Engaging with club parents and guardians

When looking at how you engage with your club player's parents, you need to consider the following questions: 

How do you currently engage with your club player's parents?
 
What is a parents first experience of the club? Consider the scenario where a parent brings their child to the first training session – what would their experience be, what information and contact do they get from the club?
 
How do you approach parents to support your club in a volunteer role or with specific events?
 
How many of you mention volunteer opportunities either as an add on to a parent meeting, devote a few lines to it in a welcome letter or expect parents to offer their support to a club their child is part of?
 
Here are some ideas that will help your club engage with your player's parents to support your club's operation and activities

Parent meeting

  • Consider tying the parents meeting into the players’ taster day / recruitment day / registration evening. Parents go where their children go, so try and take advantage of any opportunity when parents are in attendance to speak to them

  • For the first session of your youngest age group team (i.e. U7s), organise a welcome session / meeting for your new player's parents 

  • Make attendance at this type of event a mandatory aspect of their child joining your club BUT make it a positive experience by offering some refreshments such as teas, coffees and biscuits or even tie it in to a social event. It will be worth it if you get a couple of parents to volunteer

  • Use the meeting as an opportunity to get a parent survey completed (see below) 

 During this meeting provide information on:

  • Your clubs vision what do you want your club to represent? where do you want to go and what do you want to achieve?

  • Volunteer support required by the club what roles are undertaken, how many people are involved in running the club, what skillsets and commitment is required and what support can volunteers receive?   

  • Details costs for the season ahead BUT use it as a positive to place a value on the experiences their child are receiving from being part of your club. Detail the cost per contact or per week so they understand and appreciate what they are getting for their money. i.e. 2 contacts per week (1 training and 1 fixture) works out at £1 per week based on our monthly/annual subs. That is fantastic value so don’t be afraid to shout about it!

  • Social events and key dates for the diary get them promoted early based around established dates (Halloween, Christmas, Valentines Day etc. as they are dates that are easier to remember and thus triggering people’s memory). Encourage parents to promote amongst their family and friends to raise the engagement within your community.

  • Detail expectations of players, coaches, parents and the club examples available here

Parent information questionnaire

  • Use a simple online platform such as Google Forms https://www.google.com/forms/about/ - there is a template contact information survey you can use as a basis 

  • This type of questionnaire can be completed via smart phone, tablet, iPhone, iPad or laptop. I would encourage the questionnaire to be completed on one of these platforms during the meeting so you know it has been completed and have a captive audience

  • If you have access to a tablet, this can be passed around the parents while in the meeting so save time.

  • These platforms will also easily collate the results from the survey in a managable format for you to review and identify key aspects  

Key information to capture via the parent questionnaire: 

  • Name

  • Email address (work and personal)

  • Address and post code

  • Contact mobile phone number

  • Occupation

  • Employer

  • Tick box if they would be interested in volunteering within your club

  • Tick box to determine whether this would be fixed or flexible role  

  • Don’t be afraid to ask parents questions such as why they chose this club? What would they like to

    see from the club? What type of events would they support?

Engaging with club parents to recruit volunteers

Information relating to a parent’s / guardian’s occupation and/or employer could help identify possible volunteers with skillsets you are in need of as a club or skillsets that you haven’t considered yet that could benefit your club.

Parents/Guardians may not be willing to commit a regular traditional volunteering role as a coach but would be willing to commit time to a specific project that has a start and end date that is related to their occupation or employer.

For example, how many parents/guardians within your club are graphic or web designers? I bet there’s at least 1! Could they help re-design your website or provide engaging templates for your paper/digital flyers and posters? Without the information you will never know!

Below are some example club roles that could be filled by parents - you could add these to your survey so parents could determine which role or area of the club they would be interested in supporting 

ON PITCH

OFF PITCH

Coach

Chairperson

Assistant Coach

Secretary

Coaching Coordinator

Treasurer

Team helper

Safeguarding Officer

Refereeing

Volunteer Coordinator

Groundsperson

Events Officer

 

Communications Officer

 

Sponsorship Officer

 

Marketing

Considerations for volunteer roles within your club 

  • Can these roles be shared with other parents / guardians

  • Detail the expectations and commitments attached to each role

  • Identify which roles require a commitment to be visible at training sessions

  • if it’s an off pitch role can they undertake the majority of the role in their own time? These type of roles may appeal more to due to their flexibility

  • Can you put a maximum number of hours per week attached to these roles so people are clear on how much they are expected to commit

  • Are any of these roles more time consuming at certain periods of the season i.e. Sponsorship Officer is likely to be more time consuming during the off-season in recruiting sponsors ready for the start of the new season

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