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 Appreciation Plan

What is the Volunteer Appreciation Plan

The Plan

What is the Volunteer Appreciation Plan?

The Volunteer Appreciation Plan was developed by the New Zealand Rugby Union to provide a cooordinated approach toward appreciation and support of volunteer effort.

The volunteer base of New Zealand Rugby is the foundation on which the game is built. The unpaid work of all the people involved in community rugby allows the base to be wide, deep and strong. Without their continued involvement in the game, the future of the game of rugby in New Zealand will be under threat.

In order to maintain or increase the volunteer base it is important that all volunteers at all levels of the game are appreciated, thanked and supported in appropriate ways by the groups that benefit from the volunteers work and the organisations who run the game that is based on volunteer work.

The Plan

While the volunteers and their roles are many and varied, there are 3 common areas that can be focussed on to appreciate and support the volunteers.

These are:

1. Recognise

2. Resource

3. Respect

Points included in the plan are already be being implemented at the various levels by different organisations. However, all organisations should review what they are currently doing against the plan, and if appropriate, look to implement other strategies.

1. Recognise

  • Make a club policy that all teams have a way to thank team officials
    All clubs should have policy and procedures in place to ensure all teams thank their team officials.

  • "Volunteer of Year" award as part of club prize giving
    A "Volunteer of the Year" award should be included as part of the club's prize giving. This award can go to any administration or team official. The winner should be the clubs nomination to the Provincial Union's awards.

  • Thank you letter from Club Chairman/Captain to all volunteers and team officials in the club
    Letter from club Chairman/Captain to all volunteers and club administrators thanking them for their contribution.

  • All volunteers invited to a club thank you night. Possibly on a sponsors' thank you night
    Clubs should hold a "function" of some form to thank their volunteer base. This thank you could be incorporated into a sponsors thank you function.


2. Resource

  • Team officials included in any clothing sponsorship
    Where possible clubs should endeavour to obtain clothing sponsorship that also covers team officials and the volunteer base of the club.

  • Organisations have a stated policy as to reimbursement of personal expenses incurred by volunteers on behalf of the organisation
    Team officials and volunteers should not be "out of pocket" for items of spending incurred on club business. A policy, and procedures for expense reimbursement should be formulated.

  • Training and up-skilling promoted and teachers encouraged to in-service type courses
    Clubs should actively promote and provide opportunities for up-skilling and training for coaches. At the schools level this should include the provision of teacher relief days for teaching staff.

  • Training equipment readily provided
    Clubs should have, readily accessible and in good working condition, all the necessary equipment for training.

3. Respect

  • Ease the administration load for team officials
    Clubs should ensure that policies and procedures are in place that makes the administrative load on volunteers as easy as possible. 

  • Workload is divided into small lots. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and documented
    Clubs and Schools should have clearly defined roles and responsibilities for volunteers. These should be documented for the volunteers to know what is expected from them. The Best Practice Manual would assist in this. Small volumes of work for many is better than large volumes for a few.

  • "Volunteer succession" plan in place
    The club should develop a volunteer succession plan so that no volunteers feel that they are forced to keep the role for life. Such planning helps ensure new blood flows in.

  • All potential candidates are nominated for Provincial Union awards
    The club should ensure that all nominations, that a volunteer or team official might be eligible for, are made in a timely and well documented fashion.

  • Formal support plan is in place
    Volunteers need to know who to turn to for help and support. This should be formalised by clubs and schools.