I have to admit that the feeling of gratitude I have for the people in my organization is sometimes overwhelming. The things we do for kids and their families in our community should be front page news as far as I'm concerned. Next to the latest political scandal or sensationalized sad story wouldn't play well on the air, but in terms of having a real effect on real people's lives, what I see is awe inspiring.
I'm talking about volunteers - those few people who actually put their money and time where their mouth and social media clicks are. I speak to so many - most of them start off thinking that volunteering to help a soccer Club means coaching or bringing snacks. In this article, I'm going to let you in behind the curtain and give you a look at the feast of opportunities that REALLY exist in your own back yard. No matter what your talent, there is a way that you can have a positive impact on your community.
Some Volunteerism Stats
Newstimes.com published in an article dated April 15th, 2007 titled What Would A Community Do Without Volunteers that referenced a survey done by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 61 million people volunteered between September 2005 and September 2006. At the time, that represented more than a quarter of the U.S. population.
The Corporation for National and Community Service estimates now that 77.4 Million Americans volunteered at least once in 2018. 6.9 Billion hours were served, and the economic value is estimated to be $167 Billion.
Utah has the highest volunteer rate in the US of 50.97%. Florida seems to have the lowest rate at 22.81%. That's nearly a 27% increase in volunteerism in the last 13 years. Not too shabby!
What are these volunteers doing? At the top of the list is fundraising at 35.97% followed by working with food, then clothing, then mentoring youth, tutoring, providing transportation, giving professional assistance, being an usher or a greeter, performing music, coaching, refereeing or supervising sports teams, doing general office services, then fire/EMS, public safety, counseling, and other.
If we take a deeper dive into who is volunteering and what kind of effect they're having on our economy, consider these stats:
Now that we have the general big picture of volunteerism in America, let's take a deeper dive into local volunteering and more specifically, volunteering within the youth sports, in our case, youth soccer system.
Volunteer Jobs that Support Youth Soccer
I am a volunteer coach. I've been a volunteer assistant coach. I started as a soccer Dad trying to figure out how to work a stop watch!
Today, I'm the President of a Soccer Club in Maryland. Along the way, I've held more jobs in the club than I ever thought were possible or necessary. Here is a partial list of the various jobs that I personally either have or have had since starting with the Club in 2010:
* These jobs typically require a specific license and/or equivalent credential
** These jobs typically require some prior experience and general knowledge of club structure, GAAP and/or US Youth Soccer rules, and operations
***These jobs typically require senior business leadership in Club or other arena - enough to read a financial statement, understand the business and politics, and help to guide operational and cultural growth and efficiencies.
Add to that list the fact that I produce this show (as I am doing here well after midnight) and multiply it by the fact that I've done every one of these jobs as a volunteer, that I run my own investment banking firm, volunteer as a Boy Scout leader, and help with economic development in a small Southern state community, and you should conclude that it's a wonder I'm happily married.
My larger point is that there is a lot more to do in and around a soccer club than coach. If you want to pitch in, there are literally dozens of non-soccer related jobs that you can step into. Contributing is really a matter of making your skills and desires known to someone in a position to find you a good match.
It Takes a Village
It's no exaggeration that it takes a village to raise kids. If you're a member of a Club in your area and you have skills that you'd like to contribute to the cause, then raise your hand and tell someone what you'd like to do. I'd be happy to take on people with washing machines as well as people who have experience in legal or financial disciplines - and everything in between.
A Club, especially a not-for-profit, volunteer run Club is a collection of people with a common goal who are wiling to work together to make good things happen in their community. If you're one of those people - or if your thinking about becoming one of those people, I guarantee the experience can be a lot more rewarding than sitting on the couch watching the news about some nonsense happening 1,000 miles from you.
- “Volunteering in America.” Corporation for National and Community Service, www.nationalservice.gov/serve/via/research.
- Cohen-Hecht, Patti. “What Would Community Do without Volunteers?” NewsTimes, News-Times, 15 Nov. 2009, www.newstimes.com/news/article/What-would-community-do-without-volunteers-235834.php.