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Volunteers in Sport

Prepared by: Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport
Evaluated by: Brendan Lynch, Sport Consultant (April 2021)
Reviewed by: Australasian Sport Information Network
Last updated: 22 November 2021
Content disclaimer: See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer

An estimated 3.1 million Australians participate in non-playing roles in the sport and active recreation sector each year. Over 90% of these participants (2.9 million) are volunteers.

Volunteers contribute to the social and economic value of sport, especially at the community level. Many sports and sporting organisations would not be able to run without volunteers who fill many critical roles, including coach, official, manager, administrator, board and committee member.

Volunteers also support major events, such as the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Key messages

Volunteer participation

2.9 million Australians donate their time and energy to community sport and recreation clubs. The estimated value of labour input by sport sector volunteers in Australia is $4 billion per year.

Personal benefits

Volunteering has been linked to positive mental, social and physical benefits. Older volunteers in particular may experience less depression and greater life satisfaction than non-volunteers.

Workforce development

Providing ongoing education and training opportunities, positive recognition and other forms of support for volunteers, has been shown to dramatically improve volunteer recruitment and retention rates and make Australian sport more sustainable.

Topic focus

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