How to treat volunteers in youth sports

Posted 4/17/2017 By Janis Meredith

Youth sports cannot exist without volunteers. You may not want to hear this, but if your child plays a sport, please find a way to help out.

Perhaps you are the team parent in charge of recruiting volunteers. If so, here’s a few ideas that might make the job of managing volunteers a bit easier.

1. Communicate. Don’t make people read your mind. Provide schedules and sign-up sheets to make a volunteer’s job as easy as possible.

2. Be orderly. If you are organized, others will benefit from it. There is nothing more frustrating than volunteering for someone who is scattered.

3. Be flexible. Be sensitive to families. As volunteers ask, work with their schedules and be flexible if the unexpected keeps them from showing up to volunteer.

4. Be grateful. Saying “Thank you” will help bring volunteers back. They give time and money to help, but your gratitude will be sufficient payback.

5. Give training. Don’t assume volunteers know how to do the job. Take time to show them the ropes.

6. Take what they can give. Gratefully take whatever help a parent can give. With everyone pitching in, the job will get done. Give parents choices so they can choose an area they really enjoy.

7. Call. Sometimes you get better results when you make a personal phone call to parents who have not yet signed up to help with the team. Ask pleasantly; the direct approach is harder to refuse.

When you can make volunteering a pleasant and user-friendly experience, you will most likely find that parents are eager and willing to help. You need them and most of them are willing to help when the process is pleasant and they feel they are really being a help to your child’s team.

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her latest book 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents is on Amazon.

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