Chris Smith  › Charlotte Disc Golf Association   September 9, 2011 at 10:45pm

I can't believe that I am jumping in the middle of this but here goes...

As a guy that used to run a different league as a volunteer I do know that there are three main struggles in a volunteer organization. In no particular order they are communication, volunteerism, and delegation.

When you are running the show, you at least have an idea of everything that is going on. You tend to assume that other people have this same level of knowledge. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of effort to keep the members of the organization as informed as you are (in fact it could be a full time job). In reality, you can strive for everyone to know everything and you would be really well off to get half of the people to hear half of what you are trying to communicate. Without communication people will feel out of the loop and assume whatever they want to assume.

There are three types of people in every volunteer based organization. One type seeks out a volunteer opportunity. They ask what they can do to help out. This type is a rare breed and you will typically find that they are very busy people. A second type is willing to help with specific tasks if they are asked to do so. This is actually the majority of people in most volunteer based organizations. They are not seeking out things to do, but they are willing to do specific things in order to help out (you have to ask directly and not in a group). The last type just will not volunteer. They are interested in taking whatever is presented but have other things to do when it is time to give back. These people can be very frustrating but when you realize who they, are you just move on and try to find someone else to help out.

Delegation is amazingly important and often times overlooked. The current board consists mainly of the volunteer-without-being-asked type. If they assume that everyone else is the same way and no-one is volunteering without being prompted then the board members will find themselves doing everything and burning out (I am speaking from experience here). I know that there are times that just doing it yourself is easier. But asking others to help (specifically asking a single person if they can do a specific thing) really can work wonders. It will give the new volunteer a sense of ownership in the club (more than just paying their fee). It will show him or her that there is a need. And potentially it will shift that person a little closer to the type that will just offer their help next time they see that it needs to be done again.

I don't know the history of the CDGA. I am a first year member as well. I do know that there are a lot of plans and that they are trying out a lot of new things. My only recommendation is to keep an eye on each of the three points above as you implement new things. Tell people about the new thing, ask someone to help out with it, and try to delegate as much of the work as possible.

As a couple of examples, if you create a google group to share information with members, you may want to ask someone (non-board) if they can make an announcement at leagues (where you will find the most members) that it exists and possibly have something to hand out or collect email addresses to help people get connected to it. If you are planning to do some work on the course, ask specific people if they can do the work or if it needs to be repeated assign each card at leagues a week or month that they are responsible to get it done. And last but not least, make sure that you have discussed and agreed upon club news before you post it on a public forum.

Just my two cents,
Chris S.