Coaching in the UK

Reed: Volunteer Strategies Crucial

Wed, 30 May 2012

 Sport and Recreation Alliance Chair Andy Reed says organisations need to build strategies that consider factors such as how much time people have and the changing age profile of the UK to ensure they engage volunteers.

Reed also noted that in a crowded and more professional volunteering environment that people’s geographic ties, what you can offer volunteers, and promoting volunteering are important.

Reed, speaking at the UK Coaching Summit 2012, suggested that flexible volunteering opportunities and strategies that mean it is not necessary to be ‘on site’ to volunteer could help deal with people’s time restrictions.

Talking about age demographics he said there are two implications of the increasing percentage of people in the UK over 65 – that there is a growing pool of potential ‘retired’ volunteers, and that older people may require more volunteer resource. To tackle this he underlined the need for organisations to ask themselves whether they rely on a certain age group to volunteer, and whether they could attract other generations.

Reed added that organisations need to consider how to keep volunteers who move around the country engaged and, in an increasingly consumer-based society, what they can offer volunteers in terms of training and life experiences.

He also underlined the importance of promoting the value of volunteering, ensuring a high profile amid changing social and political agendas.

Volunteering is important to coaching with research from sports coach UK finding that 76 per cent of the 1.1 million coaches in the UK are volunteers. Post 2012 they could have an important role to play in any increase in sports participation resulting from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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