Encouraging Membership

Do volunteers have a formal relationship with your club?

To protect your volunteers and your club, it is important that volunteers have a formal relationship with your club. This can be done in one of two ways: constitutionally or contractually.

Two types of volunteer membership:

  • 1. Constitutional
    • If you want your volunteers to become members, review your constitution to ensure that volunteer membership is permissible. If you struggle to attract volunteers and feel you cannot ask volunteers to pay to join the club, then consider an amendment to the club’s constitution that allows volunteers to become ‘honorary members’ while they remain a volunteer. Honorary members may not have voting rights at the AGM, but they will still be subject to the club’s rules, protection and codes of practice.

  • 2. Contractual
    • An alternative to membership may be to ask volunteers to complete and sign a ‘volunteer agreement’ (contractual). The agreement would set out the rights and responsibilities of the volunteer and state that they agree to abide by specific policies or codes of practice. Consider whether your current membership form allows for all volunteers to join the club and whether or not you need to create a volunteer agreement or simply build one into your current membership form.

Why should volunteers have a formal relationship with your club?

  • To protect your club
    • Good governance requires that the club manages its risk. For example, if your club has junior members, you are required by law to undertake criminal history assessments of volunteers working with children. Failing to do so may put your club at risk.

  • To protect your volunteers
    • To be protected from risk, the Volunteers Protection Act 2001 requires volunteers to have a formal relationship with the organisation they are volunteering for (Volunteers Protection Act 2001).

  • To recognise that the volunteer exists
    • What would happen if a volunteer was injured? How would he/she be covered if not formally a part of the club?

  • For historical purposes and recordkeeping
    • It is difficult to recognise service without keeping records of peoples’ involvement.

  • To justify spending funds on supporting volunteers.
    • If the board or committee has data to show how many hours volunteers have put into the club, this can be used to justify spending money on training and recognition.

Add to Action Plan  Action Plan Tips

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  • Review club constitution to ensure that all volunteers can become members
  • Determine if volunteers will be constitutional or contractual members
  • View your Action Plan
  • Click to view Templates for this Section
  • Handbook Tips View Handbook contents page to download templates & information
    Description: Create a Volunteer Management Handbook for your club:

    • Download information or templates.
    • Select the entire handbook or specific sections or pages.
    • Modify/tailor the handbook to suit your club.
    • Use the handbook to store records.
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