Saturday, December 9, 2023

Supporting the hockey volunteers who run the clubs

In our latest Club File series, we speak to an administrator who has written a book aiming to help club volunteers

Over the last 20 years, John Oates has worked with governing bodies, as well as with clubs, supporting the development of their volunteers, a key asset for clubs in hockey.

Oates has written an e-book ‘Taking your club to the next level’ which provides the volunteers with guides, best practice examples, plus advice in a simple and straightforward way.

It is available free here to Hockey Paper readers

It was written, he says, after recognising the pressure “these fantastic people would be under during Covid and that if we could provide support for them it would save them time as well as delivering results.”

  1. What propelled you to write the book?

I have spent 20 years working with sports clubs and have seen a huge amount of best practice that I wanted to share with volunteers to a) save them time and energy by doing activities efficiently b) providing those volunteers who don’t have specific skills and experience is certain areas with the required information

  1. How will volunteers be aided by the book?

It will provide them with the support to deliver the outcomes required for their role, effectively ( sponsorship, membership, events, Social Media etc). We recognise that they don’t always have the skills and knowledge in specific areas and we want to provide this for them.

  1. Do you believe clubs, especially volunteer led ones, need to change their mindset to survive?

Yes, I think they need to look at their club as a small business. For example, they need to think of the members, participants and businesses as customers who have wants and needs, we need to understand these and deliver them. Leadership is also critical because this dictates the culture within the club, they need to provide motivation, planning and support change within the club.

  1. How important is it for clubs to focus on extra income and innovative ways to improve membership after Covid?

The clubs will have several problems to tackle including a) membership – members will have drifted away and there needs to be a comprehensive campaign to re-engage and to attract new members b) businesses – many of the sponsors will be struggling therefore the clubs will need to ensure that all sponsors get the business outcomes they require and understand that sponsorship will be more competitive. What they do, they need to do well hence the step-by-step guides on the book!

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