The broad topic for today’s DABAD is improving dog agility organizations.
I have been thinking about this off and on since it was originally posted. Should I focus on AAC? CPE? Things that would make the sport better for the dog? the handler? As usual, so many ideas that I fully expect other people will nail much more expressively than I could ever hope to.
Every organization I have played with is made better by the use of the words Thank You.
Ever thanked a trial host? I hope so. Has a trial host ever thanked you individually? I hope so. You know if you have ever read this blog I thank my dogs often and in many ways (Sally loves her chicken hearts!).
Thank you is more than the words. You have all heard the saying actions speak louder than words?
Here are some easy ways to offer thanks (human/human)
- offer incentives (for volunteers or regular attendees a little break on a later trial is always appreciated by me!)
- have raffle draws for volunteers
- feed people – anything – it doesn’t have to be fancy – cookies/ a veggie tray can be much appreciated)
- say the words thank you! (some hosts are so good at this – others are not)
- for big events like regionals or nationals contact your last set of volunteers/entries individually and ask them to help/particpate again, don’t presume that people will see the sign up and think “oh that was so fun last year I have to go again”. People like to feel valued. A short note to them saying ” last year was amazing can we sign you up this year?” will likely get better results. I am not volunteering at a big local event, nor am I running in it partly because of finances, partly because no one asked me to help out
- be personal – smile, ask after people or dogs, listen – yes you are busy but if you ask either preface your ask with “I’m so sorry I’m really busy right now but I can’t wait to hear how (whatever) is” giving you a valid reason to listen for a minute then excuse yourself or ask when you have time to truly listen
- the hosts are the reason we can play – say thank you! I am actually appalled at the number of people who aggressively assert their priority over everything else when wanting HELP from a host. We had a general unstated rule in my house, if you were dying you waited your turn to ask for help (if the blood was making a mess you might be able to interrupt). Wish more agility people got that.
- Drop a little note in the box set up for next trial entries that says thanks
- email the host or judge or both letting them know you appreciated their work
- use social media to express your gratitude – on the cpe list the JUDGES often thank the participants and host – lovely but a little backwards if you ask me!
The benefits of sincere thank yous are enormous. Happier hosts will hold more trials if they can and listen if you have constructive ideas to improve trials. Happier participants will come t more trials if they can and feel like they are a part of things. They will volunteer more and give more. Happier dogs are why I play this game!