We recently calculated that a major 2-day meet requires 1,000 hours of volunteer time to run. That’s an average of 2.5 hours for every single swimmer entered. We owe it to ourselves as organisers and other volunteers to make things as easy and time efficient as possible.
One particular challenge is rostering officials and other volunteers. Our heroic volunteer coordinator used to act as a major email hub to send invitations and convert replies into a schedule. When he retired recently we took the opportunity to investigate less labour intensive and single-person-reliant solutions.
Having experienced Sign Up Genius at our Little Athletics club, we decided to trial in for swimming. Whilst not being perfect, it has received extremely favourable reviews from both volunteers and organisers, so we are extending our trial.
What is Sign Up Genius?
Sign Up Genius is an online rostering solution designed for organising groups of people, including volunteers in clubs. It’s basic free version has proven to be more than adequate for our needs.
Think of an old fashioned noticeboard with a paper sheet containing a list of duties, inviting people to write in their name. It’s just like that except online on a web page. Check out our rosters here.
- Anyone can access it from a phone / computer or tablet
- Rostered volunteers can receive reminders and email broadcasts about the event
- Always up to date
- Automatic, so not reliant on someone to edit and publish the roster
- Easy to hand over to others
- A little impersonal
- Some of our older volunteers who are not technology literate won’t use it
- More difficult to configure than a word processed roster sheet
- Filtering out people who volunteer for positions that they are keen on but less suitable for than others is difficult to do discretely
Top tips learned so far
- Don’t schedule by time
- For timekeeping, schedule the duty for the entire day to a club, don’t timeslice that duty within a day. Let clubs do their own time sliced rostering according to their local club practices.
- Publish a detailed description of the duty on your website so that new people interested in volunteering know exactly what they are signing up for before they do.
- Key people and positions will still need direct contact to encourage their involvement