ICOYC Insights

Identifying and Inspiring Members to Volunteer

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The success of yacht club programs is largely dependent on the quality and quantity of the volunteers contributing to their planning, development and execution. Representatives from ICOYC clubs shared strategies and anecdotes centered on inspiring and identifying club members who can provide value in a volunteer capacity.

Recognizing Volunteers

Tinsley Island Development

  • The St. Francis Yacht Club gathers 40-50 volunteers as a work crew on Tinsley Island. They offering them free dockage, food and beverage for their efforts.
  • Volunteers are trained to handle power tools and operate heavy machinery.
  • At the end-of-year Member Meeting, awards are presented to recognize volunteers for their hard work.
  • Individual award winners are honored on a permanent plaque located in the club.

2011 ISF World Championships

  • The Royal Perth Yacht Club features a framed honor roll in the club’s entryway to observe members who helped during the series.
  • The RPYC also rewards volunteers in an annual ritual.

Improving Race Officiating

  • The Eastern Yacht Club uses innovative software to track and place racing boats during competitions. This offers athletes instant updates on the race’s progress and results.
  • The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron engaged volunteers in practicing and preparing for their role in the 2000 Olympics. The two-year preparation process increased the quality of their work and created an enduring bond among participants.

Attracting Talent

Successful execution relies on finding experienced and skilled volunteers. Members discussed effective techniques for identifying specialized skills among their membership and promoting an interest in volunteering.

Skills Inventories and Member Directories

  • A club representative discussed his organization’s digital skills inventory, a catalog of experienced individuals within their ranks, on their website. Members are encouraged to input their unique skills set into the database for reference when a project may benefit from their particular knowledge.
  • The New York Yacht Club uses a questionnaire as a landing page for members logging onto the club website to easily engage members in creating an inventory.
  • A key consideration for clubs using directories is confidentiality. It must be critically important to maintain member privacy and meet misuse with disciplinary action.

Outside Volunteers

A member of the Royal Danish Yacht Club noted that, in Copenhagen, an external volunteer network called CPH provides people to assist in sailing events, among other community activities. Interestingly, this has allowed the club to engage new individuals who are not normally active in the sailing world and build their membership.