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Give retention some attention

Stories driving volunteer retention


  • Rohan Short, Head of Operations, South East Melbourne Phoenix
  • Mick Garnett, CEO, Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT
  • Mike Fox, Participation Advisor, ASC and 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Volunteer
  • DJ Cronin, Volunteer Experience Manager, Uniting Care
  • Amy Ridley, Goalball Paralympian and Goalball NSW Board member


  • Dr. Lindsey Reece, Australian Sports Commission
  • Dr. Sue Regan, Volunteering Australia


According to the Volunteering Australia 2022 research paper “The great (volunteer) resignation: An evidence-based strategy for retaining volunteers (Forner, Holtrop, Kragt & Johnson), in 2020 Australians who volunteered for an organisation or group was the lowest ever recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Globally, 44 per cent of the volunteer workforce stopped volunteering over a four-year period, from 2018 to 2021, a loss equivalent to 48 million full-time volunteers.

Key insights from this research identified four factors that prevent volunteer turnover:

  1. Provision of social support
  2. Improving the experience of autonomy
  3. Helping volunteers to feel productive, and
  4. Meaningful check ins that minimise burnout

We know that for sport to increase and retain volunteers it will be important to implement effective and evidence-based retention strategies as well as growing our understanding of turnover – why do volunteers leave or stay?

In this webinar our panellists shared insights into the impact around creating a sense of belonging within the volunteer workforce, the importance of demonstrating the impact of volunteers, the value proposition, and how volunteering changes lives, including your own! We also learned from the volunteer perspective and heard about impactful volunteer experiences and what keeps them coming back for more.

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