What can research and experience tell us about event volunteering? Learning from major sport events Dr Karen Smith Victoria University of Wellington email@example.com Gillian Peacock Gillian Peacock Consulting firstname.lastname@example.org Volunteering Unleashed - National Volunteering Conference 2009, Wellington
Overview • Event volunteering - lessons from major sport events • Volunteer profiles and motivations • Issues for managing sport event volunteering at each stage of the event life cycle: • Pre-event: recruitment and selection, training, and managing expectations • During the event: experiences, rewards and satisfaction • Post-event: commitment and retention, and the longer term volunteering legacy • Learning from both Research and Experience
Overview of Event Volunteering • Event volunteering • Short-term, project-based or occasional flexible volunteering commitments • Bounce-back event volunteering • Event organizations • Scale - mega, major, minor • Frequency - one-time or periodic • Location - fixed or roaming • Type - sport, culture, business
Learning from Research Research on Sport Event Volunteering • Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC): Literature Review of Sport Event Volunteering (2009) • Research has focused on: • Sport and mega events • Single-event case studies • Quantitative (volunteer survey) or multi-methods • Volunteers in operational roles rather than organisational or other perspectives
Learning from Research Sport Event Volunteer Profiles and Motivation • Demographic profile: • Reflects the profile of the associated sport’s participants • The larger and more unique the event, the broader the profile of volunteers at the event • Motivations: • Little agreement about what motivates sport event volunteers, although the episodic nature of event volunteering is important • Motivations vary over time, and by event, gender, age, employment status, resident/non-resident, new/repeat volunteer, and volunteer role • Mega event volunteers have distinct motivations, including pride in country and culture
Learning from Experience Sport Event Volunteer Profiles and Motivation • Dependent on event and location
Learning from Research Issues for Managing Sport Event Volunteers • Strong correlation between good human resource management practices and positive volunteer outcomes. • Volunteer management expertise is vital to ensure the time, skills and commitment of volunteers are maximised. • Large-scale events have complex organisational structures, and have a formalised and structured approach to volunteer management. • Smaller-scale events are less complex and volunteer management is usually informal, ad hoc, and insufficiently resourced.
Learning from Experience Issues for Managing Sport Event Volunteers • Set clear expectations regarding delivery of the event, volunteer roles and rewards. • Training should include orientation, venue/site training, job specific training. • Customer service training and test events used to ensure enthusiasm & commitment, enhance visitor experience, quality service. • Regular and clear communication with volunteers so they feel included and have up to date information about the event. • Be consistent
DURING THE EVENT • experiences • rewards and • satisfaction POST-EVENT • commitment and retention • the longer term volunteering legacy Other volunteering Issues for managing sport event volunteering at each stage of the event life cycle • PRE-EVENT • recruitment and selection • training, and • managing expectations
Learning from Research Recruitment and Selection • The approach to recruitment and selection depends on the frequency, location, and scale of the event • Periodic events that remain in the same location: • Retention of veteran volunteers - encouraging bounce-back • Recruitment of new volunteers - relatively informal (word of mouth, social networks, links to sporting clubs and sports participation) • Selection involves screening volunteers for suitability and role allocation
Recruitment and Selection One-time and periodic roaming events: Require a well-timed recruitment drive approach High profile events are often over-subscribed and a structured selection process and selection criteria are required Recruitment can be targeted at those with specific skills or socially excluded groups. Learning from Research
Learning from Experience Recruitment and Selection • Time • Commitment • Enthusiasm • Customer focus • Performance driven • Always only recruit for ‘Best Fit for the Role’ • Skills, experience and attitude
Learning from Research Scheduling and Training • Episodic volunteers are generally accepting of operational pressures and the lack of scheduling flexibility necessitated by the event context. • Training can be both a motivation and reward for event volunteers and can influence a volunteer’s decision to continue as volunteer (at the current event and in the future). • Training includes orientation, venue/site training, job specific training, and social interactions to build an effective event team.
Learning from Experience Scheduling and Training • Training is mandatory, must be good quality and must be effective • Informational and inspirational • Set clear objectives • Phases – needs, design, delivery, test • Type – orientation, job, venue, leadership • Information & inspiration • Ownership of training
Learning from Research Managing Expectations • Event volunteers have high expectations but are generally willing to accept minor downsides if the overall volunteering experience is positive. • Volunteers will walk away from organisations which fail to provide them with meaningful tasks and satisfying experiences. • As with paid staff, management expertise is just as vital to ensure the time, skills and commitment of volunteers are maximised.
Learning from Experience Managing Expectations • Be consistent • Communicate • Be clear about what’s expected • Its hard work and long hours • You don’t get to see the game!
Learning from Research Experiences, Rewards and Satisfaction • Most important benefits relate to: • the nature of the volunteering experience • rewards that clearly identify the volunteer’s affiliation with event’s prestige and reputation • Factors positively influencing satisfaction include: • being part of a unique event, celebratory atmosphere, • social interaction and networking, • public appreciation and recognition, • achieving job skills and desired level of job competence
Learning from Research Experiences, Rewards and Satisfaction • Management factors influencing satisfaction include: • clearly defined responsibilities, • training, • scheduling and convenience of hours and location, • communication, • clear relationships with paid staff/management, • recognition and feeling valued • Dissatisfaction: • generally relates to organisation or welfare issues, or job characteristics, and this has consequences for commitment and retention
Learning from Experience Experiences, Rewards and Satisfaction • Satisfying role • Trained to do the job well • Meaningful contribution • Respected, not patronised • Fair and reasonable expectations • Right treatment & care • Recognition
Post-event: commitment and retention, and the longer-term volunteering legacy
Learning from Research Commitment and Retention • Event volunteering can be one-off or committed volunteers who find the experience rewarding and satisfying can return or bounce-back to volunteer with the same periodic event or different events or voluntary activities. • Commitment is related to motivation, sporting factors, and volunteering experiences at the event • Different retention strategies are required in the pre, during and post event stages.
Learning from Experience Commitment and Retention • Manage volunteer expectations – don’t over-promise • Retention starts at selection– select the right people • Training – you and they have obligations • Supervision – by people managers – not assembly line • ONE team – paid and volunteer staff
Learning from Research The Impacts of Sport Event Volunteers and Event Volunteering Legacy Programmes • Minimal research evaluating the economic value or other impacts of sport event volunteering on the event organisation, host destination, or wider society • Mega events can build volunteering capacity before, during, and after the event • Legacy programmes aim to maximise the long-term benefits of an event and can include: • the development and promotion of volunteering opportunities and capacity (e.g. online portal) • creation and support of a pool of trained volunteers available to volunteer at other events
Learning from Experience The Impacts of Sport Event Volunteers and Event Volunteering Legacy Programmes • Databases – keep it live • Leadership training • Volunteer management training • Encourages ongoing volunteering • Links to wider volunteer sector • Resources, templates, process and procedure
Concluding Thoughts • Value of research-informed practice • Volunteers good for the event and good for legacies • Transform a good event into a GREAT event • Will leave lasting memories • Inspire others • Top management support – a MUST • Partnerships – build relationships, get advice • It’s not easy – plan hard, work hard, work smart • Have HIGH standards – EXPECT THE BEST • Recognition – do it well • Right people into right jobs with right training and right management
What can research and experience tell us about event volunteering? Learning from major sport events Gillian Peacock Gillian Peacock Consulting email@example.com Dr Karen Smith Victoria University of Wellington firstname.lastname@example.org Volunteering Unleashed - National Volunteering Conference 2009, Wellington