Recruiting more volunteers

Pan Idræt's closest adviser when we talk about the development and management of our club is DGI - Gymnastics and Sports Association.

DGI has prepared 12 concrete tips which help us as a club to retain and recruit volunteers. The 12 tips apply to all volunteer tasks - regardless of whether it is the recruitment of a new member to the steering committee or a team captain - the tips also work on specific short-term volunteer tasks, such as giving a hand in the kitchen at a team party.

Use the good advice - and share your experiences with other steering committee members across the whole of Pan Idræt - your good advice may be just what others need to get started recruiting new volunteers.

The following are developed by DGI - and they thus own all rights.

Find more inspiration on recruiting and retaining volunteers

- hardly any volunteers have volunteered at a team meeting or general meeting

Recruiting volunteers is an ongoing task for the volunteer leader - and it is not only the chairman of the section who is responsible - it is the responsibility of everyone in the steering committee and coaching group.

Look around the room at meetings: how many have been asked if they want to volunteer or been given a tap on the shoulder about volunteering?

How were they asked to volunteer - let them tell their story.

Experience and research show that the majority of coaches, instructors, board members and helpers in the club have become volunteers because someone has asked them.

If you ask young people, they will often want to help if they can be allowed to solve the task as a group.

- there are over 1000 members in Pan Idræt - but do you have the creativity to ask members you don't know personally?

DGI has investigated how many people would like to participate as volunteers (DGI's volunteer survey). They arrived at the following conclusion - the proportion of non-volunteers who would like to participate in volunteer work if someone asked them:

16-25 years 64%
26-35 years 56%
36-45 years 51%
56-65 years 35%
66-76 years 21%
76 years or older 9%

Ask the question: Who in the section or in your network has never been asked?

In the Pan Idræt membership management system, when registering, people indicate if they would like to volunteer - many also indicate what they work with - this is a good source for finding new volunteers. Remember that just because you are working on something specific, you may not want to volunteer with it - but they can give you information to find other volunteers. 

- very few people volunteer for an unspecific and unclear task - often, people need to get a realistic picture of the scope and content of the task before they can relate to it. 

Does not work:
Do you want to be in charge of our communal dining on Friday?

Do you want to join once a month - together with Søren and Elisabeth - to get people out to eat together after training? If any questions come up, then of course you ask me.

- even when people have made a small effort - it will be remembered when you ask again

Of course, we get to say thank you to the coaches, the steering committee member whose term finishes, and when someone has performed well. In a sports section, there is a need for many helpers who often take on smaller and often somewhat invisible tasks.

Ask around the table - how to say THANK YOU to:

  • The member who always makes his home available for team meetings?
  • The one planning the next team party?
  • The one who takes care of newcomers in the tram?
  • Those who make sure the pitch is ok?
  • The member who always says, "I'll do that"?

In Pan Idræt, once a year the Pan Idræt Cup is awarded to someone as a thank you for a voluntary effort - a number of sports sections also have similar schemes. In the steering committee, consider how you can say thank you and pay tribute to the voluntary efforts. 


- do not take the opportunity away from people until you have asked them

We all know them - the "usual suspects" - the ones who always take on responsibility in the team - but that does not exclude them from other specific tasks.

Ask yourself if you've fallen into these traps:

  • Søren always helps out - we cannot ask him again
  • Klaus' husband won't let him
  • Janne has problems at home
  • Nanne has just got a new job


- be ambitious on behalf of your team

Being a volunteer also presupposes that you have the abilities and the desire. It is the responsibility of the steering committee to find the right people for the volunteer tasks. It is good club management to ensure that volunteers are successful with their task.

Who do you most want to have with you?

  • Write a list of, for example, the 5 "best" people to join the steering committee in the section.
  • What is it that keeps you from asking them?
  • If you think that the local bank manager or the journalist at the local newspaper will be "the best" to be the chairman, why do you not ask them?

It is good club management to take responsibility
This means that it is the steering committee's responsibility to find replacements. Good club management presupposes that you, as the steering committee - and especially the chairman - take on the responsibility that there is also a new chairman when you stop or step down. Put rather directly, one can say that the first task a newly elected sports section chairman has is to start looking for their replacement - so that a change of chairman in the future does not cause too much turbulence. Sections without management development and plans for this are at risk of closing down suddenly if there is no one to take charge.

Few people are motivated by being part of a sinking ship

What you say about Pan Idræt and your team helps to define how we are perceived by others.
When you talk about the good and positive sides of your sport and the whole of Pan Idræt, you create an upward spiral - and generate more good stories.

If you talk about the bad sides, then you create a downward spiral and reinforce a boring club image.

What successes do you have on your team? Get them communicated to your friends and wider in your network - as a member you are the best ambassador for your sport and our entire community in Pan Idræt.

Pan Idræt is a really big success - the association today has over 1000 members with steady membership growth and new sports being established on an ongoing basis. Many members say that they experience a big boost in their quality of life when they join our community. 

- there is a difference between people; not everyone can complete the same task with equal success

It can be provocative to have to admit it - but we are not all the right people in all contexts to recruit new volunteers, as the “right one” can be different from time to time, from situation to situation and from target group to target group.

The "right one" can be:
The one with prestige in the club
The one who knows the one to be asked
The experienced coach who has known the members for several years
The one that has a large network
The one who has cause to ask

If the task becomes too easy, it quickly becomes boring. If you make too many demands, you will lose motivation. In order to keep spirits up, there must be more easy tasks than marathon tasks.

Find out what an easy task is for the individual. A easy task can be to ask about something that the volunteer does not usually do.

Eg. ask the accountant if he wants to be a coach, rather than asking if he wants to be the finance manager?

- if you get a no, ask if there is another time when you can ask

Does not work:

  • Do not ask when you yourself are tired of club work - your mood is contagious
  • Do not ask the busy mother when she's doing the weekly family shop in the supermarket.
  • Do not ask when the meeting is over and you are on your way out the door.


  • Ask after a great tournament when the community spirit is clear and people are happy.
  • Ask when other volunteers are praised by the chairman (always remember as a volunteer leader to give praise when it is well-deserved - it is often extremely motivating)
  • Ask when the good mood is there.
  • Ask when Pan Idræt has positive publicity in the press.


The team's next coach can be found among:

• members who always hang around after training.
• members who are good at creating commitment, even if they are not the best at the sport itself
• people in your network who seem interested in your sport

Let the regulars help to spot new topics. Coaches and team leaders know the team and the people around it.

Many tasks in a club can be handled by several people together. Actually, togetherness with other can be a big motivater for many volunteers. It can be utilised when you need to find new volunteers for a task. If you find it difficult to see yourself as the coach who has to come twice a week for an entire season, you are more likely to want to volunteer if there are others to share the work with so you only have to come once a week.

Many people become volunteers because of the opportunity to be together with people from their network.

Sharing the work in a team enables people with awkward working hours to be a coach or instructor.

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