Online registration is the easiest, fastest and most efficient way for players and volunteers to sign-up with AYSO. For Regions that are considering or have already moved away from registration events, one important issue to address is how you can keep or increase volunteer registration. Without the face time with potential volunteers, it could be difficult to recruit. To make sure you don’t lose numbers, here are four tips for recruiting volunteers:
1) Design effective recruitment opportunities: Typical registration events are great for getting everyone in one place for a quick meet and greet, but it’s not the best place to push recruitment as many parents want to register and leave. Because there is such little time, it is best to plan recruitment opportunities that work best for your Region.
Bob Orr of Region 54 in Cerritos, CA has implemented a three-weekend player and coaching clinic where he’s had great success recruiting volunteers. In these clinics, his Region demonstrates ideal practice sessions and uses the extended time with parents to talk to them about the benefits of volunteering.
Other Regions have made their registration events feel like parties so parents and kids stick around longer. This can be done by providing pizza or snacks, fun games for kids and a local college soccer players to talk about AYSO.
Creating events where you can talk to parents in a non-rushed environment has greater potential to bring in more volunteers. In addition to a multi-purpose registration event, you can try clinics, first-time parent meetings or soccer 101 workshops to pitch volunteering with AYSO. Meet up with your Region’s volunteers to brainstorm something that works best for you and remember: the sooner you start hosting recruitment events, the more time you’ll have to get volunteers and the less pressured they’ll feel.
2) Create a consistent and effective pitch
One issue Regional Commissioners face when recruiting is that they feel they don’t have the sales know-how to pitch volunteering. This can result in your Region losing volunteers who would have otherwise considered becoming a coach, referee or part of the management team.
Your recruitment message should have enough information for a volunteer to make an informed decision. Research by Ohio State University shows that most people are motivated to volunteer by one of three things: achievement, affiliation or power. Those who look for achievement like being awarded for accomplishments. People seeking affiliation want to build lasting relationships and volunteers motivated by power want to feel like they are having an important effect in the community. Make sure to keep these things in mind when creating your Region’s volunteer pitch. This message can also be used to attract volunteers on websites like www.volunteermatch.com.
3) Provide volunteer support: Parents hesitate to volunteer for a variety of reasons. It could be that they don’t know anything about soccer or feel they don’t have anything to offer. It is important to communicate to potential volunteers that they don’t need to know soccer or have an MBA to change lives and help create a life-changing experience for kids.
Be sure to create a supportive and communicative environment so parents that are unsure about volunteering will know they have a support cast to help if they run in to trouble. You can also provide phone support to make sure registration goes smoothly for parents and volunteers. Then, make sure to communicate in your pitch to parents that no matter what their experience level is, they have veterans of the Region and soccer experts to lend them a hand.
4) Manage your deadlines: Regional Commissioner Michael Karon of Region 76 has had great success getting volunteers and players to register online and has seen his numbers increase. He attributes much of that success to an “open door policy” with online registration. He allows both volunteers and players to register year-round.
To change your deadlines, simply go to eAYSO's home page and click on Region – Setup – General – Messages and change the “accept application until” box. In the “message to parents” (after deadline) box, be sure to create a message telling parents and volunteers to contact you in case they missed the deadline so you don’t lose them.
Make sure to think from a customer’s perspective. What can I do to make it easy to do business with me? Whatever the answer to that is, be sure to enable it for your parents and volunteers!
If you have any questions or tips on great ways to recruit volunteers, email Roy Rosell here!