Figure Skating
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a non-profit educational organization

Recruiting Volunteers -
for nonprofit sports organizations 

Amateur sports depend on volunteers to operate
       Depending on the sport, volunteers may provide leadership, management, coaching, and officiating. A few sports who have a stream of revenue are able to pay individuals who coach the athletes, officiate at matches/games, and paid training staff. The revenue is generally provided from boosters, student body fees, attendance at sports events, and/or local, state, or federal funding of universities and colleges and military institutions like the Air Force Navy, and Army Academies'

       The cost of major sports are usually fully covered for students in programs associated with state school athletic federations and the NCAA institutions. The key is TV revenues in NCAA conferences which allows sports scholarships to be offered as incitements to attract talented athletes to their institutions. State sports federations actually work very hard to prevent students from transferring to schools that have stronger athletic programs. Minor sports are funded entirely by the parents who join sports clubs that try and attract business sponsors and fund raising activities to assist in partially funding training expenses.

       Many social and sports organizations experience a lack of volunteering participation by parents in staffing and planning essential activities that are the primary reason for the formation and operation of the group.

All types of organizations need a constant infusion of new individuals to become a member and join in maintaining and expanding its activities. Figure skating is no exception. With the increase of ice rinks that operate 12 months, figure skating activities have become year round instead of being just a winter sport.

There is a vast difference between a plan to increase the membership in an organization that stresses the benefits acquired by joining the organization compared to a plan to attract volunteers who will be trained to assist others. There are the most common types of nonprofit membership organizations: 
  • Provides specific services for members. For example, community sports organizations, theater groups, Neighborhood Watch, Scouts, etc.
  • People join to provide service to nonmembers. For example, Red Cross, volunteer Firefighters, Big Brother and Big Sisters, Literacy programs, Meals on Wheels, etc.
Recruiting New Members
        There are many methods that can use to recruit new members; unfortunately not all of them will be appropriate for use in specific type of organization with specific needs. Different approaches would used to promote a club or sports activity related to a church, school, or park department as compared to community groups such Pop Warner Football, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, etc. or private sports associations such as hockey leagues, figure skating, speed skating, or curling clubs, etc. that are affiliated with national sports federations.

Recruiting Volunteers

When there is a need for multiple volunteers without specialized skills, it is desirable to undertake a "media blitz" to achieve a broad dissemination of information using the following methods:
  • Designing a brochure for distribution of events such as fairs, community activities, etc.
  • Posters
  • Speaking to business and community groups
  • Notices in appropriate media
  • Use of social media
  • Personal contacts
  • Networking
Targeting Recruitment
      The focus of a successful targeted campaign must be carefully planned to appeal to those individuals who have specific skills/training and/or specific personal qualities/personalities that make them uniquely qualified,

       Such a targeted campaign requires answering several questions:

  • What is need to achieve/accomplish our objective(s)?
  • What qualities should we look for in potential candidates?
  • How can we communicate with them both collectively and as individuals?
  • What would motivate them to become a part of our group's vision?

      Answering such questions will help to identify the skills and qualities that potential volunteers  need to achieve a good fit for the positions that need to be filled. Once you locate a potential source of such volunteers, the task is to take your recruitment message directly to them.

Concentric Circles Recruitment
      This type of recruiting plan requires the identification of populations who are already in direct or indirect contact with your organization and then to contact them with your recruiting message. Such audiences include:
  • Family and relatives of coworkers, colleagues and associates
  • Program or school alumni 
  • Friends of current volunteers and staff.
  • People in your organization's neighborhood.
  • People who have expressed interest in the topic, sport, activities, are cause
Creating a Compelling Recruitment Message
       It's all about public relations. It is not enough to represent a worthy cause. You must communicate why busy individuals should take the time to listen to a presentation or read a professional looking brochure, consider the merits, and finally take a positive action of joining or volunteering.

      The message that is ultimately developed must explain why your organization deserves the consideration of a potential volunteer. To be considered, the message should be short, simple, and direct. You are asking for the volunteer to contribute time, energy, and sometimes financial support to provide free of charge a service and the good he/she can do. Stress the value to the community if the service can be provided. In addition, outline the benefits the volunteer will receive. Besides feeling good, there may be skills and valuable experience that the volunteer will gain by participation.

       Don't over look asking people you known to volunteer. The most effective way to is to network with staff  and existing volunteers ask their friends and acquaintances to volunteer. Be sure to provide them with the information they need to "state their case!"

       Many for profit organizations/businesses offer Internships to college students who want to acquire experience in a position that relate to their declared  major. The sports organization can also apply to individuals who are involved in sports training, recreation education, park management, physical education, and sports physiology.

Online Recruiting
       Finding volunteers the old fashioned way through referrals and local contacts still works and is a low technology method with also most no expensesl; however, the use of online methods like facebook, texting, and twittering provides opportunities to reach lots of individuals who are potentially volunteers that otherwise might not be contacted.

       It never hurts to review how other organizations with similar problems are attempting to recruit volunteers.
Here are the some of the most widely used volunteer matching sites:

      Year round participation has extended into what has typically been an off season for warm weather sports because of inhospitable winter conditions that would not support the sport. Today there are indoor driving ranges for golfers to practice their swings and putting. A similar indoor football, soccer, tennis, etc. facilities also extend these activities in the same way that indoor at community and university swimming facilities have long allowed swimmers, divers, and synchronized swimming teams to train twelve months a year.

Conversely the demand for figure and speed skating, hockey, and curling on longer is restriccted to the cold winter climates. Figure skating demand has developed into a year round, consistent demand. There has not been the same growth in demand by hockey and speed skaters, or curlers.  There is some evidence that the cold winter climates promotes a strong transition to participation in warm weather outdoor activities by parents and athletes.

The USFS Basic Skating Skills program provides and excellent opportunity for parents and skaters to become involved in our sport at the recreational entry level.

     This web site discusses how individuals can be come involved in sports and recreation in New Zealand.
Sport & Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) is dedicated to getting New Zealanders
enjoying and excelling through sport and recreation. Although figure skating is not part of
their efforts, the organization and its programs are worthy of exploring because the concept
could be applied to efforts to develop and market figure skating to beginning recreational
ice skating classes that are sponsored by the USFS or ISI.

Recommended Reading:
Figure Skating Codes of Conduct

Hockey Skating Codes of Conduct

Test Judging Topics

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Focus of USFS Clubs
  Figure Skating Club Topics
Your Local Skating Club
Communicating with Club Members
Skating Workshop Plans
Special Olympians Program
Seminar Ideas On & Off Ice
Amateur Ice Shows
Rink Facilities & Club Activities
Skating Events
Well Balanced Program Cards
Interpreting Judges 6.0 Scores
Becoming A Judge    
PDF  Conflict Management
PDF  Personal Experience of home schooling
PDF  Financial Donations
PDF  Athlete Funding Opportunities
PDF  USFS Sponsorship Information

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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