Enthusiasm expected; experience not essential: New Zealand sporting event organisers and the volunteer workforce Research Completed
Enthusiasm expected; experience not essential: New Zealand sporting event organisers and the volunteer workforce
Senior Lecturer – Event Management
Wellington Institute of Technology
Keywords: Sport, volunteers, volunteer management, event organisers
This study examines the impact of volunteers on the delivery of New Zealand sporting events and the management of the unpaid workforce. Participants were organisers of New Zealand sporting events delivered between 2009 and 2013 that included volunteers pre-event, during the event or post-event.
The results of this research show that volunteers are highly valued by event organisers, are treated considerately and are central to the successful delivery of sporting events in New Zealand, regardless of size or scope. The impact of volunteers on the delivery of sporting events was found to be significant; highlighting the possibility that many events would be at risk of not being staged without the volunteer support they have come to depend on.
Challenges of the volunteer workforce include recruitment, availability and lack of experience, while the energy, commitment and motivation they bring to the event are considered strengths of the volunteer workforce. Implications for event organisers found by the study include scope to professionalise their approach to volunteer management, particularly in relation to risk management, training, communication and the implementation of volunteer management policies and procedures.