SportsEvents Magazine

NOV 2016

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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www.sportseventsmagazine.com November 2016 15 GAME Plan t about it and just want to be a part of it and make it a full experience," Riley said. That builds the volunteer base, as does giving volunteers ownership such as being a team captain or leading a certain aspect of the effort. And that's important for Convention & Visitors Bureaus and Sports Commissions in recruiting sporting events. "The biggest thing a lot of groups look to is what kind of support can we get from the local community," Jewell said. "As these events grow, that puts a little more onus on the sports commission. It's good for the rest of the community to be knowledgeable and aware, and be a part of it." Riley said the sports commission understands that if it can help an event build its volunteer base, that event can grow. Where To Find Volunteers So, where do you find these volunteers? "It's going to be a little bit different depending on where you are," Jewell said. The key, he said, is reaching out to different community organizations. "You really look for those community groups that already do volunteering: churches, Scout groups, high schools," Jewell said. "You reach out to them. They are already doing some kind of volunteer work and a lot of them are sports fans and would like to get involved." When recruiting volunteers, Jewell said it's important "to not leave any stone unturned. You never know where you're going find someone who is really passionate about a sport." Gendler said on the Alabama coast, they get out in the community and explain the needs. "If you're offering an incentive plan, let organizations know, and get it out to the local clubs and schools," she said. "Make it easy for them to volunteer." Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism designates one person on its staff as the volunteer coordinator and shows simple gestures of appreciation such as giving volunteers a T-shirt or lunch and thanking them "immensely." "Let them know how much they are appreciated," Gendler said. When you come across fans or spectators at events, "don't be afraid to ask them if they'd like to go on a volunteer list for you," Jewell said. Volunteers will travel for events like those track and field events held in Track Town USA. At the Olympic trials, for example, volunteers came from all over the world. They use their vacation time to volunteer. "That's just how valuable it is to them," Riley said. Volunteer Incentive Programs The Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission is creating a fully integrated volunteer base. It would include a show- your-credentials program as well as give volunteers discounts from CVB members, Riley said. "If you volunteer so many times throughout the year, your name is put into a drawing for a grand prize. We're really trying to make our volunteer database its own community so that people will want to volunteer among sporting events," Riley said. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Tourism created a Volunteer Incentive Program in which volunteers can raise money for civic groups, Gendler said. When an organization volunteers for its events, the Commission pays the organization $40 per volunteer for each shift worked. "Helping them raise funds helps everyone involved," Gendler said. Individuals who volunteer are entered into drawings for gift cards to local restaurants and attractions, concert tickets and other fun gifts. Keep Volunteers Coming Back Most importantly, make sure that events are worth volunteers' time, that they stay busy during events. "If they don't see a purpose for them being there, they won't come back," Jewell said. "You can't have an event without your volunteers. They are essentially the lifeblood of what you do," Jewell said. "It doesn't cost you to bring them in but you want to make sure you are taking care of your volunteers, that they are having fun, feeling important … you want to make sure that you are keeping those relationships and it is a positive relationship." And remember that the relationship with a volunteer doesn't end when the event is over, Riley said. Send them a survey to get feedback and "definitely a thank you." n BY THE NUMBERS... Track Town USA Volunteers U.S. Indoor Track & Field Championships: Volunteers: 545 plus about 100 officials Total volunteer hours: 11,154 plus officials IAAF World Indoor Championships: Volunteers: 1,187 plus about 120 officials Total volunteer hours: 18,711 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships: Volunteers: 411 plus about 150 officials Total volunteer hours: 7,260 U.S. Olympic Trials – Track & Field: Volunteers: 1,780 plus about 150 officials Total volunteer hours: 40,974 Source: Track Town USA Eugene Cascades & Coast Sports Commission A videographer films the Big O Roller Derby at the Lane Events Center in Eugene, OR.

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