking at recruiting new volunteers, it is important to understand what the capacity for supporting those volunteers is. Each new volunteer should have someone to show them the ropes and to be available to talk to about the role.

A place where people are enjoying themselves becomes a place where other people want to join in – both as new club members and active volunteers. Gliding is volunteering.

Understanding just how much donation-in-kind of people’s time is very helpful when it comes to project planning and future club management decision making. It could be helpful if the volunteer coordinator could gather volunteer hours.

Supporting policies

Ideally, your club will write and adopt a Volunteering Policy. The WCVA have an information sheet ‘Creating a volunteering policy’ which includes links to a copy of their model volunteering policy.

As gliding is essentially volunteering, many of the voluntary activities are covered by the rest of the club’s policies. These include (in no particular order):

Links and sources of useful information

Sport and Recreation Alliance ‘finding volunteers’

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has provided a useful facility where clubs can advertise the type of volunteers they are looking for. Details are available here.

Keeping it legal

Important Government advice on avoiding accidentally creating an employment situation

Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)

As ever, the advice and guidance from WCVA is excellent.

WCVA run Volunteering Wales, which has many useful resources and a website for volunteer management

Sport & Recreation Alliance

Sport and Recreation Alliance have a new volunteering section on their website, designed to help match up the people looking for volunteering roles and clubs looking for volunteers – putting volunteers into community sport.

S&RA say:

We focus on putting volunteers into community sport

The great news is the site already has over 200,000 volunteers searching each month for their new role, and the site can also help match you to volunteers with exactly the skills you’re looking for. So whether you need a social media guru, safeguarding or integrity officer, mental health ambassador or board member – the volunteer finder can help. 

It’s well known that 7 out of 10 clubs need volunteers and that each volunteer generates capacity for 8.5 more people to play. In the current funding climate it makes complete sense to utilise the skills of passionate volunteers and look after the sustainability of your club. 

It only takes a few minutes to join the Sport and Recreation Alliance,  simply fill out your name and club details and then use the club portal to recruit volunteers.

Directory of Social Change


From thoroughly researched funding directories to best practice management guides, you’ll find all you need to make you and your club stronger. Their books have helped hundreds of thousands of charity professionals and are written by leading sector experts who know the issues you face because they’ve faced them too.

‘The Complete Volunteer Management Handbook’   ISBN 978 1 906294 60 1

How to make the most of the volunteers who give their time to your organisation.

A note on regional variations

The focus here is on good practice and the principles of volunteer management. These apply to all four home countries. The links above have primarily been taken from Wales, due to the pragmatic and practical guidance set out by WCVA. There are a few legal aspects in their advice sheets, which may vary in Scotland and Northern Ireland. These variations have not been checked. A useful organisation in Northern Ireland is Volunteer Now and Scotland is Volunteer Scotland

If you would like BGA support with developing healthy volunteering at your club, please contact the BGA Development Officer via the BGA Office.