The perils of volunteer run organisations

All swimming clubs rely on volunteers and the longer I am involved the more hair-raising incidences I come across that question my sanity.

Obviously for all of us the day-job comes first, we do need to earn a wage, to even be able to pay the swimming clubs for the membership.

Yet there are a lot of jobs in swimming clubs that are done purely by volunteers. There is someone who runs the website, someone who organises galas, the competition entries, the results processing, the officials and so on.

Quite often I see that swimming club info on the website is out of date and even clashes with e-mail information sent out. Even though many of us see websites as a blessing, if you can’t up-date yours it can be adding to the confusion.

What can one believe?

I think the most important thing to go by is the

  1. date of the event
  2. start time of the races
  3. start time of warm ups

As long as we know the date and that the event is happening we can always arrive on the day and get our swimmers into the pool. Our coaches will normally be there but in instances were they aren’t swimmers can still take part in the event and a parent will have to step in organising as good as possible.

We had been to plenty of events where no coach came, especially with our previous swimming club.

If you think about it, if somebody has the job of publishing on a club website and then things start happening, like computer breakdown, illness, just to name those, then obviously the websites cannot be up-dated.

keeping calm and getting our swimmers to the venue is obviously the most important issue, everything else will fall into place on the day.

The officials will always arrive early and have their equipment on them, so that the event can go ahead, as long as the organisers have booked the pool and have their technical equipment in place.

One cannot compare running swimming clubs with major blue chip companies. When a large website breaks down it makes front line news on all major publishers but swimming clubs are voluntarily run and can only do the best they can.

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