Volunteers are the lifeblood of the sport, without them, nothing would function! Find out strategies for Recruitment, Retention, Compensation as well as specifics on Baseball Officials in Queensland.
To apply for a Blue Card, please visit the Blue Card Services website here.
Baseball Queensland prefers that ALL volunteers within our clubs and regions obtain and hold a Blue Card, regardless of whether or not they are involved with juniors. Clubs and regions are inherently family based and the likelihood that a volunteer is going to be at some point involved with children in or around the club is likely.
Step 1: Build a Database
Utilise Game Day as your base, the Volunteer, Scorer, Coach and Official registration types are your friend. Encourage all of your volunteers to register to their respective role(s). This helps to build your numbers but it also allows you to identify just how many people you have who are willing or are currently helping out.
Step 2: Identify the Roles
Create a list of the roles your club currently has (or needs – Registrar, Vice President, etc.) and any roles you expect the club to need moving forward. (Umpire, Canteen, Merchandise Coordinator, etc.)
Step 3: Identify Need and Priority
Review where you have people currently and identify which positions need to be filled. You’ll want to work out your priorities, Executive Committee roles might be more important, or you may need a Canteen Coordinator before you need a Vice President. It’s dependant on the club and the skills and time currently available.
Step 4: Defining the Roles
Being able to clearly communicate and effectively define your roles will be key to your volunteers succeeding. They need to know what to do in order to do anything, you might have been a volunteer for 15 years, but this might be their first time. Giving someone a title is not the same as giving them instructions.
Don’t restrict yourself to filling full positions either, set up roles so that they can be split into smaller tasks. You might have 4 people completing a quarter of the role each. People have a diminishing amount of time and you need to be able to adapt and adjust your expectations to match their available time.
Step 5: Understand your Current Situation
You need to understand what is and isn’t working with your current and former volunteers. Talk to them. Understand why they’re there, what they need and what’s missing. What’s working and what isn’t.
This can also initiate Step 6. See if there’s anyone else that they know that might be willing to help and what the barriers for those people helping out might be.
Step 6: Find and Appoint Volunteers
Determine who on your current database might be able to vacancies that you’ve identified.
Try to align volunteering opportunities with peoples skillsets, consider where they work or where they might’ve worked in the past, what they’ve offered to help with previously or where there passion or interest might lie.
Passionate volunteers are productive and infectious. Talk to people, understand what they want and how that can be applied to the club, it’s vacancies and it’s future.
Don’t be afraid to advertise that you need help. Every club needs help. Put out a call with a list of tasks that you need help with, you’re more likely to get volunteers if they know exactly what they’re getting into. Use Social Media, Email, reach out to your sponsors, council, local community groups, or post an ad on job sites. The worst response you’ll get is a no.
Step 7: Induct and Support
People need instruction and support. Create an induction process and checklist for your club.
Where do volunteers find what they need, where can they go for help. Answer questions. Make them feel comfortable. Let them know who to ask for help and be open to supporting them in whatever they may struggle with.
Remember to always recognise the work and contribution of those around you.
Most volunteers don’t volunteer for the recognition, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be recognised. A meaningful thank you can go a long way. As you’ll know yourself, the work of volunteers is often underestimated and underappreciated.
There are many other ways to recognise and thank your volunteers. A few ideas are
Feature volunteers on your website, newsletter, and/or social media platforms. Highlight their contributions, share their stories, and express gratitude for their dedication. You could even list some of their successes and achievements with the club.
Certificates and Awards
Host an Awards night and present volunteers with certificates of appreciation or special awards to recognise their outstanding service.
You can create different categories such as “Volunteer of the Year” or throw in some funny awards too!
Personalised Thank You Notes
Go old school – handwritten thank-you notes or personalised letters can go a long way in making volunteers feel appreciated. Include specific details about their contributions and the impact they have made.
You could do something similar via text or email, but the handwritten method is more personal and requires thought and effort to write. (It’s more meaningful!)
Volunteer Appreciation Events
Offer volunteer-only social events, a morning tea, lunch or night out. Tailor it to your volunteer base, understand what they’d enjoy and treat them to it.
Volunteer of the Month/Quarter
At your committee meetings, vote for a volunteer of the month/quarter.
Provide them with a reward. You could look at sourcing a sponsor for the award who would be happy to provide goods to be awarded to volunteers.
Social Media, Club Website/Newsletter or Local Newspaper Publication
Publicly recognise your volunteers achievements and contributions to your club!
Either a post on social media, in your club newsletter or on your website. You could even engage a local newspaper to do a story on their contributions to the club and the local community.
Reduced Registration or Merchandise Fees
Providing reduced or waived registration and merchandise fees is a simple way of acknowledging and rewarding a volunteer for their service to the club.
Free Meal and Drink from the Canteen
This is simple! Do I even need to explain it?
Nominate Volunteer for Local Awards
Some councils host yearly sports awards nights and invite their local clubs to nominate players and volunteers for council-wide awards.
Provide Identification Badges, Shirts, Caps, etc.
Make it look official! Provide your volunteers with a unique identification badge, volunteer shirt and/or cap.
For extensive service to your club, nominate them for a Life Membership.
Prepared by the committee or donated by a sponsor. A gift basket is a traditional and time tested thank you.
Personalised Tokens of Appreciation
Give small, meaningful gifts to volunteers as a token of appreciation. It could be custom-made badges, keychains, or engraved items with the club/regions logo or a special message.
Publicly celebrate significant milestones reached by volunteers, such as hours of service or years of commitment. Recognize their achievements publicly and present them with a commemorative item or certificate.
Training and Skill Development Opportunities
Show your appreciation by offering volunteers access to training programs or workshops that can enhance their skills or provide personal development opportunities.
Compensation doesn’t always mean a salary.
There are plenty of ways you can compensate a volunteer and sometimes that can make the difference in recruiting and retaining people. These ideas will apply to different clubs of different sizes, these are not one-size fits all solutions.
The issue is that compensation is considered an expense. As a not-for-profit, you have to look at the benefit on the other side. Without your coach, you lose a team. Without your canteen, you lose income. Without your scorers or umpires, you have the potential for games to not be played at all, or your club risks fines. Even simply the amount of hours dedicated by each volunteer would cover the expenses of the ideas below.
Volunteers make our clubs, understand the value that they provide. You can always provide them with something.
Discounted Fees for themselves or their child
Think about the value that your volunteers bring to your organisation. If you didn’t have a coach, would you still field that team? That’s a minimum of 9 registrations that are being maintained by that one coach. You can afford to waive their club fees. Will your games go ahead without a scorer, an umpire? Will you get fined if you don’t provide a scorer or umpire? Is your canteen one of your largest revenue streams? Is your committee the only thing keeping the club from disappearing?
Instituting a Volunteer Levy is also a system to compensate those who volunteer, and ‘penalise’ those who don’t. All players contribute an amount towards the volunteering pool, and after a certain number of games or hours of volunteering, their contribution to the pool is returned to them.
Free Apparel or Uniforms
Again with the above, your coach makes your team. Even if you give them free registration and free apparel, that expense is covered by the team they’re coaching. It’s more likely than not that these volunteers are making that expense back and more through the role they’re doing.
Free apparel is also free advertising.
Go simple and offer a payment. This might be covered in your registrations as a volunteer levy. It might come from a grant. It might come from a businesses donation or sponsorship.
It’s important to understand the barriers that might stand in the way of someone volunteering.
You also want to be constantly communicating to find out what is and what isn’t working – this goes for all aspects of your club. If you can identify problems early, you can manage them and avoid losing people.
Providing appropriate compensation will also benefit your retention of volunteers.
Rostering can help you spread the workload among a larger base of volunteers, it also allows people to understand exactly when they are required and for how long. This ensures that you’ll have exactly what you need during game days or special events.
A roster can be built using an excel spreadsheet or free online tools. Consider using social media to pass messages and reminders around about rostering.
Communication is key. While you should not spam your volunteers with constant communication, it is important to check in on your volunteers and share information about their roles and the club. Remember to keep your communication clear and purposeful. Key types of communication forms include
- Social Media
- Newsletters and Emails
- Face-to-face conversation
Depending on the number of volunteers and the type of roles they fill, consider developing tailored communication plan for volunteers. i.e. you might want to send something specific to your scorers, or umpires vs. your canteen volunteers. This is where a list of your volunteers is helpful!
Its important to give your volunteers the opportunity to provide feedback on various aspects of the club. Clubs need to be open to receive informal feedback throughout the year and provide a platform for formal feedback on a regular or ongoing basis. An end of season volunteer survey can give volunteers an opportunity to provide feedback. It’s also a great way to evaluate your club’s volunteer management techniques and get an idea if your volunteers are willing to return next season.
Volunteer Dismissal and Exit Interviews
While it can be hard to find volunteers, it is important to evaluate volunteer performance and manage underperformance.
A bad volunteer could be creating a negative culture for the club and deter others from volunteering. However, volunteers do have the same rights as employees which need to be considered when dealing with volunteer performance management and dismissal.
Volunteering Australia has developed The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement which provides a best practise in volunteer management and will help manage the risk and safety of volunteers. Please visit Volunteering Australia for more information.
Exit interviews, whether a digital form, a phone call or a chat, can help you to understand why your volunteer might be leaving. This allows you to identify any potential issues so that changes can be made.
A Sample Volunteer Exit Interview Template is attached below. This template is courtesy of the Volunteering Resource Hub.
Volunteer Training and Resources
Baseball Queensland, in partnership with CPR Group, offer tailored-to-baseball webinars on a few topics each year. Stay tuned to your club emails and Club Hub News for the announcement of our first webinar.
Through Baseball Australia, Baseball Queensland’s Clubs and Regions are also eligible for free SportsCommunity webinars.
Institute of Community Directors
The institute of Community Directors is a network for sharing best-practice governance information for Australian not-for-profits, government boards and committees and the senior staff who work alongside them.
Membership with them is free. They offer a series of webinars as well as paid self-paced learning courses. One of these offerings is a Diploma of Governance. (This course is no longer VET-accredited)
There is also a number of policy templates, tools and other resources available on their site.
Volunteering Resource Hub
The Volunteering Resource Hub, an initiative of Volunteering Australia, brings together useful, evidence-based and current best practice resources, tools, research and information to support effective volunteer management.
Volunteering Queensland is the state peak body and lead voice for advancing and promoting volunteering in Queensland. They can provide assistance and resources in finding suitable volunteers. Head to their website to explore!
Volunteer Research and Information
The Market Segmentation Study for Volunteers helps identify segments in the Australian community with the greatest potential for recruitment of new sport volunteers, and practices and strategies for the retention of current sport volunteers. There is a 3 minute video summary, and links to more in-depth data.
Umpires are governed at a national level by the Association of Australian Baseball Umpires (ABU). The state association for Queensland is the QBUA (Queensland Baseball Umpires Association).
Gold Coast and Cairns have their own QBUA affiliated umpire associations which provide training and appointments for their respective competitions.
These four associations are linked below.
Information on the accreditation process for umpires can be found on the QBUA website. Click here for further accreditation information.
Scorers are governed under a national Advisory Panel, the Baseball Australia Scorers Advisory Panel (BASAP). The state association for Queensland is the QBS (Queensland Baseball Scorers).
Gold Coast manage scorers under their Gold Coast Baseball Officials Association.
Coaching is a rewarding way to be involved in baseball but not without its challenges. So Baseball Queensland have built a suite of accreditation and training packages to assist coaches at all levels.
To get started please follow this link to create an account in our coach learning portal. You will then have access to our suite of learning and accreditation resources along with a home for all your completed training package certificates and qualifications under one profile.
Development Officers (DO’s)
This is a paid volunteer position with Baseball Queensland.
What are they?
Love baseball and want to help grow the sport?
Casual Development Officers are individuals who are passionate and have the desire to help promote baseball to primary schools throughout Brisbane, Gold Coast and North Queensland. The main objective of this role is to deliver entry-level programs to primary school-aged students whilst promoting local baseball clubs. Your passion, commitment, and drive to get kids physically active is important to us – not necessarily an intricate understanding of the game.
How can I become one?
Baseball Queensland regularly recruit Casual Development Officers, to see if we’re currently recruiting please visit the Work with Us page by clicking the button below.