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The Community Sports Volunteering Summit 2021

Four webinars and a one-day conference on managing, enabling and inspiring the volunteer workforce in community sport in the ‘new normal’


17th February, 17th March, 14th April, 19th May 2021
1st July 2021, Technique Stadium Chesterfield

Balancing the need for strong governance and compliance with the requirement to build a volunteer-friendly culture

With community sports reliant on the volunteer workforce, knowing how to effectively recruit, retain and manage volunteers is crucial to organisational and service resilience – particularly in the context of increasing financial, social and regulatory pressures.

So, why do many, if not all, community sports clubs report that they struggle to recruit and retain skilled and passionate volunteers?  And at the same time, it appears that very few clubs do have active programmes for volunteer leadership and management.

We also come across sports bodies who tend to almost over-burden their club volunteers with all sorts of admin, reporting and governance work – could we not be a bit more considerate when it comes to asking clubs and volunteers for stuff!
So, a key question is about how much focus we give to creating and sustaining great volunteer experiences and to help strengthen leadership and develop an open and enterprising culture across community sport.

This programme provides the opportunity for volunteer and workforce managers to spend some quality time on personal development, networking with colleagues and participating in a host of motivating masterclasses and discussions focused on volunteer recruitment, retention, training, support, and management.
Webinars and Conference – all useful, practical stuff

4 one-hour engaging and interactive webinars


The first webinar is free to attend.

The next three webinars cost £45 to attend (£35 for members of the Sports Enterprise Network (SEN)
To attend the actual conference, and the three webinar costs £155.00 (£130 for members of the Sports Enterprise Network)

Introduction Webinar
Identifying potential volunteers in your community 17th February 10 am BST

Traditionally, many community sports providers have been relying on former players/athletes and parents as their main pool of volunteers and often the focus on who was available for a particular role and not whether the had the skills and attributes to fulfil that role.

At the same time, there is clear evidence that clubs and other community providers who are engaged with the wider community and are #MoreThanAClub are finding it much easier to identify to skilled and passionate volunteers than those who are ‘just sport’.

This webinar will provide participants with thoughts, tools and to-dos on how to become that community hub which can become an attractive place for ‘community connectors’ to engage and volunteers.

We will also go through practical steps on how to map your community partners around you and how to run a Community Launch to present your great work.

3 Webinars 

This programme is a must-attend for anyone working in community sport, and will help you to improve your recruitment processes, grow and develop

your workforce, and maximise the impact of your volunteers.

How to recruit and welcome volunteers 17th March 2021, 10 am BST

We know from our gyms and leisure centres that the first experience and the induction plays a significant role in the newcomers’ perception of the club and the length of their membership. The same thing also applies to volunteering in community sport so we will
We will also be covering the important aspect of clubs and providers being ‘volunteer friendly’ by welcoming new people, encouraging bite-size volunteering, avoiding lengthy meetings, having fun, having great internal communication and training and supporting people.

The webinar will draw on real-life experiences from many community sports providers and give participants ideas and tools to develop some great practice when it comes to recruiting and welcoming volunteers.

Leadership and management of your club and your volunteers 14th April 2021. 10 am BST

Leadership in voluntary-run sports clubs is a complex issue as people are involved with their clubs for lots of different reasons and that therefore to develop one common culture within a club can be difficult. But the difference between good, and not so good, leadership cultures and practices can have a significant impact can on the growth and success, and otherwise, of our community sports clubs.
In different ways these providers, all based in diverse communities adapted to the conditions imposed by lockdown extremely quickly and competently, despite being in unchartered waters.  Also, they did not wait for instructions from ‘above’ but built on their already brilliant relationship with their local communities and then developed new competencies, like running training sessions via Zoom or used their kitchen to cook meals for people who were shielding. 

This webinar will give participants ready-to-use tools and ideas on how to improving the leadership at your club.

Rewarding and thanking your volunteers 19th May 2021, 10 am BST

Volunteer recognition is probably an area where most community sports providers fall down.  ‘Thank yous’ and birthday cards are indeed rare occurrences, especially if you not one of the ‘diehards’. How many governing bodies do have an award for ‘Best leadership at a community sports club’ or an award for ‘Best bite-size volunteer recognition programme’?
If community sport is to attract and retain skilled and passionate we will have to give much more attention to giving them great experiences, social interaction and a sense of belonging (that ‘welcome’ and that club T-shirt can do wonders).

This webinar will go through the many ways that you can recognise volunteers on social media videos to Christmas cards and everything in-between

The webinars and conference will cover topics such as:

  • Creating a more diverse volunteer workforce
  • How to research what volunteers want to gain from the experience and what they can offer to ensure an individual’s skills and personal contribution to an organisation are fully utilised
  • How to simplify the recruitment process for volunteering to act quickly on expressions of interest
  • Developing new skills through digital roles, including online recruitment and digital cataloguing of stock availability
  • Applying new solutions and ideas for supporting outstanding recruitment, retention and management of volunteers
  • Driving diversity and supporting improved approaches to inclusion and outreach
  • updates on how voluntary organisations can enhance professional development for volunteer managers
  • How to understand what motivates volunteers and how to keep them interested in the 2020s
  • How to develop volunteer-friendly environments that fit in with people’s lives workforce manager
  • What are the specific challenges when it comes to recruiting and retaining officials, referees and umpires
  • Improve the communication process between your organisation and volunteers/prospects
  • Not all volunteers are coaches – how to recruit people with leadership, marketing, financial and community experience to our sports clubs
  • How to motivate and inspire volunteers to welcome change and innovation
  • How to deal with volunteer burnout and mental health
  • Improving the internal communication on our community sports clubs to improve motivation and engagement

Who should attend this programme:

Volunteering Managers, Workforce managers, Heads of Participation and anyone who works on a regular basis with volunteers working in governing bodies of sport, sports development departments, Active Partnerships and other organisations involved with community sport.

The organisers

Sports Marketing Network (SMN) is a unique organisation where physical activity and community sports providers can share best practice on how to become vibrant, visible and viable and develop innovative and enterprising enterprises.
We have been described as positive disruptors and we have worked with a wide range of sport, physical activity and community organisations helping them to adapt, change and become better equipped to the changing landscape.
More than 4000 community sports providers from across the have participated in one of our Grow Your Club workshops, benefitted from 1:2:1 consultancy and mentoring, attended one of our conferences, participated in one of our webinars or read one of our Guides, so we have developed an unparalleled knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and challenges for the enterprise and innovation aspects of community sport and physical activity.
Thousands of people involved with community sport and physical activity across the UK and Scandinavia have participated in one of our ‘hot topics’ conferences covering issues such as Innovation and Enterprise in Community Sport, More Disabled People into Sport, More Girls into Sport, Britain’s Active Parks and A Healthier Nation through Sport and Physical Activity, to name a few…


Want to learn more or get involved, then get in touch with Svend Elkjaer on 01423 326 660 or email him on svend@smnuk.com