Creating Volunteering Opportunities
This section will help you think about the type of volunteer you want to attract and how to attract them. On page 1 you can read about how to create attractive and successful volunteer opportunities and roles. On Page 2 you can find out more about encouraging more disabled volunteers in sport and how to make it easier for everyone to join in volunteering. On page 3 you can find out what skills are needed to help reach and support the least active.
How do we create attractive and successful volunteer roles?
People are motivated to volunteer for a number of different reasons. Therefore it is important to understand and appeal to volunteer’s motivations to attract them to your volunteering opportunities. Be clear on why you need volunteers, how you will support them and how you will provide a good volunteering experience and opportunities for everyone.
- Who is the ideal person for your opportunity / organisation?
- What key attributes, knowledge and behaviour (people skills)does someone need to have to be able to successfully carry out the volunteer role you are creating?
- Why would people volunteer with you – what is your unique selling point?
- Are you clear on what you are offering to volunteers? This will need to be detailed in your volunteer role description(s)
- Have you got plans in place of how you will welcome and support volunteers with additional support needs or a disability?
- Are your volunteering opportunities inclusive and enable you to bring together disabled and non-disabled volunteers on equal terms?
People are motivated to volunteer for a number of different reasons. For example, they may want to:
- Give something back to an organisation or support a cause that has impacted on their personal life either directly or indirectly
- Make a difference to the lives of others
- Meet new people and make new friends
- Help others less fortunate or without a voice
- Improve employment prospects / new skills
- Gain confidence
- Spend quality time away from a busy life or work
You can tell people things about volunteering and your opportunity in a number of ways to appeal to their motivations such as:
- You will be supporting others to improve their health and wellbeing
- This is an opportunity to do something for the local community
- You will inspire people to enjoy being active, such as cycling, swimming, walking, dance etc.
- We will support you to develop skills and experience
- The role involves socialising and meeting new people
- Do you enjoy trying something new?
Here is an example of a volunteer advert that may appeal to people motivated to volunteer to make a difference to the lives of others.
Take Action – If you haven’t already, write down your unique selling point and then be sure to tell people!
Think about what is unique about your organisation, group, charity etc. that would attract people to volunteer for you?
Top Tip – Offer flexibility and opportunities for different types of volunteering
It is crucial to ensure the roles you have on offer are appealing to volunteers, as well as beneficial to you, the beneficiaries and the organisation. Offering flexibility with your volunteering opportunities is a key factor in attracting a range of people from diverse backgrounds, age ranges and abilities.
Have some scope to offer flexibility for the volunteer to shape the role based on their skills, availability and needs. Be prepared to adapt roles for varying abilities and needs such as if a person has a disability.
Case Study – Get Out Get Active Thanet – GOGA Activator
Thanet GOGA Activators
“For GOGA in Thanet the team came into post end of April 2017. The original plan was to develop two volunteer roles for the project; a ‘Volunteer Buddy’ and a ‘Volunteer Champion.’ However, myself and the rest of the Thanet team gave these roles further consideration. Due to the point we were in the project we didn’t feel like these roles would be as effective as we would like for two reasons. The first being that we didn’t feel that they reflected accurately the image we wanted to portray. Also due to being at the very beginning of the project we didn’t have participants for volunteers to buddy. We wanted a role that we could advertise without putting certain potential volunteers off applying.
After some discussion we came up with ‘Activators’ the word gave us the strong positive dynamic image that we wanted for our project and allowed us to be flexible in the tasks we allocated to volunteers. The GOGA Activator is the term for anyone who is part of our GOGA Thanet project, it can relate to instructors, people carrying out administrative tasks, or recording data etc. Anyone who contributes in driving the project forward is an Activator.
With support from Volunteering Matters we developed the GOGA Activator volunteer role description and once it was agreed we started to advertise the role. We did this in a couple of ways through the ‘Your Leisure’ website and with the support of Volunteering Matters who ran a local recruitment campaign for us that included posting the opportunity on recruitment websites such as ‘Indeed’. The response from the local recruitment campaign was positive, particularly through ‘Indeed’ and as a result by the end of October 2017 we had four strong volunteers working within the project.
What have we learnt and what we will change
The volunteer role of GOGA Activator is here to stay! This is something over the life of the project we intend to build on and grow until the whole population of Thanet are Activators.
We intend to re-advertise the post in the New Year with further support from Volunteering Matters. When we advertise our process will be a lot smoother with more ridged timelines. With consultancy support from Volunteering Matters we have worked with one of their consultants to review and develop relevant documentation to help with the creation of volunteer roles, recruiting the right volunteers, ensuring they have a worthwhile experience and making the most of volunteers’ skills. I am working with two of the projects current volunteers to produce a volunteer pack which will include a tailored registration form as opposed to using the ‘Your Leisure’ job application, a Volunteer hand book, a timeline giving information on when training, inductions and one to one meetings will be held. One other change we will make is the length of time that the Volunteer Opportunity will run for. We intend to put it into 12-week blocks to give a natural break for both GOGA and the volunteer to review ongoing opportunities on an individual basis.
As a project we stay open to feedback from both our GOGA National Partners such as Volunteering Matters as well as our volunteers, allowing us to adopt a flexible approach with the aim of achieving a rewarding journey for both our volunteers and the GOGA project. We will use the tools (e.g. Upshot – an online management system) at our disposal to capture this feedback so it is easily shared with project funders and securely held.”
GOGA Coordinator for GOGA Thanet
Give it a GOGA is our name for a community participation and volunteering taster day, event or session. Taster sessions can be an effective method to understand your potential volunteers, their needs, motivations and type of roles that would match their expectations.
Download our introduction to Give it a GOGA that highlights how some Localities have used this as a recruitment tool and contact us if you are interested in running a Give it a GOGA event in your area.