How groups can support volunteers

Volunteers are essential for cycle groups to function effectively. Photo by Sam Jones
Group of cyclists
Group of cyclists

How groups can support volunteers

Whether volunteering on the committee, or perhaps as a ride leader, campaigner, event organiser or helper, volunteers are vital and should feel supported in their roles. We have some advice on how your cycle group can support those wonderful individuals who give their time, energy and skills freely to enable thousands of people to enjoy the fantastic benefits of cycling.

It is good practice for groups to:

  • give volunteers a named volunteer co-ordinator;
  • know how to attract new volunteers;
  • welcome them into their roles;
  • provide opportunities for regular catch-ups; and
  • thank them for their volunteering.

The following tips will help you get these things right.

Volunteer co-ordinator

A volunteer co-ordinator acts as a point of contact for other volunteers. For example, this could be the person who recruits and co-ordinates ride leaders, or an event organiser looking after event helpers or marshals. Although volunteering often can be a group effort, each volunteer will benefit from having a named contact for their role.  

Attracting new volunteers

By recruiting new volunteers, you can introduce new energy into your cycle group. Before you start recruiting, you need to be clear on what their roles will be and how you will support them. We have a selection of Role Description Templates for ride leaders, committee members, publicity officers and so on which you can easily adapt to your group's needs.

Volunteer Welcome booklet

It is important for volunteers to feel welcome and understand why and who they are volunteering for. Anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering for your group can benefit from Cycling UK's Volunteer Welcome booklet. Here, you can find information about the charity and our groups, and how important volunteers are for cycling. The booklet includes a set of promises Cycling UK, our groups and volunteers are encouraged to honour to make their volunteering experience successful. Please find the booklet at the bottom of this page.

Induction and regular catch-ups 

The induction is the first impression the volunteer will get of your cycle group. As a volunteer co-ordinator, it is important to make the induction valuable, fun and organised. As well as a chance for the volunteer to learn about your group, this is also the opportunity for you to find out more about them, as well as their needs, skills and what motivates them. If you get the induction right, volunteers will feel confident they have made the right choice and will ease into your group and their new role. Regular catch-ups can then be fitted around the role to encourage feedback on how they are getting on. 

Going the Extra Mile - saying thank you to volunteers 

When volunteers feel their time and skills are appreciated, they will feel more committed and enjoy the experience more. Our Reward and Recognition programme suggests ways of saying 'thank you' to volunteers, including thank you letters and an editable certificate (downloadable below), Certificate of Appreciation, digital lifetime achievement medals and certificates, plus a list of easy and informal ideas for rewards.

You can also nominate volunteers for our annual Going the Extra Mile: Volunteer Awards - successful nominees will be invited to a special ceremony, where we will celebrate their amazing contributions.