Elizabeth here, reporting on an important topic: volunteerism.
This past weekend, I volunteered at a Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) U.S. Regional tournament, in Newark, New Jersey. Each regional tournament determines the softball, junior baseball and senior baseball winner that will represent their region in the RBI World Series, scheduled for July 31st – August 12th in Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Minnesota.
One of RBI’s missions is to increase participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth. The New York RBI team needed volunteers to assist with the weekend-long baseball and softball tournaments happening in metro New York. A blast email was sent out to MLB interns, explaining the tournament, specific needs and asking to fill these roles. Four MLB interns were present on Sunday. I was tasked with keeping score, stocking the dugouts with supplies, and providing directions or instructions for participants. There were countless other volunteers who assisted in their roles as athletic trainers, coaches, tournament organizers and concession stand workers.
Many BTF grant recipients have success through the use of hard working volunteers. Tasks include: field maintenance, game organization, travel arrangements and the many other details that fall upon a sports league. Recruiting and retaining volunteers is difficult, yet valuable. As stated by Katie Ringel, the Coordinator for RBI, “recruiting and maintaining a reliable volunteer corps is crucial to the success of almost any non-profit organization. Utilizing volunteers not only increases the community impact of the organization; it also allows more of the financial resources to be used for the overall mission of the organization.”
Below are a few tips, with some help from The Girl Scouts of America:
- Be specific. Tell people what you want them to do before you recruit them.
- Be honest. Confirm the time and effort the role will entail.
- Define the situation. Provide information regarding any training, supervision and support.
- Identify the positives.
- Just ask – send out a blast email, reach out to your local college or high school, ask your neighbors, post fliers or call those in your address book.
From my own experience, the act of volunteering has always been enlightening. I have gained access to new organizations, met new friends and learned countless lessons. Ms. Ringel continues, “If you are able to demonstrate how volunteers will clearly and directly contribute to the success of the organization, they are far more likely to feel a connection that will give them reason to come back.”
If you’re in need of volunteers, remember the tips above and if you want to volunteer, consider reaching out to a local youth baseball or softball team or organization!