A variety of Australian national and state based organisations have developed resources to support the development of volunteers and volunteer strategies relevant to sporting organisations. A number of national sporting organisations (NSOs) have also developed volunteer management strategies, plans policies, processes and resources aimed at attracting, retaining and managing volunteers.
Australian Sports Commission (ASC)
The Australian Sports Commission [incorporating Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport] provides guidance to sporting organisations to help them develop strategies to recruit, retain and manage volunteers, with a focus on coaches, officials and administrators. Previous research has also highlighted the economic contribution of volunteers to the sport sector.
In 2021 Sport Australia worked with partners from across the sport and volunteering sectors and drew upon the ‘Future of Sport Volunteering’ insights report to develop a vision for sport volunteering. The vision is for :
“People from all walks of life see and realise opportunities to contribute to individual, club and community goals in a way that suits them”
- Vision for the future of sport volunteering, Sport Australia, (accessed 6 August 2021). Realising the vision requires a change in how we think about the volunteer experience. Five elements have been identified that should underpin all volunteer experiences and are agnostic to the sport, club, role or individual. The five elements are: Make it feel like I belong; Make it easy to get involved; Tailor roles to my needs; Support me; Create value for me, the club, and the community.
- Sport Volunteering National Plan, Sport Australia, (2021). The National Sport Volunteering Plan outlines Sport Australia’s role in leading and supporting sport to navigate the evolving volunteer landscape. The impact of the national plan will be assessed annually over an initial four-year period.
- The future of sport volunteering: insights report, Sport Australia, (16 April 2021). While the sport sector has suffered from fragmentation and a lack of clear roles and responsibilities, there is a strong recognition across the sector that things must change. COVID-19 has shaken the sector with immediate concerns about the return of volunteers to sport. For many, this is the burning platform for change that is needed. To consider this position, Sport Australia brought together diverse stakeholders from across the sport and volunteering sectors. Together they are the beginning of a coalition of support that will enable change to happen. This is a team effort. While this report has been commissioned by Sport Australia, it is designed for everyone, whether you are a National or State Sporting Organisation, community sport club or a volunteer seeking to make change.
- Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia team up to bring Aussies back to sport, Sport Australia media release, (16 November 2020). Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia have joined forces to help tackle one of the most pressing challenges facing the sports industry during the pandemic - the future of its volunteers.
- Impact of COVID-19 on Volunteering in Sport, Sport Australia, YouTube, (20 November 2020). Volunteers play a critical role in sport, but COVID-19 has led to a 71 per cent reduction in volunteer numbers according to AusPlay research. Sport Australia and Volunteers Australia will work together to tackle the issue.
- Market Segmentation Study for Volunteers, Australian Sports Commission (2014). This research identified segments of the Australian community with the greatest potential for recruitment as sports volunteers and assesses the best practices and strategies for recruiting and retaining current volunteers. Attitudinal segmentation is a useful means of grouping people within the broader population into groups or segments with similar dispositions towards volunteering. Segmentation across the Australian population, aged 14-75 years, resulted in 10 identified types of people, based on characteristics related to their attitudes to volunteering and current volunteering behaviour. The study also provides key insights for the sport sector to better understand their volunteer workforce and how they might need to manage them into the future.
- The economic contribution of sport to Australia, Frontier Economics report to the Australian Sports Commission (2010). There are three main ways in which sport delivers economic benefits to society: (1) promoting physical activity for public health benefit delivers an estimated saving of $12 billion in health care costs; (2) labour input of volunteers is valued at around $4 billion; and (3) the international success of elite Australian sportspeople is one of the most significant, measurable positive impacts on social well-being; with a value that is likely to exceed the current annual budget for elite sports.
- The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement, Volunteering Australia, (May 2015). The new Standards incorporate significant changes to the original standards in order to reflect best practice in volunteer management in Australia’s current work environment. The Standards provide a sound framework for supporting the volunteer sector in Australia. The Standards adaptable to different organisation types and different forms of volunteering which reflect the diversity of this growing sector.
- State of Volunteering in Australia report, Volunteering Australia/PWC, (April 2016). Volunteering Australia and PwC conducted a survey to analyse the current state of volunteering in Australia, and to identify opportunities to maximise the potential of the volunteer workforce.
- Re-engaging Volunteers and COVID-19, Volunteering Australia, (February 2021). New data shows volunteering is not ‘snapping back,’ even as COVID restrictions lift, with nearly three quarters (72%) of survey respondents saying their volunteer programs were not fully operational. During the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020, two out of three volunteers (65.9%) stopped volunteering, equating to an estimated loss of 12.2 million hours per week. Volunteering Australia has set out proposals for how the Australian Government can invest in a Reinvigorating Volunteering Action Plan and a whole of Government National Volunteering Strategy.
- AFL Community website, (accessed 7 April 2021). Provides information for club administrators to help them recruit and recognise volunteers.
- AFL Club Management Program: Volunteer Management for Football Clubs, (2004). This education module provides useful information so that a football club can: (1) understand the rights and responsibilities of volunteers; (2) encourage clubs to appoint a volunteer coordinator; (3) outline the importance of job descriptions; (4) identify ways to recruit new volunteers; (5) outline the process of selecting and screening volunteers; (6) identify how to develop a volunteer management policy; (7) explain the importance of recognising and rewarding volunteers; and (8) identify the need for succession planning.
- Position descriptions: Volunteer Coordinator, Bowls Australia, (accessed 7 April 2021). The key function of the role is to coordinate all elements of volunteering within their club. Volunteer coordinators liaise with all areas of the club to determine their volunteer needs and then recruit volunteers to each of the roles. Another important function of a volunteer coordinator is to ensure that all volunteers have the knowledge, training and support required to undertake their nominated roles.
- Volunteer Handbook, Bowls Western Australia, (June 2020). Bowls WA has created the Volunteer Handbook for clubs. This is a valuable resource to be used around your club and may help in the recruitment and retention of volunteers as well as provide new ideas and methods when it comes to volunteering.
- My Cricket Community website, Cricket Australia, (accessed 7 April 2021). The site provides information and templates for all clubs and associations to help recruit and manage volunteers.
- Module 3 BMXA - Volunteers and Club Management [video], BMX Australia, YouTube, (30 April 2020). The third module of the BMXA club committee governance project takes a look at volunteers and club management.
- Volunteer Management Toolkit, Equestrian Victoria, (2015). This Toolkit is your easy to use and access guide to Volunteer Management. It is designed as your one stop shop and will provide you with easy to use tips and strategies to help you with recruiting, training, managing and retaining your volunteers. It can be used by any Volunteer Co-ordinator whether you are a volunteer yourself, managing a team of volunteers or part of a larger volunteer workforce.
- Club Management Handbook Chapter 9 – Volunteer Officials, Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, (2015). The handbook covers club membership and outlines recruitment, retention, mentoring and recognising members. This section of the handbook is aimed specifically at volunteers who can assist with social and competition activities and events.
- “Our club, is your club” – New recruitment campagin from Surf Life Saving designed to bring volunteers back to local clubs, Surf Life Saving Australia, (10 November 2020). The campaign released today is designed to remind Aussies of the benefits of volunteering and the benefits that their local Surf Life Saving Clubs offers to them. The recruitment campaign will be launched nationwide with Surf Life Saving Australia and all states and territories collaborating to achieve one common goal – to bring our members new and old back home.
- Our Club is Your Club, Surf Life Saving Australia, YouTube, (10 November 2020). Campaign video.
- Club Management resources: Volunteer Management, Swimming Australia, (accessed 7 April 2021). These resources are designed to gives clubs information on recruiting and retaining volunteers including volunteer induction, recognition ideas and succession planning. Click here.
- Volunteers, Swimming Australia, (accessed 7 April 2021). This section provides information for people looking to volunteer at swimming clubs and events, as well as the Local Legends volunteer recognition program.
- Volunteers, Tennis Australia, (accessed 7 April 2021). This section provides detailed information for clubs around Workforce, Volunteer management, Recruiting and Recognising volunteers.
- Apia International Sydney Ball Kid Program (Tennis NSW): case study, Sport NSW, (June 2016). The Apia International Sydney Ball Kid Program (Tennis NSW) was awarded the Minister's Sport Volunteer Management Award for best sporting event. The Program operates under the highest standard of compliance, developing effective strategies to mentor and foster the growth of young volunteers. The Ball Kid Program comprises of 120 volunteer ballkids and has an 80 per cent retention rate. The program provides young people a chance to be involved in a major event and gain numerous life skills. Two coordinators supervise the ballkids providing regular communication, training and moral support. A dedicated website is available for current or aspiring ballkids, outlining trials, training, tournament and general information with resources and best practice guidelines.
- Volunteer, Touch Football, (accessed 7 April 2021). There are many different ways to get involved in the Touch Football community, including as a coach, referee, administrator, sporting schools officer or school ambassador.
- Volunteering, Disabled Wintersport Australia, (accessed 7 April 2021). This website provides guides, manuals and information on training clinics and volunteer roles, such as adaptive snow sport guide.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Volunteering ACT is the peak body for volunteering and community information services in the Canberra region. The organisation provides a variety of resources and services for organisations that manage volunteers and for individual volunteers.
New South Wales (NSW)
- Volunteers in Sport: Issues and Innovations, Turner K, NSW Office of Sport, (2008). This study documented innovative practices used by NSW sports clubs to address the challenges of attracting and retaining volunteers.
NSW Volunteering Strategy 2020-2030, NSW Government, (July 2020). The Strategy sets out a ten year plan for the NSW volunteering sector, with a focus on growing, valuing and investing in the future of volunteering. In NSW it is estimated that there are over 2 million people who volunteer their time to help others, contributing at least 240 million hours. Their presence and efforts increase social inclusion, and deliver a range of important or essential services to those living in NSW. The Strategy also highlights 'sport based volunteering; as a major avenue for members of the community to get involved in community life. Volunteering in sport can build local connections, increase physical activity, improve health and wellbeing, and reduce social isolation.
Northern Territory (NT)
South Australia (SA)
- Volunteering Strategy 2021-2027. To continue the success and achievement of the first volunteer strategy, planning has commenced on the development of a second Strategy for 2021 to 2027, currently due for release in mid-2021.
- Engaging young people in volunteering: what works in Tasmania, Moffatt L, Volunteering Tasmania, (2011). This report provides a broad view of our volunteer sector in Tasmania.
- The state of volunteering report Tasmania 2019, Volunteering Tasmania, (2019). There are 68.6% (or 297,000) Tasmanians over 15 years of age who volunteer in Tasmania. This report gives us a snapshot of the findings and highlights from the 2019 research. Detailed findings, including the survey tools used, are available in the full State of Volunteering in Tasmania report.
- Volunteering is Catching: a study into young people's volunteering in Victoria, Wynne C, Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, (2011). This study draws on a contemporary understanding of volunteering that captures both the informal and formal volunteering activities of young people and defines youth volunteering as an activity where young people (aged 12 to 25) freely give their time and energy to benefit another individual, group or community. This report aims to understand the contemporary experience of volunteering for Victoria’s young people.
- Volunteer Management Toolkit, (2020). The toolkit is simple, easy to use and provides guidance for volunteer managers at each stage of the volunteering life cycle. It also includes: hints and tips for best practice; useful links; and downloadable templates.
- Economic Value of Volunteering in Victoria, Duncan Ironmonger, University of Melbourne, Victorian Government, Department of Planning and Community Development, (December 2012). This report estimated that by adding the value of organised, unorganised and travel together, volunteering was worth about $7.1 billion to the Victorian economy in 1992, growing to $16.4 billion in 2006. Volunteers also provided a volume of work equivalent to 260,500 jobs in 1992 rising to 359,100 in 2006. This is equivalent to an additional 13.4 per cent of the paid number of people employed in Victoria 1992 and 14.2 per cent in 2006.
- State of volunteering in Victoria 2020, Victorian Government, Institute of Project Management, Volunteering Victoria, (2020). This report showcases the characteristics of volunteers, volunteering and volunteer-involving organisations (VIOs), and applies the cost-benefit methodology to describe the social, cultural and economic value of volunteering in Victoria.
- Volunteers in Victoria, State of Victoria, Ministerial Council for Volunteers, (June 2017). This report was developed to provide a contemporary narrative for volunteering. It also provides a summary of the known social benefits, economic value and current trends. Findings from this report highlight key trends, challenges and opportunities for volunteering, and have informed the development of strategic priorities to strengthen and support the volunteer sector in Victoria.