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Volunteer Crisis


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#1 ofina

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:53 PM

I know we're near the end of everything for this season.  We have only one All Star team playing and they are likely to lose their quarter-final district game tonight (8th seed going up against 1st seed).  But we are still hosting games tonight, tomorrow, Sunday and next Saturday.

 

This tournament season has made it very clear that we are having a volunteer crisis.  We are short members on the board too.  We have a relatively small board and we're all nearing burnout from trying to cover everything.  We're starting to snipe at each other too. 

 

Do any of you have tips that we can put into play for next season to get volunteers?  To get more than a couple people within the general membership to give a damn?  I'm not talking about coaches, I'm talking about concessions and field prep help and maintenance and maybe even scoreboard/announcing help.  We have tried more monetary incentives, but that seems to have had minimal impact.

 

At times we have had 3 tournaments going on at the same time, with two concessions stands to run. 



#2 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 09:59 PM

Getting volunteers is hard work, it takes years to build up a large group and you have to keep getting new ones when older ones' kids age out.
It's best to get new ones from Tee-Ball/Minors since they normally stick around for several years or more.

First, it sounds like you need more people on your Board.
Get your membership's approval to increase your Board size next year.

Try to get some people to Volunteer for just a few hours.
If you get a lot of people for minimal hours they don't get burned out.
Maybe the following year they'll do a few more hours, etc, etc.

"Monetary incentives" for "Volunteers"?
Isn't that an oxymoron?

========
End of the year Tournaments can be tough when you are Hosting but most of your teams have been eliminated.
In our District we have several leagues Hosting.
We have the leagues that are not Hosting send Volunteers to those that are (umps obviously but also scorekeepers, concession workers and field maintenance people - whoever they can get).
The Host generally make good money on concessions, especially since we do not allow outside food/drinks to be brought into the parks.
So most leagues request to Host every year.
One of the criteria to Host is how much support (number of Volunteers/hours) did you provide to the Host leagues last year!
Another one of the criteria is how the Host performed last year (number of Volunteers/hours).

#3 rsnyder6

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 01:28 AM

We are working harder to include and involve families of the youngest players, the PW (4-5-6) and Rookies (7-8).
I think since they are not Majors, they can be overlooked.
Then you have people for several years.

We have too many board members because most of the work is always done by the same people, and others join and do little to nothing. Keep trying to fix that.

I ran an (almost) all volunteer radio station with 60-80 people.
There were a lot of privileges that we could give to volunteers that did even a little extra work. Don't really have that in LL.

One question, we wave the fee for anyone who is a Director.
At this point, except for two or three directors, pretty much everyone who really volunteers, (meaning does work) have no kids in the league.
The ones that do the least seem to be there just to get their kid in free.

#4 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 02:40 AM

I know of a league that has a "refund" program.
Everyone pays "up-front" and the Volunteers (including Board Members) log their hours on the league Website.
At the end of the year they determine, based on how many hours each person volunteers, who gets refunds and how much.
There are no "free rides" in that league, even for Board Members.

Seems like a lot of work/record keeping to me but they say it works for them.
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#5 rsnyder6

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 02:57 AM

I know of a league that has a "refund" program.
Everyone pays "up-front" and the Volunteers (including Board Members) log their hours on the league Website.
At the end of the year they determine, based on how many hours each person volunteers, who gets refunds and how much.
There are no "free rides" in that league, even for Board Members.

Seems like a lot of work/record keeping to me but they say it works for them.

Interesting idea. Does seem like a lot of record keeping. But it would make it fairer.

It recently brought up to not give anyone a free registration. (Of course, the scholarships would still be given.) It would be a little funny for a lot of us who no longer have kids in the system to advance this since we had the benefit of it, but interestingly it was brought up by a person with kids in the league.

I'm in favor of just dumping the freeloaders.

#6 Ron

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 06:00 PM

Our league has every family pay $75 at the beginning of the season.   To get that money back you have to work a minimum of 8 hours doing different tasks other than those required for families supporting the team.  For example, helping at the fields, scorekeeper for tournaments or All Stars (not your kids regular games), umpiring younger teams, and working the snack shack for tournaments and All Stars.  Just about any task can earn you your $75 back, painting, landscaping, using your profession to do work (roofer, electrician, concrete installation, etc.).

 

Families must also support the team and work the snack shack twice.  We use 6 people to run the snack shack and a team has 12ish players.  Thus, each family has to supply one person at the snack shack for one game.  That game is one where your child is already playing. The team parent is responsible for coordinating the volunteers for the snack shack. The parent can also pay a person to work for them, but most people simply work their shift.  It is not very difficult.

 

Managers and coaches cannot get a refund of that money for simply coaching, or being the Manager on Duty for two days in which they do NOT have a game.  This is something I disagree with, but that is another argument.  I feel we are always putting in so much time that we should not have to pay the $75.  We easily put in more than 8 hours a season.

 

When the league was short people to work the snack shack, they had a pool of money to pay people to fill in at particular jobs to keep things running.

 

Lastly, when we had a hard time running the snack shack, they shut it down on strategic dates.  It created an uproar and the parents became more interested in keeping it open.



#7 rsnyder6

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 06:16 PM

Ron, is that $75 in addition to the registration fee? 

We used to have a $40 fee which you paid if you didn't help out in the stand or on the field. We gave it up a few years ago. A great many people just rolled it into the registration fee and paid it at the beginning of the season.

Also, we need to have at least one certified person in the stand to meet health regulations, so we are already paying one person, and we really don't need more than a couple.



#8 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 06:28 PM

"Manager on Duty"?
Is that like a Board Member on Duty?

#9 amutz

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 07:18 PM

Our league allows parents to 'opt out' of volunteering by paying an extra $75 at registration time.
Any volunteer job (Manager, coach, field help, board member) counts as volunteer.
We want every parent to help out and we try to provide a monetary 'push'.
It's primarily an honor system.

#10 Plesh

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 07:46 PM

We do $50 for volunteer fee. Have to work in the concession stand twice or be a manager or coach to get your fee back.
It's our best fundraiser!

The other side of town recently upped theirs to $100 because they had such little help. Doesn't matter, $50, $75, $100, the people who don't want to volunteer won't.
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#11 Ron

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 08:06 PM

The $75 is in addition to the Registration Fee.
The Manager on Duty is in addition to the Board Member on Duty.
The Manager on Duty is effectively in charge of keeping everything logistically running smooth for the games and the premises (cleaning up).
The Board Member on Duty makes any game related decisions, counts the money from the Snack Shack, and has the key to lock everything up with the help of the Manager on Duty (2 sets of eyes).

#12 rsnyder6

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 03:51 PM

We do $50 for volunteer fee. Have to work in the concession stand twice or be a manager or coach to get your fee back.
It's our best fundraiser!

The other side of town recently upped theirs to $100 because they had such little help. Doesn't matter, $50, $75, $100, the people who don't want to volunteer won't.

That's our experience.
The people that help will do it anyway, the others that don't want to will work on not helping.

With all the rain this year and people seeing all the hours spent getting the fields ready, I did see a small increase in people helping.

I do think our league needs to do a better job of communicating.
I heard people on two separate occasions this year talk about what the Directors get paid, not in a bad way, but apparently that misconception is out there.
And though we rent the fields from the town, we do most of the maintenance.
Apparently, some think I'm getting paid by the town to rake the fields.

#13 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 10:45 PM

There are signs on the backstops and concession stands at the local league that say something like the following (to the best of my memory):

Little League is a Volunteer Organization.
Board Members, Managers, Coaches, Team Parents, Concession Workers, Field Maintenace Workers, etc, do NOT get paid, they work for FREE.
The more Volunteers we have the less everyone needs to do.
So PLEASE, if you can Volunteer, even if only for a few hours, sign up at the Concession Stand and you will be contacted by a Board Member.

Yes, they do get some people signing up at the Concession Stand!
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#14 rsnyder6

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 09:39 PM

I'm putting one up.  (Though we pay our concession workers.)

One big goal I have had since being on the board is improving communications. And a big part of that is letting people know how leagues really work. And what they can do to help.

 





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