ICOYC Insights

Overcoming Causes of Volunteer Shortage

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The Societe Nautique de Marseille is the premier yacht club in France, leading national yacht clubs in the IRC for five consecutive years. They are the home to 540 members with the largest concentration of classic boats in the French waters. Motor boat ownership is popular within the membership, with 214 crafts sharing the berths.

Of the 540 members, only 100 remain active volunteers within the board of directors, club and race committees and social event management. The club continues to investigate ways to overcome many of the common reasons that members avoid volunteering.

Causes of Volunteer Shortage

Good Reasons

  • Many members either do not live in the Marseilles area or have conflicting time commitments with work and families.
  • Members are uninformed about all how they can participate in volunteer activities.
  • Volunteers are not adequately rewarded or otherwise recognized for their efforts.

Bad Reasons

  • Certain members are only interested in the berth afforded by membership and are otherwise inactive within the club.
  • Members do not see any benefit in their participation because they are not active in racing.
  • Members feel that the amount of current volunteers is already sufficient.
  • Members feel that because they pay their dues as required, there is no need to go above and beyond.

Many members believe that volunteer opportunities are only available in racing contexts. In reality, volunteering can also be beneficial in fostering relationships with governments, other clubs, sponsors and universities. This can positively affect the highly prioritized youth membership category. It is essential to communicate the full range and implications of available volunteering opportunities to membership to maximize participation.

Goals in Managing Volunteers

  • Make people feel comfortable
  • Promote the feeling of being part of an adventure
  • Provide substantial recognition
  • Avoid volunteer frustration
  • Develop better communication