Volunteers in Sport

Volunteers in Sport

Prepared by : Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia
Evaluation by : Brendan Lynch, Sport Consultant (April 2019). 
Reviewed by network : Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN), April 2019.
Last updated : 23 August 2019
Content disclaimer : See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer
Volunteers in Sport Image


Approximately 1.8 million Australians across the nation donate their time and energy to the sport and active recreation sector. 

Volunteers contribute to the social and economic value of sport in Australia, particularly at the community grassroots level. They also support sport at its highest levels including the staging of domestic major events such as the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Volunteers perform many critical roles across the sport and active recreation sector including as coaches, officials, team managers, administrators, board and committee members, and other positions--with many individuals filling multiple roles.

Key messages

    Volunteer participation

    Approximately 1.8 million Australians donate their time and energy to community sport and recreation clubs. The labour input of these volunteers has been estimated to be valued at AUD$4B annually.

    Personal benefits

    Volunteering has been linked to positive mental, social and physical benefits for individuals. 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, have been shown to dramatically improve volunteer recruitment and retention rates, as well as the broader sustainability of Australian sport.

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