Visit How-to – the one-stop resource for grassroots sports clubs and groups.

Share our How-to section in Volunteers’ Week

We’ve launched a free online resource to help grow sports clubs and groups. Check out our How-to for guides, top tips and expert advice.

We hope you’re all having a fantastic Volunteers’ Week↑ – the annual campaign that encourages all of us working with volunteers to take time out to thank them and recognise the amazing contribution they make.

Volunteers’ Week might turn 31 this year but doing recognition well is a timeless lesson. It’s one of the main learning points we took from London 2012; again and again Games Makers told us that a simple thank you is by far the best reward they could receive.

It’s something we’ve never forgotten, and that’s why giving volunteers a #BigThankYou is now a central part of our campaign (and please look out for an even bigger #BigThankYou on the BBC this December).

As well as letting them know we appreciate them, recognition is a great way to tell their story and inspire others to think about volunteering. Unsurprisingly it’s a role many former Games Makers, now Local Leaders with Join In, love doing with sports clubs right across the UK.

By volunteers, for volunteers

Just in time for Volunteers’ Week we’ve launched How-to – our simple, free, online resource to help grow grassroots sports clubs and groups across the country. Uniquely, How-to is built on the experience of volunteers themselves – their work, in their own words, for the benefit of other volunteers.

As our CEO Rebecca Birkbeck explains, “We work with thousands of grassroots sports groups every day, but it’s the volunteers within the clubs who are donating their time and building the clubs from within. We wanted to showcase these remarkable volunteers and use their success stories to inspire others looking for first hand advice or ideas.” 

Celebrating what volunteers know

There is a great number of wonderful things that wouldn’t happen without volunteers, many of which will be celebrated this week↑, but it’s fair to say that without them community sport wouldn’t even get out of the starting blocks.

According to 2013 figures ↑ from the Sport and Recreation Alliance, the average sports club has only one or two members of staff but 24 volunteers. In sport, volunteers don’t just make up the numbers, they are the numbers.

And that’s why we madeHow-to all about them and their experience. We’re not just celebrating their contribution, but also their expertise. So, what wisdom have these clubs passed on?


Braintree BMX is thriving, having built a culture of volunteering from within their membership – especially the younger ones. As their Volunteer Fundraiser Carol Redgewell explains, “Once it’s embedded in our younger members that volunteering is the natural thing to do, that is very hard to undo. Often these young people volunteer as a habit for life.”

And over in Hampshire, Chair of youth football club Jubilee 77 Dean Scopes explains how even a little volunteering is integral to their fundraising, “Our best opportunity to fundraise comes from our summer tournaments… The first thing to do is to make sure we have the full support of the club… Volunteers are key to making the event work, so we talk to all our club members and parents to sound them out, simply asking them: ‘if we run it, would you be willing to help?’ ”

And finally, reflecting on a career of volunteering at Bolton Rugby Club, Peter Gore reveals his secret weapon – teamwork: “The first thing I’d say is that I didn’t do it on my own. Having a committed, supportive team is so important and we prioritise our volunteers at Bolton. That’s the first question to ask – not ‘do we have the members?’ but ‘do we have the helpers?’ You can’t usually get more of one without more of the other.”

– Share your volunteering experiences on Twitter this week with #volunteersweek

Explore How-to to find tools and tips to grow your club

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