Recruiting Volunteers for Youth Sports Programs: 4 Tips

Your club’s volunteers are essential to keeping your youth sports programs running smoothly. They’re the coaches, assistants, and other cheerleaders that create a positive experience for the young athletes in your community, helping kids develop lifelong skills and friendships. 

But as a park and recreation professional, it can be challenging to recruit enough qualified volunteers to help out. You must find individuals who not only want to support your programs but also have enough free time in their schedules to actually do so. 

In this post, we’ll highlight four effective tips for recruiting volunteers for your youth sports programs: 

  1. Reach out to a wide range of audiences. 
  2. Use a multichannel approach. 
  3. Share the benefits of participation. 
  4. Set volunteers up for success.

Effective volunteer recruitment starts with connecting with the right people using the right message. What does that look like in reality? Read on to learn more!

1. Reach out to a wide range of audiences. 

The first people you probably turn to recruit volunteers for your youth sports programs are the athletes’ parents and guardians. But as you know, these individuals are often busy and may not always be looking to take on the responsibility that comes with volunteering. 

Therefore, make sure your recruitment strategy is wide-ranging and inclusive to give parents a break and ensure you aren’t overlooking any enthusiastic potential volunteers. Target your recruiting efforts to reach: 

  • Past volunteers: This includes past coaches, assistants, concession workers, referees, and other supporters who might have let their involvement lapse. You never know who might be interested in coming back!
  • Former youth sports program participants: Depending on how long your program has operated, you might have program alumni who are willing to contribute their time to create a great experience for this generation’s athletes.
  • High school or college student volunteers: High school and college students are often looking for ways to get involved in the community to earn service hours. Volunteering in a youth sports program can be a fun way to earn these hours. 

While these individuals might be a highly receptive audience for your recruitment efforts, don’t leave parent/guardian recruitment out of the picture entirely! Caregivers are often excited to engage in their child’s sports journey, making them a perennially helpful audience to turn to.

2. Use a multichannel approach. 

You won’t be able to reach all prospective volunteers by marketing your opportunities on just one platform. Take a multichannel approach and pursue a variety of recruitment platforms, including: 

  • In-person: Recruit ahead for next season by talking with attendees at games and practices. 
  • Traditional advertising: Post recruitment ads in your local newspaper, create flyers to hang in popular areas such as your local library or create direct mail postcards to send to prospective volunteers. 
  • Online marketing: Use your social media pages and email newsletters to spread the word about open positions. 

Use each platform to reinforce your message, boosting the chances that your target audience members will see and engage with your outreach content. 

3. Share the benefits of participation. 

Although they won’t be getting paid, that doesn’t mean your sports program volunteers won’t receive anything from their volunteer efforts. Your recruitment marketing materials should highlight volunteering benefits, including opportunities to: 

  • Help youth members of the community thrive in a constructive environment.
  • Fulfill volunteer hour requirements for a club or class. 
  • Get to know more people in the community.
  • Access any special volunteer perks you offer, such as free concessions or appreciation gifts.
  • Potentially be able to contribute a monetary donation to your organization via a volunteer grant

These benefits might provide the motivation some individuals need to not only get involved but also stay involved in your program for years to come. 

4. Set volunteers up for success.

Your program’s volunteers won’t want to head into a new sports season feeling unprepared, especially your new volunteers who are participating for the first time. Ensure your recruitment materials describe the type of support volunteers will receive before the season starts, including: 

  • Training: Offer a thorough pre-season training session for new coaches and assistants. 
  • Equipment/supplies: Provide volunteers with training equipment, such as cones, pinnies for scrimmages, goals, whistles, clipboards, etc. 
  • Participant waivers: Offer an online waiver system for participants’ guardians to sign digitally, taking the stress of getting waivers signed off your volunteers’ shoulders. 

Be responsive to questions early on in the recruitment process. Also, once volunteers sign up, use your volunteer management software to offer them a streamlined scheduling process that makes it easier to know where to be and when to be there. 

Enthusiastic, empowered volunteers can make all the difference when it comes to running your youth sports program. Be sure to reach out to a diverse group of potential volunteers and equip them with the proper resources to succeed. 

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Preparing for a New Season- The Official GotSport Guide

GotSport is a tool used all across the country to get teams carded and ready for another year of competition. GotSport is an essential tool in the mixed bag of running a sports organization. But, this tool becomes more complicated when you’re using an external registration platform. Whether a new club admin or volunteer or a season GotSport Vet; sometimes you run into problems and need a refresher. At Sports Office 365, we know how daunting GotSport can be at times. We’re helping out clubs by sharing the official GotSport article to help prepare you for a new season in GotSport! In the section below, you’ll find helpful tips, tricks, and direct links to GotSport articles.

Steps to Prepare for Season Transition if Using a Non-GotSport System for Registration

21/22 to 22/23 Transition FAQ: 

Will I have to create new teams? No, you can register your same existing teams to your league and adjust your rosters accordingly. 

What can I expect if I am uploading players to the system? 

You should have three different types of scenarios. Here is an FAQ for each scenario: 

Scenario One –  Players that played in my club last season: 

  •  As long as Affiliation, First Name, Last Name, DOB (with correct date format in the file), parent name, and email are the same; any other information will just update. 
  •  You may end up with a duplicate player profile in your player list if your file has a different name, gender, or DOB than the player that is already in your club’s player list in the system. If for some reason the data does not match, you can update the player profiles to match your spreadsheet or update your spreadsheet to match the player profile and reupload. 

Scenario Two –  Players that are brand new to the GotSport system: 

  • These players should upload and accounts will be created as long as you have the required columns in your file. 

Scenario Three – Players that are currently in the GotSport system, but played for a different organization last season: 

  • Data from the GotSport system matches your spreadsheet (Affiliation, First Name, Last Name, DOB, Gender). This will create a role for that player in your club, and you should see them in your Club Management Players list. 
  • If a parent does not get added to the player, it is because the parent email already exists in the system to someone else. 

What can I expect when adding coaches or managers to my club? 

You should have three different scenarios when adding coaches or managers to your club. Here is an FAQ for each scenario. 

Scenario One – Coaches/Managers who have a GotSport account already: 

  • If you are uploading, As long as the First Name, Last Name, and Email in your file match what is on their existing account, the coach/manager will be added to your club. 
  • If you are manually searching/adding these coaches and managers, and their First Name, Last Name, and Email matches the information you are searching for, you will be prompted to send a Role Request Approval email. If you search the additional optional information (Date of Birth, and Zip Code) you can bypass the email request and add them directly. 
  • If you have all the required information, you can bypass the email request by adding them directly to a team. This will give them the coach or manager role in your club. To do this, go to Club Management – Teams – Click on a team – Click Roster – Click coach or manager – search by First Name, Last Name, and email. 

Scenario Two – Coach or Manager does not have a GotSport Account: 

  • An account will get created for them via the upload or you will create the account for them if added manually. 

Scenario Three: The addition of a coach or manager fails because the email/user ID is already taken. 

  • This means there is an account in the system that already has the email that you are trying to add them with and the account does not match the first or last name. 
  • You can try to search for different variations of their name (Ex. Mat, Matt, or Matthew). 
  • Check your player’s list for that email. Make sure the player’s email is set in the contact email and try again. 
  • Add the coach/manager with a different email/userid and attach the email you have in their “contact email” box. 

Logging In and Adding Admins  

Account Login: See how to create and login to your GotSport User Account 

Create Club Administrators:  Adding Administrators 

Adding/Editing user title: Add a Title To A Club User 

  • This is a new requirement for all Admin users from last season

Editing an Admins Permissions: Editing an Admins Permissions 

  • Important when separating tasks/what is available in your User’s admin accounts if you would like to limit permissions/access.

Locating Required Governing Body Forms: Locating Required Governing Body Forms 

  • Any form made available for you from your governing organizations. For example Affiliation/Transfer Forms

General Club Management 

Players/Coaches/Managers 

Archive Players previous year players

Uploading players to your club- Note that if you do not include a competitive level or affiliation, you will not see your players initially after you upload and will need to adjust the filters on your player list for them to appear.

Any previously archived players that were uploaded will return to the active player list as long as their uploaded information matches the existing player profile that was archived.

Manually Creating a Player 

  • If you are manually creating players, use the existing player information and login from the previous season to avoid creating unnecessary duplicates
  • Search the player’s DOB, First Name, and Last Name to see if an account exists.  If yes, then add in the email and postal code to bypass the role approval process and directly add the player.
  • If a player does not appear when searching with additional fields (email, postal code), then the email or postal code data that was searched does not match what is listed on the player’s account.

Adding a Player Photo 

  • The player photo from the previous season will appear on the profile by default.  If it needs to be updated, follow the steps in the link above to add a new one while removing the old one.

Add Documents to a Player 

  • If needed for any reason, proof of birth document can be added to a player with the steps above.

Coaches 

Archive Coaches

Coach Upload 

Creating Coaches 

Managers 

Archive Managers

Manager Upload 

Creating Managers 

Duplicate Coach, Manager, and Player User Check – If duplicate player/coach/manager accounts have been created unintentionally, these can be merged as long as the first name, last name, gender and DOB match on both profiles 

Teams  

Archive Teams (If wish to)

Resetting the team player list

Creating a Team Account– When creating a team, set the team age to what the team age is the time of creation, not the next seasonal year’s age.

Team Lock

Roster Lock

Hiding Player List

Team ages do not need to be changed manually.  When the new season begins on August 1, all team ages will update automatically in the system.  If a team age is manually changed, the system will then have the team “age up” again on August 1 and the age will be incorrect.

If Team Rosters are the same from the previous season with minor changes

Team Rosters Starting from Scratch – 

DO NOT CLONE AT ALL – Players From the Previous Season will be removed during the next steps

When you’ve completed building your teams, sync your team rosters – When you sync your rosters, any players that are not on any current or upcoming event roster will automatically be removed from the team.

Printing off Official Rosters and Player Passes

Click here for the full article on the GotSport website

Feeling overwhelmed by GotSport? Reach out to us today for assistance! We are industry experts in GotsSport and in getting your club carded and ready for another season.

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Club Announcement- Cardinal Elite Lacrosse

Sports Office 365 is very excited to announce our most recent partnership, Cardinal Elite Lacrosse!

Cardinal Elite Lacrosse Club is based out of Louisville KY. A newer club consisting of middle school and high school students offers kids an opportunity to develop as lacrosse players and as individuals.

We’re excited to work with Cardinal Elite and their staff!

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The Growing Issue in Youth Sports: Longevity

Longevity in youth sports is a growing problem. At Sports Office 365, we eliminate that problem and save you and your staff time and frustration!

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The Benefits of our Sports Administrators

Running a sports team or organization is a lot of time and work. Just like in any business, a solid administration forms the strong backbone of your team! If you’re looking to free up time and ease that workload, look no further. Below are some of the best benefits of a Sports Administrator that you can find with us!

1. A dedicated Sports Administrator frees up your time

Tired of those long nights building out schedules and rosters? Fed up with the stresses of player carding and registration? Let us handle it! At Sports Office 365, We take pride in significantly easing the workload for clubs across the country.

2. Streamlining of Clerical Duties

Everyone gets backed up from time to time on something. Get teams proper practice time, issue refunds, organize communication; you name it! We help you stay on top of everything!

3. A Solid Communication Hub

Working at a club will bring you in contact with a ton of people. Don’t get backlogged on emails and phone calls. Let us handle that. We help out with incoming parent emails and our receptionist will be more than willing to yield their calls. Sports Office 365 will serve as your communication hub for your club!

4. Offset your Weaknesses

Everyone has their weak points when it comes to running an organization. We are able to work hand in hand with your strengths to drastically improve your club while helping fill in those areas that may be lacking.

5. Social Media and Marketing

One of the more difficult aspects of running an organization is marketing and media. We pride ourselves on our media and marketing abilities and are skilled in many different systems to improve your club and reach new audiences. We are able to post to your social media accounts, run email marketing and even have our own in-house graphics team to help develop your brand!

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