How to Encourage Volunteerism in Parks & Recreation

How to Encourage Volunteerism in Parks & Recreation

Volunteers are the backbone of many parks and recreation organizations. Without volunteers, it would be difficult to provide effective, entertaining, and enriching experiences for the community, in many situations. Since so many parks and recreation organizations rely on government funding, having volunteer assistance won’t only alleviate any budget concerns, but it can provide an opportunity for them to give back to the community. 


Encouraging Volunteerism in Parks & Recreation

Of course, it can be hard to get people to offer their time. Here are some ideas on how to encourage volunteerism in parks and recreation. 

Share the Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering comes with a number of unique benefits. From meeting new people to learning new skills, it provides a number of opportunities that individuals from your community may not otherwise be able to take advantage of. Especially for those who are business-oriented, volunteering provides a platform through which one can network, creating lasting effects, as volunteers must work together to accomplish a collective goal. Share these benefits and make them heard through your website, newsletter, and social media platforms, to catch the attention of potential volunteers. 


Here are a few of the benefits you can highlight to garner attention to your volunteer opportunities:

  1. Rewards
  2. Meeting new people
  3. Promoting a cause
  4. Teaching valuable skills
  5. Physical health
  6. Increased self-confidence

There's much more where that came from. Build a list of the benefits of volunteering, and start brainstorming content ideas to share on social media and through newsletters that highlights these beneficial outcomes.

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Offer a Variety of Options

While you may have specific tasks that need to be completed or events that you need help with, offering a variety of volunteer options will increase the likelihood of your organization getting more volunteers overall. For example, if you need bodies to help fulfill some manual labor tasks, this may deter a number of potential volunteers. By offering more options—and more time slots—your organization will ultimately be more inclusive and provide more volunteer opportunities for those in your community.

Divide the volunteering options by physical work, administrative roles, and remote or digital opportunities so that potential volunteers can let you know the roles they are interested in. Be sure you are storing your potential volunteer's information neatly and safely in a CRM that differentiates them by sector, and job type.

There are several ways that volunteers can contribute, including these initiatives:

  1. Green Initiatives: Tree planting, landscaping, and more.
  2. Community Centres: Odd jobs around the facilities.
  3. Administrative: Sorting paper work, organizing digital files, and more.
  4. Ambassador: Attending events and promoting the community.
  5. Anti-Litter Programs: Cleaning up garbage and spare litter around the community.

How to Encourage Volunteerism in Parks & Recreation

RELATED: Developing an Effective Volunteer Recognition Program

Reward and Show Appreciation 

At the end of the day, your volunteers are offering their time to help promote and better your parks and recreation organization. It’s important that you don’t let your volunteers’ hard work go unrecognized, which is why rewarding volunteer hours is an excellent way to ensure that they feel appreciated. Recognizing great work can also encourage other future volunteers to join.

Some ways to recognize your volunteers may include personal thanks in the form of handwritten cards or personalized emails, public recognition through a Volunteer of the Month program, special meals or outings that celebrate them, and a volunteer appreciation day.

Here is a quick list of other ays to promote volunteer appreciation:

  1. Highlight a volunteer of the month
  2. Host a volunteer appreciation party or event with prizes
  3. Run a reward program to thank volunteers
  4. Share biographies of volunteers on social media publicly

Developing an Effective Volunteer Recognition Program

Xplor Recreation's Volunteer Platform

Xplor Recreation’s parks and recreation management software can help you organize your volunteers, in addition to assisting organizations of all sizes connecting with their communities. Our cloud-based software features a staff and resource management function, where you can view all of your staff (and volunteer) schedules in one master calendar. You can schedule staff, rooms, equipment, and more, using one simple interface. Learn more about the management software here.

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