Best Practices in Youth Sports Volunteer Mgmt. - Organization is Key
Dec 19, 2022 12:00 AM

This is the first of five blog posts on best practices in youth sports volunteer management. In this post, we’ll be focusing on organization.


Outline the Volunteer Program, detail roles and expectations


The best-run youth sports volunteer programs start with organization - that is, on the part of the organization’s executive team (‘Exec team’ for short). In companies, employees want to work for companies that are well organized. Employees want to see the bigger picture, what their company wants to accomplish. Most importantly, employees need to see how their role will help achieve in the company’s success. This is similar to what parent volunteers want from their youth sports organization’s volunteer program. That said, parent volunteers do not need to see a “strategic plan” organization’s growth. What parent volunteers want and need to see is some semblance of a plan for the volunteer roles and how those fit into the running of your event, or tournament or volunteer program as a whole.

A good place to start is to create a very simple ‘org. chart’ of the volunteer areas as well as the positions and explanations of the role, including how each role contributes to the overall success of the volunteer areas. It is not enough to say “Parent volunteers help to make our organization run”, most parents do not know the extent of what that means. Clearly spell it out for parents, say ’it is only with parent volunteers that we are able to hold this tournament or ‘it is only through parent volunteers’ contribution of time that kids are able to experience tournament play’. That is at a high level. Just as importantly, it is beneficial to be more specific about volunteer positions.

If a volunteer position is not filled, state the negative impact to your program. For example, ‘we need a parent from < x team > to be the coach, otherwise, the team may not be able to play’.

Next, it is highly beneficial to provide parent volunteers with the specifics or details of volunteer positions. Take the time to clearly outline the details of what the volunteer position entails - parent volunteers need and want to know what they are supposed to do and what is expected of them. It is worthwhile to re-emphasize the positive impact of the volunteer position, on the event or activity, and most importantly, on the kids and their experience. After all, that is the very reason parents involve their kids in youth sports.

In summary, here’s the takeaway…

  1. Create a volunteer program events chart, that is, of the volunteer areas.
  2. Outline the specific volunteer roles in the volunteer areas.
  3. Write out detailed volunteer position task descriptions and expectations. Include the positive impact the role on the event or activity and what happens if the role is not filled.


In our next blog post, we'll be covering identifying and removing barriers to participating in the Volunteer program, so please come back to learn more.

Happy Volunteering!

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