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Volunteering for club events

batch78batch78 Posts: 1,320
edited August 2010 in The bottom bracket
I'm a new club member and on reading their website assumed everybody helped out and there was a thriving 'club culture' happening.

Five months in and I realise, very few people volunteer for events, many who ride club runs aren't members, and all events are under staffed.

We have a reasonably good race team, a fair tt showing and many 'domestiques'.

My question is, how do we, and your clubs, get members to help out at the multiple events during the year?


  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    You're not alone - if you could crack this one, you'd be very successful. This is a clip featuring a 'hypothetical' conversation between clubmates: apologies for swearing.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Every club has a different atmosphere, volunteering ethic and quantity of members who can be called on to help. But I think it's probably true to say that every club has:

    a) at least a small number of hard workers who never fail to be there for the club at every event.
    b) people who are actually very willing to help but need to be specifically asked. If a general request for help is put out, they don't come forward.
    c) people who have very busy lives with a lot more than just cycling going on, who will help if free, but more than likely have actually got something else on.
    d) people who are not really willing to help or put themselves out. Generally these people are very much on the periphery of the club and take little from it, hence, perhaps feeling they don't need to put much back.

    I think that when people moan that there are not enough helpers for club events they might be failing to take the trouble to ask specific individuals to help, so they're not capturing those in category b). Also, those in category c) need a great deal of advance notice in order to keep a specific date free - if you ask them to help in the last couple of weeks and they haven't been aware of the date, they will have something else planned.

    Then again, maybe some clubs really are full of c's and d's. I guess we're very lucky in my club. We have quite a big body of a's, the vast majority are b's, some are c's and not too many are d's. For our flagship TT event each year we probably have about 60 to 70 club members helping in one way or another. It really is a massive club re-union, often for old friends who have known each other for decades and everyone seems to enjoy coming to it - works out as a win-win really.

  • morstarmorstar Posts: 5,060
    Unsurprisingly, this issue effects many sports.
    I was manager for my sons junior ice hockey team a few years back. Every home game requires about 7 essential volunteers + some further non-essential ones such as raffle ticket sales.
    We could have had 20 raffle ticket sellers at every game as this is done before the game starts. Could we fill the other jobs?
    Sadly, one family has had a huge involvement in running the entire club for about 6 years. This is currently just all shifting over to a different family. I always did my fair bit but there are so many in any sport who won't lift a finger. I suppose it's just the way it is.
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    We had the same issue in my old rallying days. The solution? Each time you assist / marshall, the event organiser endorses your competition licence as proof. At years end,if you can't show that you've marshalled on at least two events, the club membership secretary won't sign off your licence renewal for the following year.
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • batch78batch78 Posts: 1,320
    Thank you Monty, that was spot on, it probably helps that I'm Surrey based!

    Your probably right Ruth, and others, there is certainly a core of regulars and I'm probably just too new to realise exactly who's who in the club, its those b's and c's that need targeting!

    Does anyone phone members directly, email from contact lists etc, or just post general requests on the website?
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    batch78 wrote:
    Does anyone phone members directly, email from contact lists etc, or just post general requests on the website?
    That's exactly my point really. If all you do is put up a notice saying you need helpers you will only get the a's. You have to 'phone round or specifically corner people and say "please can you help with......?" to get the b's. (For our big event we make it our aim to directly contact all of our 150 members.) To get the c's you need plenty of advance warning and a lot of cajoling to persuade them to give the club's event top priority - hence we strongly emphasise well in advance the planned date of our biggest events.

    Maybe another lesson for clubs is to not 'cry wolf' too often. We have a fair few events each year which don't require a massive amount of help, so every last club member does not get badgered for every event. That way, when the club really does need a big turnout, it can say "this is our really big event, we need everyone's support" people will tend to believe it.

  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    Ruth is spot on re asking for help, I wanted just a handful of helpers for the club sportive I run, it is amazing the amount of effort that goes into getting these helpers, much more than the effort required in actually running the event on the day.

    I relied on those that had helped for years, but I did get some to step forward and offer, I also have to ask personally as well. We have over 450 members in our club, and it is still very difficult to get helpers at events.

    We also try and make those that do club TT events, actually marshal some events as well, so that if you take part in a club TT, you must marshal a club TT event, we still have issues getting riders to do this as well.
  • ProssPross Posts: 31,633
    I've organised a few road races and time trials in the past and it was always the same people who helped and I usually just scrapped together the bare minimum. I agree with Ruth to some extent but I don't see that there should really be a need to chase people for events that are highlighted on the club's website and the club secretary sends regular emails (new additions since I last organised an event) out about upcoming events. These days I fall into Ruth's class c and will help whenever possible but as with riding itself I have to fit around lots of other things. I helped out at our club's road race a few months back shortly after rejoining the club and I think we had 5 club members helping! I ended up helping with the signing on before doing lead car duties. Fortunately we no longer need marshalls as we get excellent support from the NEG with mobile and static marshalls otherwise the race couldn't have happened. The club has over 100 members and only about 5 or 6 were in the race so I don't know what the rest do!
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