Salute our volunteers – Selwyn Moskovitz, President, South Africa National Archery Association
By iSportconnect | August 1, 2012
Volunteers are the life-blood of every sporting organisation. They dedicate hours of time and energy, working in a variety of ways. Without them, most sports clubs and associations would cease to exist. Volunteers are extremely valuable, and deserve considerable praise and thanks.
The importance of volunteers cannot be underestimated, evidenced in that South Africa, having hosted many international sporting events over the past few years, would have not been able to do so without the involvement of their time, effort and dedication.
They range from major international events, through to national, provincial and club events.
Volunteers make a huge contribution towards sport in all spheres, ranging from officiating, judging, coaching, administration and preparation.
Their estimated worth runs into the hundreds of thousands of Rands and in the sport of archery, they eliminate the need to import judges for World Archery sanctioned events, through to minimising the cost of labour and specialist skills to prepare the field of play.
Sport plays a special part in young people’s volunteering. It is the most popular form of volunteering activity today and allows the transfer of skills, the creation of new and better ideas and of course, growth.
In fact, the 2012 London Olympics would not have been possible without the 70,000 volunteers, of which only a handful get any tangible reward, such as attending the opening ceremony.
Administrators, officials and coaches all fulfil an important role in sport. They may come from different backgrounds and many act in a voluntary capacity themselves. The key to success is the way in which they can manage the volunteer helpers for whom they are responsible.
So how do you recruit, train and retain your volunteers? Consider the following questions:
• What are your experiences as a volunteer?
• How have you contributed as a volunteer and why?
• Could your experiences as a volunteer have been improved?
• Do you know how to recruit, train and retain volunteers?
• How do you ensure your volunteers enjoy working with you?
Many people volunteer and they come from a variety of places. Many are members, friends, parents, school students, spectators, existing volunteers and volunteers linked to projects or even volunteer agencies.
Look at your own club or organisation – who are the volunteers? You will probably find that most will already have a link with someone at the club.
People also volunteer for many different reasons. Some of these may be:
• To learn new skills
• To help others
• To be involved with a relative who is a club or organisation member
• To share talents and abilities
• To do something different to the day job
• To make new friends
• To build self confidence
• To be part of a team
• To gain a new direction in life
• To gain prestige and recognition
• To give something back to sport
• To have FUN!
If you can find out the needs and interests of your volunteers, you can then devise appropriate rewards for them. Know and recognise what motivates each individual volunteer and make sure that his or her efforts are rewarded.
Many clubs and organisations nominate and reward a player or coach of the season, why not nominate and reward a “volunteer of the year” as well. This helps to:
• Increase the number of volunteers
• Open up more volunteering opportunities
• Raise the profile of the work volunteers are doing
• Thank volunteers everywhere for their time and commitment
Either way, there can be no doubt that volunteers are the backbone of most sporting federations and deserve our salute.
About Selwyn Moskovitz
Selwyn Moskovitz is chairman of the Tahlula Group of Companies, an international company involved in healthcare and medical informatics. He holds a PhD in information sciences and is author of over 100 publications in the field.
He is an avid volunteer in the sport of archery and beside holding the elected role of president of the South African National Archery Association, he is a council member of the Federation of African Archery responsible for development of the sport on the African Continent, a board member of the Commonwealth Archery Federation and serves as a staff member and moderator on strategic management for the World Archery Federation.