Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Look After Your Volunteers

Esthersenduranceexploits Blog - Full Story

by Esther Young
March 17 2016

Before I launch into this blog, let me just stress that these are purely my opinions and that I am not speaking on behalf of any society or organisation that I may be involved in. I think it may also be the first opinion piece I’ve written in this blog, but it has been playing on my mind for some time so here goes.

Horse sport in the UK relies mainly on goodwill and volunteers. This is particularly true in terms of the minority disciplines. The same will apply to many sports, but as an example, in my sport Endurance GB has one full time member of staff, it pays some individuals for their specialist skills on a piecemeal basis (eg vets and farriers), and absolutely everyone else is a volunteer. Everyone. From the entire Board of Directors to the ride organisers to the local group committees to the gate openers. From these volunteers, we run a full national calendar of over 70 competitive rides each of between one and five days in length, and I’d guess around twice as many local pleasure rides. Each ride day needs 10, 20, 30 volunteers. And that’s not including all the work that needs doing in between rides; maintaining websites, keeping an active social media presence, writing newsletters, advertising events, liaising with landowners, writing articles for local publications, organising social evenings and training days, etc etc etc. Add it up. That is a lot of people working their guts out behind the scenes for absolutely nothing so that you can have a good time...

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