New tools to support recruitment and retention of sport volunteers in Europe

 

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New tools to support recruitment and retention of sport volunteers in Europe

A solid foundation of research to understand the realities and challenges in sport volunteering will inform new toolkits for sport organisations and volunteers.

The 20th and 21st of June 2022 saw the partners in the V4V project gather in Helsinki, Finland, for the 3rd partner meeting and the first to take place face to face.

A key activity of the V4V project is the European Skills Survey on Sport Volunteering which had been open for six weeks before the meeting. The partners were excited to learn about the first findings from the survey and discuss how the results can inform the V4V Mapping Report of the Sport Volunteer Workforce in Europe and two new sport volunteering toolkits.

The survey has now closed with a total of over 2700 responses from sport organisations in Europe and beyond.

By the date of the meeting just over 2000 responses had been received from sport organisations across Europe, with over 80% coming from sports clubs or federations. Over 37% of respondent organisations have no paid staff showing the survey successfully reached grassroots sport.

36% of respondents stated their number of volunteers had decreased during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic, showing there is a need to attract people back to sport volunteering.

Other key findings of the survey so far confirmed that:

  • Volunteers provide sport organisations with energy and enthusiasm
  • Volunteers need to feel valued and part of a team
  • There are issues of not enough people interested in volunteering roles and low number of applicants
  • Lack of time and lack of recognition are key barriers to sport volunteering

The survey also confirmed the need for sport organisations to get support with recruitment, management, retention, and training of volunteers – a key objective of the V4V project.

Following a final push to achieve the maximum response rate, the partners look forward to using the survey results, along with results of interviews with volunteers and desk research, to produce a report of new knowledge for the  sector on sport volunteering in Europe.

A large part of the meeting in Helsinki was devoted to discussion of an innovative toolkit to facilitate engagement, development and retention of volunteers in sport organisations in Europe. This key output of the V4V project is being led by Leeds Beckett University and will be based on the survey results, desk research, and the expertise of all partners. At the meeting partners discussed the purpose, audience, format and contact of the new toolkit.

A further output of the project is to create a Competency Based Self-Assessment Tool to identify and showcase prior learning, transversal skills and attributes gained through sport volunteering. This was also discussed with valuable contributions from partners helping to shape this new tool.

The partners were very thankful to be able to meet in person after a year of working online in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all agreed online formats cannot replicate the interaction and exchange of a face-to-face meeting.

The meeting was ably hosted by the Finnish Athletics Federation who made sure everything ran smoothly and arranged a nice dinner for the partners.

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Jock Peggie, Head of Education, Laws and Compliance at World Rugby said: “It was great to be involved in the two-day workshop facilitated by our colleagues at EOSE as we progressed work in the important V4V project. Volunteers are a crucial part of our game, they are the people who will coach, officiate, and care for our current and next generation of players, they run the clubs, schools and rugby organisations that provide the opportunities for play and are the lifeblood of our game. The outcomes of this project will provide tools that all our member unions (not just our European ones) will be able to use to help recruit, retain and re-train volunteers in the present and the future, helping us to grow our game and continue to make it better and safer.”

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About V4V

The project aims to provide practical solutions to some key challenges in the world of sport volunteering. There is substantial evidence over many years that volunteers are vital to sport. They give freely of their time and energy, but they also gain much informal learning through their voluntary work. One of V4V’s founding principles is that, if there is a way to make these skills and competences visible, this could be a powerful incentive to engaging more volunteers. As appropriate to the ambitions and needs of individual volunteers, making their skills and competences visible could also ease their transition into paid employment, help career progression and begin to address some of the sectoral skill shortages which other research, such as EOSE’s ESSA-Sport project has revealed. Another challenge is that sport volunteering is in decline, and it is vital we do more to care for and retain sport volunteers and make better use of what they can contribute.

With the support of 12 high profile expert partners from the European sport sector, V4V aims to provide the following outputs:

  • A comprehensive mapping of sport volunteer workforce
  • A digital toolkit for volunteer recruitment, retention and management
  • An online competency-based self-assessment tool so volunteers can identify and showcase skills and competences gained through volunteering experiences
  • The first ever European Sport Volunteering Skills Summit

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Full list of partners:

European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) – France/ EU

International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) – Denmark / Global

European Volunteer Centre (CEV) – Belgium / EU

> World Rugby – Ireland / Global

> International Judo Federation Academy Foundation (IJF) – Malta / Global

> Romanian Football Federation (FRF) – Romania

> Finnish Athletics Federation (SUL) – Finland

> Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA) – United Kingdom

> Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth (IDPJ) – Portugal

> Estonian Foundation of Sports Education and Information (FSEI) – Estonia

> National Institute for Sport Research (NISR) – Romania

> University of Physical Education (UPE) – Hungary

> Leeds Beckett University (LBU) – United Kingdom

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Web page:  www.v4v-sport.eu

Contact: Aurélien Favre – EOSE Executive Director – aurelien.favre@eose.org

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EOSE – European Observatoire of Sport and Employment

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