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Sport Events Volunteer Sustainability Seminar
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Sport Events Volunteer Sustainability Seminar


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Volunteers are the lifeblood of sporting organizations in Australia and globally. However, research has shown that there are differences between everyday volunteers for sporting organizations and …

Volunteers are the lifeblood of sporting organizations in Australia and globally. However, research has shown that there are differences between everyday volunteers for sporting organizations and volunteers at major sport events, and there are cultural differences to volunteering. More recently within major event research, legacy has become a significant focus of event organizers and local organizing committees as a way of adding social value to the economic significance of the investment by host cities. This seminar will present three levels of volunteer engagement and discuss observations on legacy at: 1. The Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympics; 2. The 2009 Sydney World Masters Games; and 3. Community development projects using sport events. The 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics together with the cultural Olympiad required a commitment by 20,000 volunteers in the high status mega-sporting event. Some 5000 volunteers assisted the Sydney World Masters Games to host more than 28,000 athletes across 72 venues predominantly in Western Sydney in one of the biggest multisport participant major events held in world. The research for both sport events involved pre-and post examination of volunteer motivations, expectations, experiences and legacy. Sport for Development Projects in Sri Lanka, Israel and the Pacific Islands utilize volunteers at a ‘grass roots’ level to guide and facilitate the creation of sport event activities designed to benefit people in disadvantaged communities or communities in conflict. In these contexts, international volunteers from outside of the community setting are used to facilitate the sport event. An interpretive qualitative approach to examining volunteer legacy was employed.

The workshop examines volunteer legacy of these three sport events against Dickson, Benson and Blackman's (2011) framework for evaluating Olympic and Paralympic legacy. In doing so, the findings highlight volunteer management practices, motivations, experiences, challenges and volunteering legacies arising from these sport event volunteer programs. In a workshop format attendees will have an opportunity to discuss strategies for enhancing legacies for host communities and countries considering the cultural context of volunteering, sport and events.

Presentations will be followed by wider discussion. Refreshments will be provided.

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  • Will reflect on what we learnt following a qualitative study of number of volunteers at the Vancouver 2010 ParalympicsInterviewed in situ -19 females – 17 males9 with no previous volunteering experienceNo-one was unemployed – engineers, nurse, teacher, student, pharmacists, ski instructor, communications, event coordinator., CEO, IT technologists and governmentTraining did not adequately prepare them – particularly those in specialist areas such as visit officers (protocol assistants), medical services. Lack of practical trainingChanging environments how to deal with the realities of VIPS, media, unforseen emergencies, reality of queuesLeaders not appropriately trained for managing volunteersSome felt their skills were not adequately utilisedOthers considered their skills to be utilised and more they were learning from their roleVolunteers Learn both formally and informallyDevelopment of new skills tended to be organic eg - using new equipment ie. – new mobile phones, two-way radios, specialist medical equipment, screening equipment Those working in specialist areas gain more skills than those working in generalist areas – VIPs, media, technical aspectsTeam leaders have a major influence on the overall experience of the volunteer. Need to have the right perception of who they are managing, and it’s not the unemployed! Genuinely care for the volunteerListening,Treating people equally (paid and unpaid) Rotating volunteers (particularly where volunteers are doing repetitive and monotonous type jobs – marshalling, parking) Communication – organisational aspects and day to day information that is important to their roleWork ‘with’ the volunteersPatience, tolerance, understandingBy leaders showing their appreciation this can really affect the internal satisfaction of the volunteer – just lets them know that their doing a good job Care of the volunteer on the jobGood meals are a must – to satisfy different appetitesEquity - Operational flexibility was an issue – blanket policies in reality don’t always work Some volunteers would take control and make decisions because blanket policies were not working.This would particularly be the case where the leader was ineffectualComplexity of recruitment/retentionConventional wisdom - Match skills to job however volunteer who is an accountant during the day does not want to be an accountant at nightyounger age groups seeking to expand their skills for employabilityBest to match the volunteer to the role, based on the volunteer interestWith the best intentions of legacy – it won’t happen unless appropriate systems are in place for recruiting, managing and caring for the volunteers and the right people who are adequately trained are in leadership rolesFor previous volunteers their experience didn’t impact on future intentions. Skills learned will be used in their regular volunteering activitiesFirst time volunteers – new appreciation for volunteering, if their experience is a positive one they indicated an intention to continue volunteering for other major events. However if their experience was a negative one then they indicated they would not volunteer again. This is an important finding as a negative experience could limit the long term legacy that can arise from a volunteer program at a major event.
  • Sri Lanka, Israel/Palestine, Pacific IslandsCommodification of volunteer tourism... Who benefits? Engagement and local participation as the key Management knowledge and local knowledge
  • Transcript

    • 1. Volunteer sustainabilityin a sport context:observations fromgrassroots participationthrough to mega-eventsSimon DarcyDeborah EdwardsNico Schulenkorf1
    • 2. 2Introduction Framework and context Key learning outcomes:  Case 1 – Sydney World Masters Games 2009  Case 2 – Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010  Case 3 – Sport for Development in Disadvantaged Communities Workshop:  Developing strategies for enhancing volunteer legacy for community sport organisations from sport events.
    • 3. 3Framework and context Sport volunteers Sport volunteer trends Major event volunteers The intersection between sport and major event volunteers Previous research Capitalising upon sport events for volunteer legacy Legacy Models
    • 4. 4Legacy models Dickson, Blackman & Preuss 2006 Benson 2011  Analysed components Planned/unplanned  Planning  Tangibility Negative/positive  Spread of impact  Magnitude of effect Tangible/tangible  Timeframe of effect  Assessed component Pre – during – post  Economic, sport participation, infrastructure, environmental, urban renewal, transport & volunteer/social capital Cube conceptualisation  Spider/web conceptualisation
    • 5. 5Preuss Cube planned Focus of most pre- event studies and bid committees intangibleunplanned tangible negative positive
    • 6. 6Dickson, Blackman & Benson Legacies Web Level of planning 5 4 3 2 Spread of impact Tangibility 1 0 Timeframe of Magnitude of legacy effect Economic Volunteerism & social capital Environmental Sport participation Sporting infrastrucutre Urban renewal Transport
    • 7. 7Legacies Web Volunteerism & social capital Level of planning 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 Spread of impact 1.5 Tangibility 1 0.5 0 Timeframe of Magnitude of legacy effect Volunteerism & social capital
    • 8. 8Case 1 – Sydney World MastersGames Disconnect between games volunteers and sport organisation volunteer structures SWMG as an extension of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic games volunteering SWMG as a legacy of Sydney 2000 “its all about the games” Demographics of those volunteering – older and getting older! Low intention for future volunteering? An outcome of the demographic and major sport events
    • 9. 9Case 2 – Learning from the VancouverWinter Olympics Context Training  Volunteers learn both formally and informally Team leaders - an extremely important role Allow for operational flexibility Complexity of recruitment/retention  Match the volunteer to the role, based on volunteer interest Experience of those who have volunteered before didn’t impact future intentions. First time volunteers – experience impacts future intentions
    • 10. 10Case 3 – Sport For Development inDisadvantaged Communities Context: S4D in the developing world Helicopter volunteer structure Sharing and transferring of knowledge Project ownership and sustainability The time factor... Application and relevance of Western approaches within an Asia-Pacific context?
    • 11. 11 SWMG Level of planning 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5 2Spread of impact 1.5 Tangibility 1 0.5 0 Timeframe of legacy Magnitude of effect
    • 12. 12 VANOC Level of planning 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5 2Spread of impact 1.5 Tangibility 1 0.5 0 VANOC Timeframe of legacy Magnitude of effect
    • 13. 13 SFDDC Int SFDDDC LOCAL Level of planning Level of planning 5 5 4.5 4.5 4 4 3.5 3.5 3 3 2.5 2.5 2 2Spread of impact 1.5 Tangibility Spread of impact 1.5 Tangibility 1 1 0.5 0.5 0 0 Timeframe of legacy Magnitude of effect Timeframe of legacy Magnitude of effect
    • 14. 14Workshop What strategies could assist organisations to realise volunteer legacy outcomes of major sport events legacies?
    • 15. 15Workshop Outcomes