How to Attract, Manage and Keep Essential Volunteers at Your Club

by Kalon Huett (BV Contributor)

Volunteers are one of a Bowls Club’s most important resources. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that without the hard work and dedication of these community-minded individuals, Bowls Clubs in Victoria and around Australia would struggle to survive, let alone thrive.

The successful recruitment and retention of volunteers should therefore be a major priority for all clubs regardless of size, location, membership and other factors. Put simply, volunteers make Bowls Clubs viable. So how do you ensure your club hangs on to the ones it has and encourages new ones to join in future? It’s all about professional volunteer management in the modern world.



Responding to contemporary volunteer trends

What motivates and attracts volunteers? The answer to this question has evolved over time. These days volunteers are often looking for very different experiences than the volunteers of a decade or two prior.

Your club can improve its volunteer engagement by recognising and responding to the trends of the contemporary volunteer, for example:

  • Busier lifestyles: Offer shorter volunteer commitments and more flexible arrangements.
  • Diminished sense of community: Get more creative with recruitment strategies and promote volunteering as something special.
  • ‘Baby Boomer’ retirements: Leverage the approaching retirements of this generation of skilled professionals who will have more time on their hands for community involvement.
  • Lower youth engagement: Identify areas where the skills of young people can be best used (e.g. tech support) and focus on specific benefits of volunteering for these generations.


Successful volunteer management

To attract and retain club volunteers now and moving forward, Bowls Clubs can employ a number of proven volunteer management strategies.

Ideally these protocols and processes will be overseen by a volunteer coordinator. This is generally a person appointed from within the club who will take ownership of the club’s overall volunteer management program.

A volunteer coordinator is largely responsible for the following:


Volunteer selection and training

  • Establishing volunteer positions, role descriptions and responsibilities.
  • Planning how and where volunteers will be recruited.
  • Arranging selection and screening procedures.
  • Developing orientation kits, training programs and educational opportunities.


Volunteer recognition and retention

  • Creating a system that recognises and rewards volunteer efforts.
  • Ensuring volunteers feel welcome, supported and valued at all times.
  • Providing a genuinely enjoyable volunteer experience.
  • Actively attempting to retain volunteers for longer and planning for volunteer replacement as required e.g. when current volunteers leave due to health, relocation, etc.

Every Bowls Club must also ensure it holds valid liability insurance that fully covers anyone volunteering at the club.


Where to advertise for volunteers

In addition to word of mouth, club newsletters, social media and the club website, there are also free advertising opportunities that give clubs access to a broader market of potential volunteers.

These advertising avenues include:



Most sporting organisations could not sustain their service levels without the contribution of volunteers. SportsPeople recognises the huge contribution volunteers make to community sport and provides clubs with the ability to list volunteer roles for free.


Register your club with SEEK Volunteer

SEEK Volunteer has been connecting Australians to volunteer opportunities since 2000. It is Australia’s largest free online source of volunteer opportunities and is the preferred destination for those who want to volunteer. By posting on SEEK Volunteer, clubs can gain access to those people looking for new volunteer opportunities. SEEK Volunteer is also a partner of GoVolunteer.


The Bowls Victoria website

Member clubs are able to advertise their volunteer positions free of charge on the Bowls Victoria volunteer page.


Do you know an outstanding volunteer?

Nominations are now open for the Bowls Victoria 2019 Volunteer of the Year Awards. Click here for more information.