One of the things many horse organizations seem to struggle with is recruiting volunteers to work at events. Whether those events are large multi-day horse trials or small unrecognized shows, groups always need someone to jump judge, reset rails, or run dressage tests from the scribe to the scorer.
In a perfect world, people would volunteer their time because they love the sport and are invested in its continued availability in their area. In real life, people don’t volunteer for a variety of reasons- they don’t feel like they know enough to be helpful, they don’t have time to stay after they ride, they dislike other members of the group- the list is endless.
Since joining the board of Green Country Dressage, I’ve been trying to come up with ideas to encourage more people to volunteer. I’d love to hear your feedback, fellow equestrians. Here are a few salient points:
- GCD requires members to accumulate 6 volunteer hours to be eligible for year end awards
- Once upon a time, a Volunteer of the Year Award was given. This was before my time, but it’s my impression that the award was quietly discontinued because people who felt they deserved it were upset when they didn’t receive it.
- Small volunteer gifts were once given out at the year end awards party to everyone who had recorded any volunteer hours throughout the year; I think this was discontinued because of the cost.
- I’m interested in developing a program that allows volunteers to earn show entries or discounts on clinics. Do any of you have experience in participating (or organizing) this type of program? How many hours do you contribute, and what do they earn you? How do you record your hours (e.g. sign-in sheet, an online thing)?
- What kind of reward do you wish existed? What motivates you to help out at shows or events?
Tell me everything!