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In discussing the process of club development and the role of volunteers, defining yacht club characteristics is important:
- Voluntary individual membership.
- Orientation towards the interests of members.
- Democratic decision-making structure.
- Volunteer work is the most important resource.
- Independent of public authorities.
- Non-profit orientation.
How and Why Clubs Develop
The need for development is driven by societal factors:
- A “proactive” attitude toward development among organizations, states and municipalities.
- Increased expectations from the public sector:
- “Co-production”: Community organizations’ desire to collaborate with clubs.
- Sports clubs are subsidized in Denmark.
- Increased competition from commercial sports.
Development occurs through qualification or through changes in the framework and context of society:
- Courses and education
- Guidance and process support
- Framework and context
- Targeted support for specific activities
- Economic incentives
Development Through Volunteers
Sport clubs rely heavily on volunteer labor in their operations. The level of volunteering is largely determined by the following:
- The tradition and culture of volunteering
- Ideals in certain countries and cultures.
- Ideals in certain sports.
- Characteristics of the specific sport or sports club
- Degree of “collectivity” in the sport
- Degree of “belonging” to the club
- Dependence on volunteer labor
- How “open” or “closed” the activity is defined (level of member inclusion)
- The management of the club and recruitment policy
- Club size
- “Free rider” principle: In small clubs, it is harder to go unnoticed and avoid volunteering.
- Sailing clubs use few volunteers and the number of volunteers is stable.
- The nature of volunteering depends on the culture of volunteering and the way the club is organized.
- Few volunteers in sport participate in courses and educational programs.
- Only one in five volunteers think that courses and educational programs are important for volunteering.
- Courses or education programs have little impact on the volunteers’ desire to continue. Non-intentional learning leads to greater retention.
- The recruitment of persons with relevant backgrounds (job experience, education, etc.) is more important than courses.
What is Conducive to Growing a Volunteer Base?
- People are asked and encouraged to volunteer
- Natural inflow of young members who “are socialized to volunteerism”
- Demands are made for members and parents to assist
- Volunteer work is considered meaningful
- Individuals have freedom in how they volunteer
- Being open to new ideas and initiatives
- Experience of success and “being in a great association”
- Praise and recognition
- Good fellowship among volunteers
- Passionate and visionary leader
- The club is small or divided into small, autonomous units
- The club strives for a common good
- Volunteer management
Barriers to Volunteering
- The bad excuses
- “Not like the old days!”
- “Modern people are self-centered”
- Formal, bureaucratic rules and obstacles
- Bad facilities for activities
- Conflicts in the club
- Lack of support
- Lack of trust that “new” volunteers can do it as well as “old” volunteers
- Volunteering steals time from other areas of the club
- Members from cultures without the same tradition of volunteering