Volunteers are the beating heart of every golf club in the land and are crucial for the continued success of any golf club.
We teamed up with Manchester Metropolitan University to present the game’s first-ever research report into volunteering in golf clubs. The research took place over 3 years, as part of a PhD, conducted by Chris Mills.
The detailed work offers key recommendations to improve how clubs interact with their members, promote the volunteer roles at the club and create a diverse band of helpers that broaden the appeal of the club.
‘Encouraging participation in golf clubs’
Key recommendations include:
- Adopting a strategic approach to recruiting new members and encouraging them to form strong social bonds
- Providing opportunities that complement busy family/working lives to encourage participation
How to recruit volunteers
To find people willing to volunteer, you need to ensure your members are aware about what your trying to achieve and bring them on the journey with you.
Ensure your plans are flexible and fit in with people’s lifestyles – make it easy for people to get involved – think about sharing the responsibilities, offering short-term or one-off opportunities.
To aid the recruitment process you could:
- Advertise opportunities – use e-flyers, posters, newsletters, your website and social media
- Write a role description – our templates will help you describe who you’re looking for
- Share stories – communicate what volunteers do and what they enjoy about their roles
- Events – talk about volunteering at awards evenings and social functions
- Spread the word – get volunteers and staff to talk about volunteering
- Ask questions in surveys – ask about willingness to volunteer and any relevant skills or experience. On average over 40 people are willing to step-up when asked in a club survey
Also, don’t be afraid to look outside of the four walls of the golf club for volunteers to bring in fresh skills and ideas. There are some fantastic examples of clubs teaming up with other organisations, such as universities, to fill marketing and social media roles.
Download our volunteering resources at the bottom of this page or get in touch with your local Club Support Officer if you want further help with recruiting volunteers.
Supporting your volunteers
When you recruit a volunteer it’s important to spend time with them so they understand your club and their responsibilities. We recommend giving all new volunteers an induction to introduce them to your club.
To help you address skill gaps we have a Training Needs Analysis form which you can work through with your volunteers.
Resources and training
There are three new workshops for volunteers who welcome and support new players and members at their golf club. Whether you’re an aspiring young leader, taking on the role of buddy for new players or informally helping to recruit and retain more players there is a workshop for you.
Volunteer peer support
This year we will be launching a forum on Facebook to enable volunteers to share their experiences, successes, and challenges. This group will be led by a team of Volunteer Champions and open to anyone who is helping to grow the game.
Recognise your volunteers
Volunteers consistently tell us that getting a thank you is what they appreciate the most and it means even more if that thank you comes from the golfers and clubs they support.
Saying thanks face to face will always mean the most, but there’s lots of ways that you can follow this up though. Such as:
- Buy a thank you card and get members, staff and fellow volunteers to sign it
- Share the stories and successes of volunteers through your club comms
- Hold events for volunteers
- Mention their hard work at your events or awards evenings
- Create a Club Volunteer of the Year Award
- Send birthday and Christmas cards
- Post a thank you on social media – use #volunteergolfhero and we’ll collect the best stories to share
You can also check out the resources and ideas for Volunteers Week which is a national campaign taking place every year from 1-7 June. This presents a great opportunity to join in and celebrate the great work of volunteers.
Here at England Golf we’re happy to write to your volunteers to thank them for their contribution to growing the game or share their success on social media.