Professional management ensures the survival of associations

The worm seems to be stuck in german club life, as the declining willingness to volunteer remains the main concern for many clubs and associations. The CSU in herzogenaurach is also interested in recruiting volunteers, especially for responsible positions. "The professionalization of voluntary work in administrative tasks could be a chance to win over volunteers for the board in the long term", kurt zollhofer and bernhard schwab explained and invited to the association’s meeting. Thomas schneider from the city of nurnberg’s sports department and robert seel, president of DJK-BFC nurnberg, came to herzogenaurach to discuss the issue.

The 20 or so club representatives described their problems, which ranged from the unwillingness of members to volunteer to financial problems. Clubs were increasingly seen as service providers: people bring their children, pick them up again, but do not have time to participate in the club. Especially for associations with real estate or sports facilities, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find members for work services. "With increasing bureaucracy and the responsibility that comes with it, volunteerism is dying", explained erwin piniek from ASV niederndorf.

"The problems are not just limited to herzogenaurach. We have them in nurnberg, too, as well as in many other communities.", explained thomas schneider, who was impressed by the city of herzogenaurach’s sporting appeal.In recent years, nurnberg clubs have experienced increasing problem pressure, and the city of nurnberg’s sports service is trying to counteract this. "Declining membership numbers, additional costs for maintaining sports facilities and the minimum wage for training supervisors: all these factors are causing problems for sports clubs, for example," explains gerti lang, schneider outlines the problem.

This increases the fixed costs, especially for the sports clubs, and the club can no longer react flexibly. If the number of members then also suddenly drops, it quickly becomes uneconomical. But the solution does not have to be a merger or an amalgamation.

Therefore, the association’s demand should be used to improve the associations in their structural orientation and in their qualitative work and to be able to carry out crisis intervention. Many club chairmen are overburdened, especially when sports stadiums are attached, grant applications have to be made and tax declarations have to be submitted. The goal must be to relieve the club chairmen so that they can concentrate on running the club. To manage an association, an association management must be created. In nurnberg, the number of club managers has tripled in the last three years.

The DJK professional firefighters franken concordia e.V. – a broad sports club with twelve sports departments – has joined forces with the neighboring tinker and pony farm tiererlebnisfarm e.V. – a riding club with 318 members – on the way to a merger an administrative community founded.

"Administrative community is the construct that robert seel came up with. The goal: the clubs are managed together, have a common office where membership applications are processed or claim funds are requested. The day-to-day business of the association will be outsourced and the association’s management will be able to devote itself to its core tasks again.

Robert seel explained how this works in nurnberg. Full-time employees take care of the administration of the association. In nurnberg, there are five full-time positions and four employees on a 450-euro basis, whereby a full-time position does not necessarily mean a 40-hour week. "A club with around 1,000 members requires about ten hours of administrative work per week, which in nurnberg is no longer performed by the club, but by the administrative community."

Administrative communities between associations in the immediate vicinity are particularly recommended. These should be healthy associations that do not become active only when they have major problems, explained seel.

In the case of an administrative association, it is possible for members of associations to also use the services of another association. "Positive member developments in the sports can be seen as a result of the joint coarser range of sports.", declared soul. Also the financing of the administrative forces could be secured without problems: the clubs pay between 70 cents and one euro, depending on the club size, to the administrative community and are subsidized by the sports demand.

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