At League Network, we always advise our members to remember to thank volunteers they know are doing a great job. After all, volunteers are often what keep a league running. This is especially true in cities where there aren’t a lot of funds to pay for staff and equipment. These volunteers get things done and help raise funds, never asking for anything in return.
Research shows however, that volunteers do get something out of their experience volunteering. While not monetary or tangible, volunteering brings about a lot of benefits. Understanding what those benefits are is crucial in attracting and retaining great volunteers.
Sports volunteers who work directly with the players can improve their fitness alongside their athletes. While we all know less than fit coaches (volunteer and otherwise), being engaged and moving about along with the players can often add a couple hours of light exercise in an otherwise sedentary schedule.
Some leagues pay their referees. Others offer the job as a volunteer position, and there’s almost no better way to get some cardio in than running up and down a soccer field or pacing the sidelines during a football game.
Volunteering is proven to also keep your brain active, reduce depression and increases self-confidence.
Values and Conscience
Volunteer work simply makes you feel good. Talk to any volunteer you meet, and they’ll likely tell you that no matter what they ended up doing, they loved the experience simply because it made them feel like what they were doing was important.
Volunteering can be something of a spiritual experience, or at least one that speaks to your conscience. Being engaged in your community brings you a sense of accomplishment and visible results and a greater sense of connection to others (new friends for example).
Resumes and Applications
If you’re a younger volunteer, your work with a youth sports league can make a glowing addition to any college applications you want to fill out. You don’t have to play sports yourself to use league sports as a valuable reference. Volunteer work of any kind shows a university you’re a passionate, hard-working student.
Volunteer work is also great to put on job resumes and expand one’s network. Employers love to see that you’re willing to work hard for free, which speaks volumes about your ability to work when there’s an incentive on the table.
Everyone needs to feel needed and included, and volunteering fulfills that need. To top it off, the role of a coach in youth sports is akin to that of a teacher in a school. The pleasure and engagement gained by watching future generations grow up – quite literally before your eyes – feeds our need for an enduring legacy throughout generations.
League Network supports volunteers by creating better, more sustainable leagues. Not only do you become part of the team you help support through volunteering, you officially become part of the League Network family. Join us in our mission to create Better Leagues, Better Lives.