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 (ASC) 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 the ASC 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:
“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, (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, (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.
- Sport Volunteer Coalition (launched December 2021). The Sport Volunteer Coalition is made up of experts from the sports industry, government and volunteering, who will work together to transform the sport volunteer experience and promote the value of volunteering in sport. The Coalition, which is a key part of Sport Australia’s Sport Volunteering National Plan, will play a critical role in supporting the sector to develop strategies that help keep our clubs open and our communities active. Members will meet bi-monthly to develop and implement a Coalition Plan, to deliver Sport Australia's sport volunteering vision and enable increased participation in sport.
- The future of sport volunteering: insights report, (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, 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.
Other research and resources
- Volunteer stories, (May 2022). Video stories from various volunteers in different roles and sports across the sector.
- Market Segmentation Study for Volunteers, (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.
- Help us reimagine the future for volunteering, Volunteering Australia, (1 November 2021). Volunteering Australia is embarking on an exciting journey to lead the development of a National Strategy for Volunteering, and we need your help! This will be Australia’s first National Strategy for Volunteering in ten years. Over the next 12 months, we will be engaging with all members of the volunteering ecosystem to design a National Strategy that is effective, inclusive and sustainable. Your input is needed to make this project a success.
- Research Briefing: Volunteering during the first year of COVID-19, Volunteering Australia, (20 May 2021). The new ANU CSRM analysis, published in May 2021, explores volunteering using data collected in late 2019 prior to COVID-19, data from April 2020 and data from April 2021. Some key insights included:
- Many of those who had previously volunteered but had stopped doing so due to COVID-19 had not returned to volunteering
- Voluntary work has been impacted even harder by the COVID-19 recession than paid work, at least in terms of relative decline (that is, voluntary work declined at a higher rate than paid work):
- Volunteers had a higher level of life satisfaction prior to COVID-19 than non-volunteers. The impact of COVID-19 on life satisfaction and loneliness varied by volunteering behaviour over the period, with those who managed to continue volunteering during COVID-19 faring much better.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Volunteer resource, Basketball Australia, (accessed 15 June 2022). Basketball Australia have broken the Volunteering Cycle into 7 key areas (Review, Recruit, Induct, Train, Supervise, Recognise, Replace) specific to the sport and aim to provide you with some resources to help you ensure your club has a healthy and enthusiastic band of volunteers in various roles for many years to come. Other resources include: template position descriptions, and 'being a parent coach'.
- 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.
- Position descriptions: Volunteer Coordinator, Bowls Australia, (September 2018). 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.
- My Cricket Community website, Cricket Australia, (accessed 10 May 2022). 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 [campaign video], Surf Life Saving Australia, YouTube, (10 November 2020).
- Volunteers, Swimming Australia, (accessed 10 May 2022). 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 10 May 2022). This section provides detailed information for clubs around Workforce, Volunteer management, Recruiting, and Recognition.
- 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.
- TBA Volunteer Support Program, Tenpin Bowling Australia, (accessed 1 June 2022). A history-making initiative by Tenpin Bowling Australia will see active coach and managers who volunteer their time and expertise to the sport rewarded for their efforts.
- Volunteer, Touch Football, (accessed 10 May 2022). 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.
- Volunteers, (accessed 15 June 2022). Volleyball Australia seeks to enhance our volunteer engagement and has designed an interactive online module to provide up-to-date volunteer information for all those wishing to volunteer with Volleyball Australia Events and Programs. The Online Volunteer Training has been created in conjunction with Victoria University (VU) and can be found on their Course Hive website.
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)
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.
- NSW Volunteering, NSW Government website, (accessed 10 May 2022). Online resources for finding volunteering and training opportunities, as well as resources for organisations, state of volunteering report and stories from volunteers.
NSW State of Volunteering Report, Institute of Project Management for NSW Government and The Centre for Volunteering, (July 2021). This in-depth analysis showcases the characteristics of volunteers, volunteering and volunteer-involving organisations. It produces a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the social, cultural and economic impacts of volunteering on communities in NSW. Some of the key findings include:
- Volunteers contributed over 1.5 billion hours in 2020, with individuals volunteering for an average of 5.6 hours every week.Approximately 4.4 million NSW residents also gave of their time ‘informally’ to other, non-household or non-family members in 2020, through acts such as domestic work, transport and child-care.
- New South Wales volunteers on average pay over $1,900 a year to volunteer. On average, only 20.2% of volunteers are reimbursed approximately 38.7% of their outof-pocket expenses. This means on top of their valuable time and skills, volunteers themselves are donating approximately $5.56 per hour to volunteer.
- Ultimately, across the 12 months of 2020, the value of volunteering to New South Wales was approximately $127 billion. This is the sum of commercial benefits worth $53.1 billion and civic benefits valued at $74.1 billion. This figure includes the $64.8 billion it would cost to replace the labour that volunteers contribute to New South Wales and represents a net return of approximately $3.30 on every dollar invested by all stakeholders.
Northern Territory (NT)
State of Volunteering in Queensland 2021 Report, Institute of Project Management for Volunteering Queensland, (2021). Over 3.0 million (or 75.7% of) Queenslanders over 18 years of age volunteered in 2020. This includes people who volunteered formally with organisations, as well as those who do not have an affiliation with an organisation but contributed informally to their communities. Some key findings included:
- Volunteers contributed over 900 million hours in 2020 and individuals volunteered for an average of 5.7 hours every week. Across the twelve months of 2020, the value of volunteering to Queensland was almost $84 billion. This is the sum of commercial benefits worth $41.8 billion and civic benefits valued at $42.2 billion. These figures include the $37.1 billion it would cost to replace the labour that volunteers contribute to Queensland as well as $6.3 billion in contributions to Queensland’s Gross State Product. This represents a return of approximately $4.10 on every dollar invested.
- Queensland volunteers on average over $1,600 a year to volunteer. On average, volunteer-involving organisations are reimbursing only 11.4%, or $182, to volunteers. This means on top of their valuable time and skills, volunteers themselves are donating nearly $4.76 per hour to volunteer. It is noted that this ‘hidden’ cost has the potential to exclude many who cannot afford the act of volunteering.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted volunteer patterns in Queensland. For instance, volunteers noted an increase of 15.2% in online/at home volunteering from 2019 to 2020.
South Australia (SA)
- 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.
- Leading and Managing in Tasmania’s Volunteer Sector Volunteer, Dr Toby Newstead, Dr Gemma Lewis, and the Volunteer Leadership Research Group, UTAS in partnership with Volunteering Tasmania, (2021). This report distils the findings of a study that sought to assess the current challenges, strengths, and opportunities to better support volunteer coordinators in their efforts to lead and manage within Tasmania’s Volunteer sector. Almost 300,000 Tasmanians volunteer. Approximately 200,000 of these are termed formal volunteers, in that they volunteer within an organisation. The remainder are informal volunteers who give their time in more self-organised community activities. This report focuses on formal volunteers. The findings of this study, coupled with leadership and management research, point to two key recommendations:
- Invest in providing and developing good leadership and management in the volunteer sector;
- Conduct further research to examine the challenges, strengths, and opportunities of volunteer leadership and management from volunteers’ perspectives.
- Position statement: Volunteering in a Digital World: Opportunities and Risk of Exclusion, Volunteering Victoria, (2021). While the ongoing digital revolution provides the volunteering sector with tremendous opportunities for growth, there remains a real risk of perpetuating the exclusion of many Victorians or leaving smaller volunteer involving organisations (VIO) unable to benefit from the digital reach. At Volunteering Victoria, we believe everyone should be able to access the health, social and connective value that being a volunteer gives to individuals and communities. We are committed to this vision of the future, and we look forward to working with all levels of governments and partners to making it a reality.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Leadership in volunteering survey, State of Victoria, Ministerial Council for Volunteers, (June 2017). The Ministerial Council for Volunteers (the Council) conducted a survey late to seek the views of those who lead or coordinate volunteers. Findings from this survey helped to inform key points on strengthening and supporting volunteer leadership in Victoria. Key points identified by the survey for organisations were: valuing/recognition of volunteers; training/education; and, investing in efficiency and competitiveness.
- 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.
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.
Western Australia (WA)
- Volunteer Management Guide: A guide to better recruiting, retaining and managing volunteers within sport and recreation organisations, WA Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, (November 2019). This guide has been developed to improve the recruitment, retention and management of volunteers in volunteer-run State Sporting Associations. The guide is also relevant to sport and recreation clubs. The guide assumes that organisations accessing the information do not have internal human resource or volunteer coordination expertise and support. The guide provides practical advice that will support the development and implementation of policies and procedures for effective volunteer management.
- Grassroots The secret life of sport and recreation, Department of Sport and Recreation, Western Australia, (May 2017). In this book you’ll meet more than 40 Western Australians who reveal why they continue to be involved in sport and recreation and what keeps them coming back every game, every week and every season. Conceived and created by Western Australia’s Department of Sport and Recreation, this book advocates for the power of sport to enrich and change lives. It shows no matter your age, ability or background, everyone can contribute to our sporting system. Through inspiring stories and photos it invites you to become part of the sport and recreation family – and be active while doing it.
- Position statement on volunteers, WA Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, (endorsed February 2015). The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries recognises that sport and recreation volunteers are the backbone of the industry and an enormous source of social capital. Organisations must support and recognise volunteers so they feel valued and are able to fulfill the position they have been given.
Volunteering WA makes a difference by connecting thousands of volunteers to many community organisations. We aim to build strong communities through volunteering and provide a range of resources, services and support so that people in Western Australia are aware of, and understand, the nature and scope of volunteer activity.
- Volunteer benefits calculator, (accessed 10 May 2022). The replacement cost of a volunteer is calculated using the average hourly part-time wage of a person of their age in their State of residence, plus 15% employer on-costs (inclusive of superannuation, payroll tax and administration expenses)
- The social and economic sustainability of WA’s rural volunteer workforce, Holmes K, Davies A, Lockstone-Binney L, et.al., Research Report No. 22/19, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, (Feburary 2019). Our study identified how rural communities in WA are addressing the challenges of recruiting and retaining volunteers. We identified the critical role of volunteering in creating a sense of community wellbeing and delivering essential services in rural areas. We also present the strategies volunteers and voluntary organisations are using to sustain the rural volunteer workforce. The two areas that had the most number of volunteer groups were sport (35) and emergency services (32).
- Policies and procedures handbook, Volunteering WA, (2019). A sample Policies and Procedures handbook, which can be used as a basis for developing detailed procedures for Not-for-Profit organisations.
- The Economic, Social, and Cultural Value of Volunteering to Western Australia, Institute of Project Management for Volunteering WA, (May 2015). The socio-economic and cultural value of volunteering to Western Australia in 2015 is conservatively estimated to be $39.0 billion. This figure is much greater than previous estimates based on price or economic impact alone, yet is likely to be a significant underestimate given the limitations of the available data and analytic techniques.