Though AYSO EXPOs see thousands of volunteers per year receive unique volunteer training—including certification programs and continuing education in coaching, refereeing, management, marketing and much more—there are many volunteers who miss out on this valuable learning and networking event. One of the main reasons for this is communication of the event is sometimes not timely or targetted enough to maximize interest.
To improve communication and make sure that more volunteers attend AYSO EXPO, thus better preparing them to succeed with AYSO, there are three things you can do now to assure its success:
1. Modify budgets: Many Regions don’t plan for AYSO EXPO when budgeting for the season and as a result, all the volunteers from those Regions can’t experience EXPO. SDs should review Area budgets and Areas should review Region budgets to make sure there are enough funds being allocated for EXPO. If you’ve included a budget line item for EXPO before, look in to increasing it. If you haven’t included for whatever reason, send us an email and we’ll help you get started. If there isn’t a local EXPO scheduled, keep travel and accommodation costs in mind as well.
2. Start promoting NOW! Don’t wait until the end of the season to start talking to your Region, Area and Section’s volunteers. Give them the dates, discuss the benefits and let them know just how important it is for them to take part. Once fall season is off the ground and you have your volunteers excited and available, don’t wait until the season is over to get the word out about EXPO! When travel arrangements need to be made, workplaces need to be notified and overnight accommodations need to be booked, two months just isn’t enough.
3. Simplify the communication: When an SD writes an email, sent to AD, sent to RCs then to volunteers; many times, the language is heavy on “AYSO lingo.” It’s filled with acronyms, titles, names of events and other things that a newbie volunteer may not recognized and as a result, they tend to ignore the message. AYSO lingo often doesn’t resonate with new volunteers so before you send out that email, ask yourself: “If I’m a new volunteer getting this email, will I understand this? Will I feel excluded?” We must keep language simple!